usually be platoon-size elements. Larger teams will be needed to decontaminate large facilities and
PART E - WEATHER AND PROTECTION FACTORS
The planning for a decontamination operation should start before a contamination situation is found to
exist. Plans and preparations should be made in anticipation of the worst possible contamination
situation which could be created under the local conditions. They should be documented in the form of
standing operating procedures. With proper planning, the time, hazards, and confusion of a
decontamination operation can be reduced to a minimum. Key individuals should be familiar with prior
plans and preparations. The effectiveness of a decontamination operation will depend on many factors.
These factors must be kept in mind while planning a decontamination operation.
Detection and Identification.
The nature and extent of the contamination must be known so that the proper decontamination procedure
may be used. An agent should be identified, if possible, before attempting decontamination. Devices
for the detection of chemical and radiological contamination are discussed in Lesson 2, Part A. At
present, there is no rapid method for the detection and identification of biological agents.
Decontamination should be initiated when it is suspected that a biological attack has occurred.
The effects of weather on contamination, discussed in Lesson 3, Part A, should be considered when
contemplating decontamination. The weather will play an important part in any decontamination
operation. Hot weather will cause chemical agents to evaporate faster and will therefore increase the
vapor hazard but will decrease the duration of effectiveness. Wind will further increase the evaporation
rate, but will also increase the vapor hazard area. Cold weather may cause the agent to solidify, which
makes decontamination more difficult. Rain will flush contamination off equipment and areas and will
tend to spread the agent. Water in contact with Lewisite will form a toxic solid oxide, making
decontamination more difficult. Sunlight will kill most biological agents; cold weather may prolong the
contamination off non-porous surfaces or into porous surfaces, or by wind scattering radioactive dust.