Members of the Pueblo Chemical Agent-Destruction Pilot Plant (PCAPP) Emergency Response Team (ERT) put their decontamination skills to the test in January with the use of fluorescein and black lights.
“When I was a kid, I was asked to chew a red tablet and then brush my teeth to show how well I brushed,” said Jim Tanner, emergency preparedness planner, PCAPP. “Similarly, we dilute fluorescein with water and spray it on a mannequin to test the ERT’s thoroughness in decontaminating the mannequin.”
Fluorescein, a manufactured organic compound and dye, is visible under black light. At PCAPP, it is used to simulate chemical decontamination on Rescue Randy, a lifelike adult mannequin.
The ERT receives fluorescein training as part of their annual training. The compound allows team members to see how well they’ve performed by shining a black light on Randy and themselves after decontamination is complete.
“It is a visual test to show we are doing decontamination correctly,” Tanner said.
“Our goal is to never call out the Emergency Response Team, so we have many safety measures in effect,” he said.