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FM 24-18: Tactical Single-Channel Radio Communications Techniques


K-1. Contamination

The first step in dealing with contamination is to understand it as the deposit and/or absorption of harmful material on/or by personnel, material, or structures. Nuclear, biological, and chemical (NBC) contamination causes casualties and reduces the effectiveness of individuals and units and reduces their operational efficiency.

The adverse effects of contamination are minimized by any action taken to avoid and control exposure. There are three primary requirements for contamination avoidance.

Determining the Location of NBC Contamination.

By knowing the location of contamination the commander can incorporate that knowledge into his decision-making process. This is normally done by using remote and local NBC sensing detectors and monitors.

Collecting, Analyzing, and Disseminating NBC Information.

This will further enhance the decision-making process to assist in avoiding contamination.

Limiting the Spread of Contamination if it Becomes Necessary to Operate Around Contamination.

This will simplify operation. Protecting material and equipment with chemical agent resistant covers, paints, and/or devices will assist greatly in survivability on the air-land battlefield. Contaminated supplies and equipment must be segregated to limit the spread of contamination. Users are responsible for ensuring that damaged equipment is decontaminated before it is recovered and/or repaired. This also will limit the spread of contamination.

The next step in dealing with contamination is individual protection. Mission oriented protective posture (MOPP) levels exist for protection of individuals. Equipment and procedures must be developed with NBC contamination in mind to achieve maximum efficiency without sacrificing protection. When a chemical threat exists, the protective ensemble becomes the standard combat uniform as determined by the theater commander. A prolonged operational capability must be considered when developing equipment and procedures.

Collective protective devices/equipment must be used to provide for operations in a contamination-free environment.

K-2. Decontamination

The last step in the process is a decontamination operation. Contaminated soldiers must perform their own emergency decontamination using the M258A1 personal decontamination kit. Partial equipment decontamination may be performed using the M258A1 or the portable decontaminating apparatus, M11 spraying decontaminating solution number 2 (DS2). Note that DS2 is highly corrosive and would damage electronics. The M258A1 could be used to wipe flat surface areas but is not practical for keyboards and other electronic equipment faces where the decontaminant could come in contact with and damage the circuitry.

When decontaminating communications and radar equipment, the power supply must be disconnected to prevent injury to personnel and damage to the equipment. The best way to decontaminate such equipment is to use hot air. The metal parts of field telephones and radios exposed to blister agents and V-agents may be decontaminated with DS2. General procedures for metals, plastics, wood, and leather apply for comparable parts of communications and radar equipment. Extreme care must be exercised when using DS2 or soapy water on equipment with transistors. Indiscriminate use of decontaminants may corrode terminals or relays and render the equipment inoperable.

K-3. Guidance

The following reference material provides guidance for NBC protective measures:

FM 3-3.

FM 3-9.

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