European CBRNE glossary

This document contains terms and definitions for CBRNE (chemical, biological, radiological, nuclear, explosive) applications.
Common understanding and communication is important in the implementation of an effective CBRNE response and this communication will be most effective if there is common understanding of the terms used. Many of the terms and definitions listed here have been widely used for many years, while others are the result of cross-cutting experience of areas of CBRNE. The gradual evolution of our understanding of CBRNE and response measures means that CBRNE terminology will continue to develop.
This document is dedicated to first responders, administrative staff, industry representatives and researchers.

Europäisches CBRNE-Glossar

Dieses Dokument enthält Begriffe für CBRNE Anwendungen (CBRNE: chemisch, biologisch, radiologisch, nuklear, explosiv).
Ein gemeinsames Verständnis und eine gemeinsame Kommunikation sind wichtig bei der Umsetzung eines wirksamen CBRNE Schutzes. Diese Kommunikation wird am wirksamsten sein, wenn die verwendeten Begriffe allgemein verstanden werden. Viele der hierin aufgeführten Begriffe sind seit vielen Jahren sehr gebräuchlich, während andere das Ergebnis übergreifender Erfahrung in den verschiedenen Bereichen des CBRNE Schutzes sind. Die schrittweise Entwicklung unseres Verständnisses hinsichtlich CBRNE und Gefahrenabwehrmaßnahmen bedeutet, dass sich die CBRNE Terminologie weiter entwickeln wird.
Dieses Dokument richtet sich an Einsatzkräfte, Verwaltungspersonal, Industrievertreter und Forscher.

Glossaire CBRNE européen

Le présent document contient des termes et des définitions destinés aux applications CBRNE (chimiques, biologiques, radiologiques, nucléaires, explosives).
Une compréhension et une communication communes sont importantes pour la mise en œuvre d'une réponse CBRNE efficace, et cette communication sera d'autant plus efficace s'il y a une compréhension commune des termes utilisés. De nombreux termes et définitions répertoriés ici sont largement utilisés depuis de nombreuses années, alors que d'autres sont le résultat d'une expérience transversale dans le domaine CBRNE. L'évolution progressive de notre compréhension du CBRNE et des mesures de réponse signifie que la terminologie CBRNE va continuer à se développer.
Le présent document est dédié aux premiers intervenants, au personnel administratif, aux représentants de l'industrie et aux chercheurs.

Evropski slovar CBRNE

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SIST EN 17173:2020
Evropski slovar CBRNE
European CBRNE glossary
Europäisches CBRNE-Glossar
Glossaire CBRNE européen
Ta slovenski standard je istoveten z: EN 17173:2020
01.040.13 Okolje. Varovanje zdravja. Environment. Health
Varnost (Slovarji) protection. Safety
13.300 Varstvo pred nevarnimi Protection against dangerous
izdelki goods
13.310 Varstvo pred kriminalom Protection against crime
SIST EN 17173:2020 en,fr,de

2003-01.Slovenski inštitut za standardizacijo. Razmnoževanje celote ali delov tega standarda ni dovoljeno.

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SIST EN 17173:2020
EN 17173
September 2020
ICS 01.040.13; 13.300; 13.310
English Version
European CBRNE glossary
Glossaire CBRNE européen Europäisches CBRNE-Glossar
This European Standard was approved by CEN on 12 July 2020.

CEN members are bound to comply with the CEN/CENELEC Internal Regulations which stipulate the conditions for giving this

European Standard the status of a national standard without any alteration. Up-to-date lists and bibliographical references

concerning such national standards may be obtained on application to the CEN-CENELEC Management Centre or to any CEN


This European Standard exists in three official versions (English, French, German). A version in any other language made by

translation under the responsibility of a CEN member into its own language and notified to the CEN-CENELEC Management

Centre has the same status as the official versions.

CEN members are the national standards bodies of Austria, Belgium, Bulgaria, Croatia, Cyprus, Czech Republic, Denmark, Estonia,

Finland, France, Germany, Greece, Hungary, Iceland, Ireland, Italy, Latvia, Lithuania, Luxembourg, Malta, Netherlands, Norway,

Poland, Portugal, Republic of North Macedonia, Romania, Serbia, Slovakia, Slovenia, Spain, Sweden, Switzerland, Turkey and

United Kingdom.
CEN-CENELEC Management Centre: Rue de la Science 23, B-1040 Brussels

© 2020 CEN All rights of exploitation in any form and by any means reserved Ref. No. EN 17173:2020 E

worldwide for CEN national Members.
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Contents Page

European foreword ....................................................................................................................................................... 3

1 Scope .................................................................................................................................................................... 4

2 Normative references .................................................................................................................................... 4

3 Terms and definitions ................................................................................................................................... 4

Annex A (informative) Control areas and zones ............................................................................................ 98

Bibliography ................................................................................................................................................................. 99

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European foreword

This document (EN 17173:2020) has been prepared by Technical Committee CEN/TC 391 “Societal and

Citizen Security”, the secretariat of which is held by NEN.

This European Standard shall be given the status of a national standard, either by publication of an

identical text or by endorsement, at the latest by March 2021, and conflicting national standards shall be

withdrawn at the latest by March 2021.

Attention is drawn to the possibility that some of the elements of this document may be the subject of

patent rights. CEN shall not be held responsible for identifying any or all such patent rights.

This document has been prepared under a mandate given to CEN by the European Commission and the

European Free Trade Association.

According to the CEN-CENELEC Internal Regulations, the national standards organisations of the

following countries are bound to implement this European Standard: Austria, Belgium, Bulgaria, Croatia,

Cyprus, Czech Republic, Denmark, Estonia, Finland, France, Germany, Greece, Hungary, Iceland, Ireland,

Italy, Latvia, Lithuania, Luxembourg, Malta, Netherlands, Norway, Poland, Portugal, Republic of North

Macedonia, Romania, Serbia, Slovakia, Slovenia, Spain, Sweden, Switzerland, Turkey and the United

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1 Scope

This document contains terms and definitions for CBRNE (chemical, biological, radiological, nuclear,

explosive) applications.

Common understanding and communication is important in the implementation of an effective CBRNE

response and this communication will be most effective if there is common understanding of the terms

used. Many of the terms and definitions listed here have been widely used for many years, while others

are the result of cross-cutting experience of areas of CBRNE. The gradual evolution of our understanding

of CBRNE and response measures means that CBRNE terminology will continue to develop.

This document is dedicated to first responders, administrative staff, industry representatives and

2 Normative references
There are no normative references in this document.
3 Terms and definitions
For the purposes of this document, the following terms and definitions apply.

ISO and IEC maintain terminological databases for use in standardization at the following addresses:

• IEC Electropedia: available at
• ISO Online browsing platform: available at
A1 and A2

categories to determine the type of packaging for transport of radioactive material, corresponding to the

maximum activity, expressed in Becquerel

Note 1 to entry: A1 refers to a non-dispersible solid radioactive material or a sealed capsule containing

radioactive material.
Note 2 to entry: A2 refers to the normal occurrence of radioactive material.

Note 3 to entry: The maximum Becquerel values for A1 or A2 differ for various nuclides.

Note 4 to entry: See ADR.
abandoned chemical weapons

chemical weapons, including old chemical weapons, abandoned by a state after 1 January 1925 on the

territory of another state without the consent of the latter
absorbed dose
energy from ionising radiation absorbed per unit mass
Note 1 to entry: Expressed in the unit gray (Gy). absorbed dose
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unplanned and unintended event that interrupts an activity and sometimes causes injury or damage,

including operating errors, equipment failures and other mishaps, the consequences or potential

consequences of which are not negligible from the point of view of protection or safety

active decontamination

employment of chemical, biological or mechanical processes to remove or neutralize chemical, biological

or radioactive materials

Note 1 to entry: Active decontamination is conducted when contamination will adversely affect the operational


Note 2 to entry: There are three levels of active decontamination employed by operational units: immediate,

operational and thorough decontamination.
Note 3 to entry: See “Passive decontamination”.
Acute Exposure Guideline Level

toxicologically substantiated maximum exposure level intended for the protection of the general public

against a once-in-a-lifetime, or rare exposure

Note 1 to entry: It represents the airborne concentration of a substance at or above which it is predicted that the

general public could experience:
1) notable discomfort (AEGL-1);

2) irreversible or other serious, long-lasting effects or an impaired ability to escape (AEGL-2); or

3) life-threatening health effects or death (AEGL-3).
Note 2 to entry: AEGL values are defined for a variety of times of exposure.
Note 3 to entry: See: Exposure limits value.
Acute Hazard Area

potential area where the radiation levels are expected to be sufficiently high to indicate that active

measures should be adopted to reduce exposure

Note 1 to entry: Unprotected personnel who remains in this area for a significant period can be anticipated to

receive acute hazard doses which are high enough to cause short-term incapacitation, lasting effects to health or

death from acute radiation syndrome.

Note 2 to entry: Operations by first responders within this area are restricted to mission critical tasks only.

Note 3 to entry: See: Acute hazard dose.
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acute hazard dose

potential receive doses, in the Acute Hazard Area, within 24 hours, which is high enough to cause some

short-term incapacitation, but full recovery is expected
Note 1 to entry: Doses are regulated on national levels.
Note 2 to entry: See: Acute Hazard Area.
acute infection

rapid onset of disease with a relatively short duration of symptoms and resolution within days (see in

comparison: chronic infection)

Note 1 to entry: Acute viral infections are typically observed with pathogens such as influenza virus and rhinovirus,

but also with very severe infections like Ebola haemorrhagic fever.

Note 2 to entry: It is important to distinguish viral from bacterial infections, because acute bacterial infections can

be treated with antibiotics, while (some) acute viral infections are treated with antiviral drugs.


European Agreement concerning the International Carriage of Dangerous Goods by Road


agreement which set requirements for the trans boundary road transport of dangerous goods

Note 1 to entry: See: Dangerous goods.
ADR classes
classes of dangerous goods

dangerous goods thirteen level classification system which is based on materials hazardous properties

EXAMPLE Explosives, toxic and infectious substances or radioactive material.
ADR label

regulations for the transport of dangerous goods (ADR) specified hazard symbol labels for dangerous


Note 1 to entry: A label is form of square (i.e. diamond-shaped set at an angle of 45°), in distinctive colours, and in

generally contains a hazard symbol. A label also contains a class number, an UN number, or a word or phrase

describing the hazard (e.g. FLAMMABLE).
aerogenic infection
airborne infection

infection with viruses, bacteria or fungi (or their spores) by inhalation of the organisms

Note 1 to entry: It can be distinguished between droplets (organisms that are suspended in the air on water

droplets, > 100 µm) or aerosols (organisms suspended on nuclei of droplets, dust particles or other carrier

substances < 10 µm).
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Agent Orange

military term for a mixture of 2,4,5-Trichlorophenoxyacetic acid and 2,4-Dichlorophenoxyacetic acid


Note 1 to entry: It was used as a defoliant from 1965 to 1971 during the Vietnam War.


deliberate malicious introduction of an animal or plant disease into the food chain with the goal of

generating fear, causing economic losses and impaired food security by disruption or damage of a

country's agriculture, and/or undermining social stability

indication from any source (signal or message from a person or device) that an emergency exists or a

chemical, biological, radiological and nuclear attack or release other than attack may have occurred and

required actions to response
Note 1 to entry: See: Instrument alarm, warning.
alarm level

lowest measurement value of the concentration of a substance, which can be detected by a sensor with

Note 1 to entry: Alarm levels can be set by calibration and can be adjustment.

Note 2 to entry: Alarm levels typically are descripted low level, medium level and high level.

Note 3 to entry: Alarm levels are referred to as the detection limit or sensitivity.

ambient dose equivalent
operational quantity used for assessing effective dose in area monitoring

Note 1 to entry: The ambient dose equivalent H*(d) at a point in a radiation field is the dose equivalent that would

be produced by the corresponding expanded at a depth d on the radius opposing the direction of the aligned field.

ambient monitoring

methods for identifying hazardous substances and determining their amount in air, dust, soil and water

or materials in order to monitor human or animal exposure

generic term related mainly to articles of military application consisting of all kind of bombs, grenades,

rockets, mines, projectiles and other similar devices
Note 1 to entry: For civilian purposes ammunition is used for small firearms.
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analysis time
time that a detection instrument needs to detect and identify a threat substance

Note 1 to entry: The analysis time is an important performance indicator for a detection instrument when detection

is to be performed in a time sensitive scenario.
analytical technique

fundamental scientific phenomenon that has proved useful for providing information on the composition

of substances
analytic method
specific application of analytic technique to solve an analytic problem
annual limit of intake

activity of a specific radionuclide, which, if inhaled or ingested by a worker or member of the general

public, corresponds to the corresponding annual dose limit

drug (with a known action mechanism) given to a patient to counteract the toxic effects of a poison by

modifying its toxicokinetics or toxicodynamics, and whose administration reliably produces a significant


antibodies derived from plants, animals or microorganisms that counteract a specific toxin

Note 1 to entry: OR An antibody with the ability to neutralize a specific toxin.
as low as reasonably achievable

risk management principle that mandates the minimum exposure of personnel to chemical, biological,

radiological and nuclear hazards, subject only to the overriding demands of the operational mission

assembly point

area at the outer cordon for people assembling and awaiting evacuation from the scene

See: Assistance centre, Annex A.

process and the result of analysing systematically and evaluating the hazards associated with agents,

sources and practices, and associated protection and safety measures
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assistance centre

any facility (whether physical or virtual) set up during response to and recovery from an emergency to

provide a range of assistance to different categories of people affected by the emergency

asymptomatic carrier
healthy carrier

person, animal or other organism which contracted an infectious agent without showing any apparent

signs of the disease

Note to entry 1: Asymptomatic carriers are capable of transmitting the agent to others.

atomic energy

electric energy or heat that is produced by making use of the release of energy from nuclear reactions,

more specifically in the fission or the fusion of the nucleus
authorised carrier

person or entity which arranges the transport of radioactive material including special fissile material on

its own behalf or on behalf of others, in their name or on its own, even if using the means of others

responsible for the staff, vehicles and structures which are made available

Note 1 to entry: In some countries, carriers previously approved by the competent authorities can only carry out

transportation by land, sea or air of special fissionable material in any quantity of radioactive material.

Note 2 to entry: See: Carrier.
autoignition temperature

lowest temperature at which substances will spontaneously ignite in a normal atmosphere without an

external source of ignition, such as a flame or spark

Note 1 to entry: This temperature falls as the pressure or concentration of oxygen increases.


lacking virulence (ability) of bacterium, virus, fungus or parasite infect an animal and/or human without

inducing a clinical disease
Note 1 to entry: Infection can be verified by determining the immune response.
background radiation

continuously present radiation in the environment which is emitted from a variety of natural and artificial

Note 1 to entry: See: Natural background radiation.
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prokaryotic, in most cases a single-cell, self-reproducing microorganism of few micrometres in size,

lacking a true nucleus and organelles

Note 1 to entry: It is surrounded by a cytoplasmic membrane and in most cases additionally by a cell wall.

Note 2 to entry: Some of bacterium are capable to induce disease in humans, animals or plants.

binary device

chemical weapon or system containing relatively non-toxic substances (precursors or key components),

producing a chemical warfare agent when mixed and allowed to react

Note 1 to entry: When the ammunition (bomb, projectile, grenade, etc.) is fired, the initial substances are mixed and

allowed to react, producing a chemical warfare agent.
binary explosive
two component explosive which contains two safe-to-handle compounds

Note 1 to entry: The final explosive is prepared by mixing both compounds before use.

Biological agent

microorganisms (bacteria, viruses, fungi or endoparasites including genetically modified organisms) and

biological toxins which may induce an infection, disease or allergy in humans, animals or plants

Note 1 to entry: Biological agents can be misused in criminal acts, bioterrorism or biological warfare.

biological hazard

biological substances like microorganisms or biological toxins that pose a threat to the health of humans,

animals or to other living organisms

Note 1 to entry: National and international authorities have categories of various agents and diseases in levels of

Note 2 to entry: See: Biological agents.
biological toxin

toxic substance explicitly derived from living organisms, like non-replicative, non-infectious material but

which can be extremely hazardous even in small quantities

Note 1 to entry: Biological toxin can be used for contaminating of food, water supplies and to target specific


Note 2 to entry: Toxin that have been considered to be used as weapon include ricin, abrin, botulinum,

staphylococcal enterotoxin B (SEB) and Tricholthecene Mycotoxins (T2s).
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biological weapon

device, that consist of the biological agent and the dissemination mechanism and releases a biological

agent or pathogen such as bacteria or viruses that are harmful to humans or animals and/or vegetation

Biological Weapons Convention

arms control agreement, Convention on the Prohibition of the Development, Production and Stockpiling

of Bacteriological (Biological) and Toxin Weapons and on their Destruction

Note 1 to entry: The BWC was the first multilateral disarmament treaty banning an entire category of weapons.

Note 2 to entry: It opened for signature in 1972, entered into force in 1975, and enjoys almost universal membership


measurable characteristic (e.g. substance or alteration), which can be used as an indicator for a biological

state like exposure or illness
biological monitoring

measures to examine harmful substances or metabolites in exposed individuals body fluids (bound to

proteins or nucleic acids) to estimate body burden and potential health risk

combination of the probability of occurrence of a particular harmful event and the severity of the harm

when the source of harm is a biological agent

Note 1 to entry: The source of the biological agent can be a natural, unintentional exposure, accidental release or

loss, theft, misuse, diversion, unauthorised access or intentional unauthorised release.


development and implementation of administrative policies, work practices, facility design and safety

equipment to prevent the transmission of biological agents to laboratory personnel, other persons and

the environment

measures of the protection of high-consequence microbial agents, technologies, materials and toxins as

well as critical relevant information against theft or diversion by those who intend to misuse them


threat of or an intentional release or dissemination of biological agents to cause fear, illness or death in

humans, animals or plants and/or disrupt social, economic or political stability
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bioterrorism-relevant agent

biological agent with the potential to be used by non-state actors in a terrorist attack (bioterrorism)


rapid expansion of gases at high pressure and temperature by a result of an explosion

process to loosening e.g. rocks and soil by the use of explosives
Note 1 to entry: See: Blasting explosive, civilian explosive.
blasting explosive
explosive in civil use, e.g. in quarrying, road construction, and demolition
Note 1 to entry: See: Civilian explosive.
blister agent

chemical warfare agent that cause blistering of the skin (chemical burns) as well as severe skin, eye and

mucosal pain and irritation

Note 1 to entry: Larger doses can cause death. Effects arise from liquid or vapour contact with any exposed skin and

mucous membranes (airways, eyes).

EXAMPLE ‘mustards’: sulphur mustard and nitrogen mustard, ‘arsenicals’: Lewisite and phosgene oxime (not

a ‘true vesicant’, but able to create solid lesions).
blood agent

chemical warfare agent that injures a person by interfering with cell respiration

Note 1 to entry: Is used as an umbrella term or synonym for cyanides.
boiling point

temperature at which a substance starts to change from the liquid into the gaseous physical state


explosive device that is placed, dropped, thrown or projected, designed to explode on impact or when

detonated by a timing, proximity, or remote-control device
bomb suit

protective suit designed to protect against the shock from a blast as well as shrapnel from the bomb

Note 1 to entry: Used by Explosive Ordnance Disposal (EOD) personnel.
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booby trap
device (normally improvised) designed to be triggered by an unsuspecting victim

Note 1 to entry: There are numerous common varieties of booby traps designed to trigger an explosive device with

the intention to cause severe injury or death.
Note 2 to entry: See: IED.

Part of the explosive train whose function is to transfer and enhance the detonation wave from the

initiating explosive to a level sufficient to detonate the next part of the explosive train (other booster or

main charge)

DEPRECATED: measure of the work capacity of a high explosive e.g. accelerating matter such as metal


Note 1 to entry: The detonation pressure is the major factor that has influence on brisance.

Note 2 to entry: Brisance is an obsolete term.
bulk detection
act of finding large (bulk) quantities of explosives
Note 1 to entry: See: Trace detection, explosives detection system.
bursting charge

small charge of explosive to open projectiles, or other ammunition in order to disperse their contents

calibration gas

reference gas or gas mixture used as comparative standard in the calibration of analytical instruments

Note 1 to entry: A calibration gas is of a precisely defined nature or composition, like zero gas.

Note 2 to entry: A calibration gas is traceable to a national or international standard. Traceability is the unbroken

chain of comparisons to an acceptable international standard.

Note 3 to entry: The calibration gas standard establishes a known analyser response to a certified chemical

component concentration.

comparison between equipment items, one of which is a measurement

standard of known accuracy, to detect, correlate, adjust and report any variation in the accuracy of the

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canine detection
use of dog for detection of e.g. explosives or drugs
Note 1 to entry: See: Explosive Detection Dog.
cap sensitivity

measure of the minimum energy, pressure, or power required for initiation of a detonation


demonstrable ability to respond to and recover from a particular threat or hazard

capability gap

gap between the current ability to provide a response and the actual response assessed to be required

for a given threat or hazard
capability programme

programme to develop a range of capabilities that underpin national resilience to disruptive challenges

capability status
assessment of the level of capability in place
capability target
level of capability required by the planning assumptions

person, organisation or state administration that carries out the transport of radioactive material

Note 1 to entry: Term includes those entities that operate the transport for hire, assign it under a hire contract,

occasionally hire it out for a fee (in some countries: referred to as a public carrier or contract), or which operate the

transport privately (in some countries referred to as a private transporter).
Note 2 to entry: See: Authorized carrier.
carrier gas

purge gas introduced so as to transport a sample through the separation unit of a gas chromatograph for

analytical purposes

Note 1 to entry: Typical carrier gasses are helium, hydrogen, nitrogen, and argon.

[SOURCE: EN ISO 14532:2017, 2.4.4 modified – Notes 1 to entry have been added.]
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casing or shell surrounding a projectile, a propellant and a primer

Note 1 to entry: The purpose of the cartridge is to contain its content but in the case of ammunition cartridges it

also seals the firing chamber to allow the projectile to exit to the front of the barrel.

Case Fatality Rate

measure of the number of deaths in a population suffering from the same disease or injury (typically

expressed in %)

Note 1 to entry: In comparison: mortality rate describes the proportion of deaths in a population.

Note 2 to entry: See: Mortality rate, fatality rate.
person physically or mentally injured or killed by accident or incident
Note 1 to entry: See: Victim.
casualty decontamination

neutralisation or removal of chemical, biological or radioactive agents or materials from a casualty,

allowing the partial or total removal of individual protective equipment by the casualty and carers,

thereby minimising further risks to health and facilitating subsequent treatment
Chemical Abstracts Service registry number
CAS number

unique numerical identifier to every chemical substance described in open-access scientific literature

Note 1 to entry: CAS numbers are assigned to groups of substances. A CAS-RN is separated by hyphens into three

parts: the first comprises up to seven digits, the second comprises two digits, and the third is a single digit serving

as a check digit.

Note 2 to entry: The CAS registry is a collection of disclosed chemical substance information, containing more

than 88 million organic and inorganic substances and 65 million protein and DNA sequences.

casualty evacuation

controlled process of moving any person who is wounded, injured, or ill to and/or between medical

treatment facilities
casualty management

group of post-incident medical capabilities that are applied to preserve the health of the operators, to

deliver optimal care to casualties, and to maximize the rate at which casualties return to normal

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casualty collecting point
location where seriously injured are collected initially
Note 1 to entry: See: Annex A.
CBRN Sampling and detection module
certified module and part of the European Civil Protection capabilities

Note 1 to entry: The modules are temporarily self-sufficient and are able to sustain an operation in a contaminated

and/or oxygen deficient environment.

Note 2 to entry: The task of modules is to carry out/confirm the initial assessment, including:

— the description of the dangers or the risks,
— the determination of the contaminated area,
— the assessment or confirmation of the protective

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