Emergency Characterization and Response to Hazardous Substances

Hardcover (Print)
Used and New from Other Sellers
Used and New from Other Sellers
from $66.96
Usually ships in 1-2 business days
(Save 45%)
Other sellers (Hardcover)
  • All (7) from $66.96   
  • New (4) from $100.20   
  • Used (3) from $66.96   


Deliberately, accidentally, or consequentially, first responders and waste site workers handle unknown substances of varying degrees of danger every day. Unidentified chemicals involved with clandestine production of WMD agents or drugs, explosive materials, unlabeled waste, and forensic samples all pose a threat to the worker and those they protect. A straightforward, concise handbook of practical strategies is needed to perform effective risk assessment and management in the face of uncertainty.

Written for emergency workers responsible for the safe response to and management of unknown hazardous materials, Emergency Characterization of Unknown Materials providesreadily applicable strategies for developing and implementing a fluid concept of risk analysis based on hazard characterization in emergency situations where definitive identification of the material may be impractical or even impossible. Using a hands-on approach involving the manipulation of small amounts of material, the author discusses strategies to identify threats and vulnerabilities, ascertain exposure, and reduce or eliminate impact. The book begins with an overview of chemical and physical terms and definitions. It continues with a look at types of hazards presented by chemical compounds and mixtures, organisms, and radiation sources. It covers approximately 63 portable technologies for field identification or characterization and examines general technological advantages and disadvantages relative to hazard identification. The final chapter presents strategies for use in identifying or characterizing suspected weapons of mass destruction, illegal drugs, explosive substances, biological hazards, and other hazardous materials. Each chapter includes extensive references and a comprehensive index.

Providing a sweeping overview of hazards and emphasizing risk analysis and public safety, Emergency Characterization of Unknown Materials gives first responders an advantage they deserve.

Read More Show Less

Editorial Reviews

From the Publisher
"… offers a good blend of the required science followed by an overview of some of the common field detection devices and testing processes. … identifies all of the terms used by the National Fire Protection Association Standard for Competence of Responders to Hazardous Materials /WMD Incidents (NFPA 472 2008) and provides a good explanation of each… offers some excellent background material….

"The largest section of the text covers detection technology … focusing on the technology that drives the devices… . It is an excellent overview of the current technologies with an appropriate level of description.

"An investigator who routinely characterizes unknown materials and routinely works with hazardous materials will be comfortable with the processes. …The text certainly offers a good basis to train someone to perform these characterizations

"… the text is well written and flows well…. If you respond to unidentified materials or have to characterize

potential evidence in the field then this text offers the background,devices, and strategies to accomplish those objectives.

— Christopher Hawley, Sr. Deputy Project Manager, Computer Sciences Corporation, International Counterproliferation Program, Alexandria, Virginia, writing in the Journal of Forensic Science, January 2009, Vol. 54, No. 1

“Few people are as passionate and committed to this subject as Rick. His book provides an easy to read and understand guide to HAZMAT and should form part of any HAZMAT team’s reference arsenal.”
Peter-John Jacobs, Captain, South African Police Service, Forensic Science Laboratory, Pretoria

“Rick Houghton’s Emergency Characterization of Unknown Materials brings a needed practical look at identification of materials in the field for the first responder. First responders, whether hazardous materials technicians, bomb disposal technicians, crime scene investigators, narcotics investigators, public health environmental specialists, or environmental protection specialists are most often not trained as chemists. Houghton’s book examines field identification in terms that these technical, non-scientists can easily understand, and allow them to safely and efficiently apply these techniques in their incident response. In today’s world, with hazardous materials being an often encountered response, and the concerns of use of weapons of mass destruction by terrorists on the minds of many responders, this user friendly book is a treasure for the responder to study and refer to.”
— Paul R. Laska, Paul R. Laska Forensic Consulting, Inc., Palm City, and Retired Sergeant commanding the Bomb Disposal Team of Martin County Sheriff’s Office, Stuart, Florida, USA

“A well written resource providing a straightforward approach to identification of all types of unknowns—commercial materials, hazardous decomposition products, military chemical and potential biological agents. Using a combination of technical details, practical examples and humor, Mr. Houghton describes not only the various methods of field analysis, but also provides proven strategies for applying these methods. Most importantly, he provides insight into how to avoid critical, and potentially dangerous, mistakes. A valuable addition to the library of any first responder, emergency manager, or field analytical chemist.”
—Hank Ellison, Cerberus Associates, Hampshire, UK

"... provides a comprehensive review of information that emergency responders must know when attempting to mitigate releases involving unknown materials. ... provides practical examples and diagrams that will help responders in analyzing a situation and making the correct decision.
—Scott H. Tobey, Professor, School of Criminal Justice, Michigan State University

Read More Show Less

Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780849379680
  • Publisher: Taylor & Francis
  • Publication date: 10/9/2007
  • Pages: 328
  • Sales rank: 1,146,478
  • Product dimensions: 6.40 (w) x 9.30 (h) x 0.90 (d)

Table of Contents

Terms and Definitions
Physical Terms and Definitions
Chemical Terms and Definitions
WMD Terms and Definitions
Physical Form
Detection Technology
Chemical Detection Technology
Radiation Detection Technology
Biological Detection Technology
Strategies for Characterizing Unknown Material
Unknown Material
Chemical Warfare Agents
Biological Warfare Agents
Radiological Material
Explosive Material
Illegal Drugs
Summary References

Read More Show Less

Customer Reviews

Be the first to write a review
( 0 )
Rating Distribution

5 Star


4 Star


3 Star


2 Star


1 Star


Your Rating:

Your Name: Create a Pen Name or

Barnes & Noble.com Review Rules

Our reader reviews allow you to share your comments on titles you liked, or didn't, with others. By submitting an online review, you are representing to Barnes & Noble.com that all information contained in your review is original and accurate in all respects, and that the submission of such content by you and the posting of such content by Barnes & Noble.com does not and will not violate the rights of any third party. Please follow the rules below to help ensure that your review can be posted.

Reviews by Our Customers Under the Age of 13

We highly value and respect everyone's opinion concerning the titles we offer. However, we cannot allow persons under the age of 13 to have accounts at BN.com or to post customer reviews. Please see our Terms of Use for more details.

What to exclude from your review:

Please do not write about reviews, commentary, or information posted on the product page. If you see any errors in the information on the product page, please send us an email.

Reviews should not contain any of the following:

  • - HTML tags, profanity, obscenities, vulgarities, or comments that defame anyone
  • - Time-sensitive information such as tour dates, signings, lectures, etc.
  • - Single-word reviews. Other people will read your review to discover why you liked or didn't like the title. Be descriptive.
  • - Comments focusing on the author or that may ruin the ending for others
  • - Phone numbers, addresses, URLs
  • - Pricing and availability information or alternative ordering information
  • - Advertisements or commercial solicitation


  • - By submitting a review, you grant to Barnes & Noble.com and its sublicensees the royalty-free, perpetual, irrevocable right and license to use the review in accordance with the Barnes & Noble.com Terms of Use.
  • - Barnes & Noble.com reserves the right not to post any review -- particularly those that do not follow the terms and conditions of these Rules. Barnes & Noble.com also reserves the right to remove any review at any time without notice.
  • - See Terms of Use for other conditions and disclaimers.
Search for Products You'd Like to Recommend

Recommend other products that relate to your review. Just search for them below and share!

Create a Pen Name

Your Pen Name is your unique identity on BN.com. It will appear on the reviews you write and other website activities. Your Pen Name cannot be edited, changed or deleted once submitted.

Your Pen Name can be any combination of alphanumeric characters (plus - and _), and must be at least two characters long.

Continue Anonymously

    If you find inappropriate content, please report it to Barnes & Noble
    Why is this product inappropriate?
    Comments (optional)