Assets and Technical Capabilities
This page has been updated as of January 2016
The Air Resources Board has a wide selection of specialized equipment for use during deployments. Gas analyzers, meteorological sensors, plume modeling software, and more are all utilized to complete mission tasks and to aid both first responders and the surrounding community in the event of an air emergency. The entire array of the ARB's technical capabilities regarding emergency response is displayed below. New equipment is always being considered for adoption in the interest of keeping a technological edge, and this page is updated periodically to reflect these new additions. "Technical Capabilities" describes the range of functions that the field staff of the ARB is capable of performing while on deployment.
The Microdust unit is an essential tool in the ARB's arsenal. It is a real-time particulate monitor capable of giving the user instantaneous data on the amount of particulate matter in the air at the size most harmful to people (2.5 µg/m3). The Microdust is a nephelometer that uses a forward light-scattering technique to detect the concentration of particles in the air, and it has an environmental enclosure with an air pump and battery for use in extended data- logging activities. The ARB has access to four of these units, each of which can be set up around the outside perimeter of an ongoing air mergency for short-term monitoring of the spread of wildfire smoke or other airborne particulates. The Microdust is extremely portable and quick to set up, allowing for a rapid response time when actionable data needs to be generated quickly.
The AreaRae is a gas detector with sensors that can detect VOCs (volatile organic compounds), oxygen, ammonia, carbon monoxide, and combustible gases. Rechargeable Lithium-ion batteries provide a 24-hour lifespan, and a wireless radio frequency modem allows each unit to communicate with the others and to transmit real-time data to a remote base controller. In fact, many first responder agencies have their own supply of AreaRAE units, and the four units available to the emergency response field staff are able to sync with these other AreaRAE networks for joint monitoring activities.
The E-BAM is similar in function to the Microdust unit, but is better suited to long-term deployment and monitoring activities. The E-BAM is still highly portable and easy to both set up and take down, but is built to withstand prolonged exposure to harsh environmental conditions; as such, it is the ideal unit to set up with the intent to gather data remotely over the course of days, weeks, or even months. The E-BAM is equipped with telemetry allowing for satellite communication, giving the E-BAM the ability to transmit data hourly to AIRNow-Tech (more information on AirNow under related links in the navigation menu) where the data can be viewed online in real-time. E-BAM's are typically deployed for long-term community monitoring of on-going wildfires.
The pppRAE is a photo-ionization detector (PID) capable of sensing extremely minute quantities of VOCs, even into the parts-per-billion range. The ARB has two ppbRAE units, and -- like its cousin the AreaRAE -- it is capable of real-time remote monitoring, with the data being routed through a joint network of connected ppbRAE and/or AreaRAE units and sent to a remote station.
The Weatherpak is an extremely hardy, extremely portable, and extremely easy to set up weather tower capable of wireless meteorological data transmission to a host receiver via radio frequency. The data from the Weatherpak can be automatically routed through plume-modeling software such as ALOHA to create an accurate and near-instantaneous model of predicted hazardous gas plume migration.
RAWS (Remote Automated Weather Stations)The Remote Automatic Weather Stations monitor the weather and provide weather data that assists our emergency response team with a variety of projects such as monitoring air quality, rating fire danger, and providing information for research applications. The RAWS collects, stores and then transmits the data via the Geostationary Operational Environmental Satellite (GOES).
- Gas and particulate plume modeling using real-time onsite weather data including NARAC, ALOHA, ISCST, and HYSPLIT.
- Evaluate emission rates and estimate source term for models.
- Provide background data for pre-incident concentration comparisons.
- Provide air quality information to local health officials for assessing potential health and safety impacts to surrounding communities.
- Maintain public health assessment resources for emergency response.
- 23-foot field surveillance vehicle with internet connectivity, video monitors, generator, equipment storage, and workstations for a deployment team of four.