Assets and Technical Capabilities
This page last reviewed March21, 2012
The Air Resources Board has a wide selection of
specialized equipment for
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.
- E-BAM particulate matter (PM2.5)
samplers; data available on www.AirNow.gov in near real-time.
- Microdust Pro (PM2.5) nephelometers.
- Samplers for complex particulates, semi-volatiles, and
- Gas and particulate plume modeling using real-time onsite
weather data including NARAC, ALOHA, ISCST, and HYSPLIT.
- Networked weather stations equipped with wind speed, wind
direction, %RH, and temperature sensors. Wireless data
automated ALOHA plume model updates every 30 seconds.
- Evaluate emission rates and estimate source term for
- Provide background data for pre-incident concentration
- Public health assessment and messaging.
- Assistance with protective health decisions and actions.
- 23-foot field surveillance vehicle with internet
connectivity, video monitors, generator, equipment storage, and
workstations for a deployment team of four.
system with Environmental Enclosure
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 Ķg/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 emergency for short-term
monitoring of the spread of wildfire smoke or other airborne
particulates. The Microdust is extremely portable and quick
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
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
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
Beta Attenuation Monitor
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.
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.
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.
Software Suite (ALOHA, MARPLOT)
(Computer-Aided Management of Emergency Operations) is a suite of
several modules designed to aid first responders in emergency
situations. The key programs contained in the CAMEO suite are
a chemical database, the ALOHA plume modeling software, and the
MARPLOT GIS mapping software. Each program in the suite has
been specifically designed for ease-of-use to allow for rapid plume
modeling during an emergency. By combining chemical information from
the database with current meteorological data, models of threat zones
may be quickly generated in the event of a ruptured gas tank or
pipeline, for instance.
Sprinter van has been specially-customized to act as the mobile command
vehicle for the emergency response field staff.
The van has been furnished with a large
table, seating for eight, plenty of storage space to house equipment
needed during deployments, a generator, video monitors, and power
outlets for laptops
and other devices.