In this episode we explore the wonderful world of radiation.
Complete Show Notes
6:25 What is Radiation?
- Radiation is the easiest hazmat issue to deal with because it’s very straightforward
- When an atom emits energy because it has too much
- Nucleus of the atom wants to reach a stable state – wants to steal from somebody or give away to somebody
- Can be a particle (has mass) or a wave (without mass)
- Two types of radiation: ionizing radiation and non-ionizing radiation
- Ionizing radiation is the stuff that can get into your body to cause cancer and other issues
- Non-ionizing radiation examples include light from lightbulbs, microwaves, TV waves, etc.
9:00 Where Do We Find Radiation?
- Cosmic – intergalactic, black holes, outer space
- Solar – within our solar system from the sun
- Terrestrial – from the Earth itself (radon, uranium, etc.)
- Man-made – like x-ray machines
- Industrial – machines used to determine structural integrity, smoke detectors, etc.
- We’re constantly being bombarded with radiation
11:00 How Can You Protect Yourself from Radiation?
- It’s very easy to protect yourself from radiation
- Radiation Type #1: Alpha Radiation – think of this as a giant balloon with lots of mass; only concerning when it gets into your body
- Radiation Type #2: Beta Radiation – alpha radiation on steroids; can travel up to 30 feet and you can get radiation burns on exposed skin
- Radiation Type #3: Gamma Radiation – x-rays are one example of this type of radiation; can travel through anything, but the more it travels through things, the less powerful it becomes
- Radiation Type #4: Neutron Radiation – form of particle radiation that’s in the background; particles enter the nucleus of the atom and cause it to become highly unstable and radioactive; usually found in bombs
18:10 How Do We Measure Radiation?
- Radiation is usually measured in REM (roentgen equivalent man) – REM is measured based on the relative biological damage in the human body
- Radiation absorbed into material is measured in RAD
- Also measured via counts per minute or kilocounts per minute – number of times radioactive decay hits the sensor
- Exposure – when radiation comes into contact with the body
- Contamination – when radioactive material clings to the body or other objects
- Dose – time you spend in the area affected by radiation (measured in REM)
- Rate – how quickly you’re getting the radiation (measured in REM)
- Chronic doses – radiation absorbed over a long time, but in small doses (i.e. x-ray technicians or employees at nuclear facilities)
- Acute doses – radiation absorbed over a short time, but in high doses (i.e. hazmat technicians)
23:30 How Can We Protect Ourselves Against Radiation?
- Time – limit your time in the field to get less of a dose; meter helps you determine how long you can safely be there
- Distance – reducing your distance from the source reduces your exposure
- Shielding – shields split the absorption between you and the shielding, thereby reducing your exposure
- Use the length of your arm to judge distances
- Circle the source of radiation to find the hot zone and drop cones or markers
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- THMG068: 6 Tips on Becoming a Better Radiation Technician
- THMG070: Basic Hazmat Radiation with Bobby Shelton