BERKELEY, Calif. - A team of researchers at the Department of Energy's Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory has developed an interactive computer program designed to help building managers and owners assess their vulnerability to - and to prepare for - chemical, biological, and radiological (CBR) weapons attacks or accidental toxic releases.

The Building Vulnerability Assessment and Mitigation Program (BVAMP) can be obtained free through a Web site established by Berkeley Lab, which provides advice on CBR responses for buildings:

"Protecting buildings against CBR agents is an unfamiliar area for many building managers," said Tracy Thatcher, a scientist in Berkeley Lab's Environmental Energy Technologies Division (EETD) and a principal investigator in this effort. "Building managers already face conflicting demands for increased occupant comfort, building safety, operating efficiency, and cost reduction."

According to Thatcher, the HVAC is often the first line of defense in the case of airborne CBR agents. "Preplanning and manipulating the HVAC system can significantly reduce the severity of a release," she said.

Publication date: 11/01/2004