Mobile labs delivered to Canada to fight biological and chemical attacks

Two mobile laboratories - one an all-hazard triage facility and one a mobile chemical lab - have been delivered to a major Canadian military research facility dedicated to fighting chemical and biological agents.

The delivery to the Alberta, Canada lab was greeted by leaders and members of the U.S. Army Edgewood Chemical Biological Center, the United States' premier national resource for chemical and biological defense, and members of the Defence Research and Development Candada Suffield.

"The project began as a proof-of-concept, with the intent to create an all-hazards triage facility as well as a truly mobile chemical lab for on-the-spot analysis," George Noya, ECBC Mobile Labs and Kits Team leader, said. "The mobile lab was envisioned to be a deployable military asset that could support high-profile events across Canada."

Canada has historically triaged suspected chemical warfare agents across the country to certified personnel within accredited laboratories when they were definitive samples. Samples of unknown composition were not sent, creating delays and causing breakdown in final decision-making and mission outcomes.

The need to support the Canadian military's ability to perform on-site chemical warfare agent identification was identified by the DRDC in October 2005.

In 2006, the Canadian Chemical, Biological, Radiological and Nuclear Research and Technology Initiative funded the development of a prototype facility to create a safe and effect method of receiving and screening for chemical, biological and radiological materials.

"We are thrilled that, in partnership with ECBC, we are now able to fill this critical gap in our ability to ensure that samples are properly triaged and directed to the appropriate analytical facilities in a timely fashion, while ensuring the safety of the facilities and laboratory personnel," Scott Holowachuk, DRDC Suffield project manager, said.