March 2007System Assessment and Validation for Emergency Responders (SAVER)SummaryTechnical Decontamination SupportSystems Assessment ReportThe U.S. Department of Homeland Security(DHS) established the System Assessment andValidation for Emergency Responders (SAVER)Program to assist emergency responders makingprocurement decisions.Located within the Science and TechnologyDirectorate (S&T) of DHS, the SAVER Programconducts unbiased operational tests oncommercial equipment and systems andprovides those results along with other relevantequipment information to the emergencyresponse community in an operationally usefulform. SAVER provides information on equipmentthat falls within the categories listed in the DHSAuthorized Equipment List (AEL). The SAVERProgram mission includes: Conducting impartial, practitionerrelevant, and operationally orientedassessments and validations ofemergency responder equipment;Providing information that enablesdecision makers and responders tobetter select, procure, use, andmaintain emergency responderequipment.Information provided by the SAVER Program willbe shared nationally with the respondercommunity, providing a life saving andcost saving asset to DHS, as well as to federal,state, and local responders.The SAVER Program is supported by a networkof technical agents who perform assessment andvalidation activities. Further, SAVER focusesprimarily on two main questions for theemergency responder community: “Whatequipment is available?” and “How does itperform?”To contact the SAVER Program Support OfficeTelephone: 877 336 2752E mail: [email protected] the SAVER Web site: order to provide emergency responders with information on currently availableTechnical Decontamination Support Systems (TDSS) components, the U.S.Department of Homeland Security’s Center for Domestic Preparedness (CDP)conducted a comparative assessment of three TDSS components in October 2006,and provided findings in the Technical Decontamination Support SystemsAssessment Report, which is available by request at decontamination of emergency responder reconnaissanceand entry operations personnel is an essential element of hazardousmaterials (HAZMAT) and weapons of mass destruction (WMD)response. Technical decontamination commonly refers to thedeliberate decontamination of responders wearing personal protectiveequipment (PPE). It may, however, also include the decontaminationof emergency response equipment and evidence. Technicaldecontamination is performed with an emphasis on thorough agentremoval or neutralization versus speed.AssessmentEach assessed system was comprised of a water heater, adecontamination shower, and a water containment system (acontainment pool and a containment bladder or drum). Table 1 liststhe components used in each TDSS. Evaluators assessed thecomponents while using them as part of a complete system. Theassessment results are grouped by water heater, decontaminationshower, and water containment system.Assessment ResultsEvaluators scored the TDSS components based on the evaluationcriteria established by the TDSS focus group and prioritized withinthe five SAVER categories (capability, usability, affordability,deployability, and maintainability). The scoring system for eachcomponent was based on a 100 point scale and utilized the evaluationcriteria weighting factors established by the focus group. Thefollowing sections provide a brief summary of the evaluator scoringand comments on each of the three TDSS components. Within each(Continued on page 3)

Table 1. TDSS Components2

section, the components are listed from highestto lowest evaluator score. A completebreakdown of evaluator comments byindividual criteria is included in the full TDSSAssessment Report.Water Heater ResultsEvaluators commented that the 1 1/2 inchsupply enables the Reeves to provide heatedwater to several decontamination showerssimultaneously. Evaluators noted that theReeves has two fresh water outlets and twodecontamination solution outlets, which utilize3/4 inch hoses with “quick connect” adapters.As shown in Table 2, the evaluator compositescores for the three assessed water heatersranged from 67.7 to 66.1. The close scoring ofthe three water heaters and the evaluatorcomments indicated only slight differences inthe water heater capabilities and performanceobserved during the assessment. An analysisof the evaluator scores and comments indicatethat selection of the “best” water heater for ajurisdiction will be dependent upon the numberof showers as well as the type of water supplyand hoses planned for use with the TDSS.Evaluators reported that the Reeves is easy toset up, start, and operate, even while wearingClass 3 PPE. Evaluators complimented theReeves’ rugged metal construction and design.They pointed out that the Reeves was the onlyassessed water heater with a built indecontamination tank, but they noted that thegreen colored fuel tank and red coloreddecontamination solution tank may createsome confusion.ReevesThe Zumro water heater received the highestevaluator affordability and maintainabilityscores. Evaluators reported that the Zumro iscapable of a 3.7 gpm flow rate with aminimum flow rate of .5 gpm. They also notedthat the water heater has one 3/4 inch waterinlet, one cold water outlet, and one hot wateroutlet. All of the Zumro connections usestandard garden hose fittings. Evaluatorsstated that the Zumro manufacturerrecommended a maximum water pressure of150 psi. Evaluators noted that the fittings wereeasy to use, but several stated that it wasThe Reeves water heater received the highestevaluator usability, deployability, andcomposite scores. Evaluators reported that theReeves is capable of a 28 gallons per minute(gpm) flow rate. They also noted that thewater heater can accept a water supply from a1 1/2 inch commercial National StandardThread (NST) building supply, standardhydrant, or a pumper truck with adequatepressure and flow (up to a maximum waterpressure of 125 pounds per square inch [psi]).ZumroTable 2. Water Heater Assessment Results3

difficult to tighten the hose fittings because thecase opening around the connections was toosmall.Evaluators pointed out that the Zumro was theonly assessed water heater that did not requireelectricity for operation. Evaluatorscommented that the Zumro is notthermostat controlled and does not have atemperature gauge. Instead, they reported thatthe unit has a three position gas control slide,which produces a temperature rise of 33 , 45 ,or 90 F. Evaluators reported that the Zumro iseasy to set up and operate, but could bedifficult to start due to the small pilot lightwindow. The aluminum casing and internalhousing appeared to be rugged and durable, butevaluators expressed concerns about thedurability of the pilot light igniter, plastictemperature slide, and plastic water controlvalves.can, which provides fuel to the unit.Evaluators noted that the Compact 4000 wasthe only assessed water heater that includes anexhaust chimney. Evaluators pointed out thatthe Compact 4000 is also capable of producingheated air.Decontamination Shower ResultsEvaluator scoring and comments indicatedsignificant differences in the decontaminationshower capabilities and performance observedduring the assessment—most notably in thecapability and usability criteria. An analysis ofthe decontamination shower scores andcomments revealed that evaluators consideredeffective spray coverage, water efficiency, andshower construction to be the most importantdecontamination shower selectionconsiderations. Evaluator decontaminationshower scoring is presented in Table 3.Compact 4000DQEThe Compact 4000 water heater received thehighest evaluator capability score. Evaluatorsreported that the Compact 4000 is capable ofan 11 gpm flow rate with a minimum flow rateof 4 gpm. Evaluators noted that the Compact4000’s water inlet connection uses apressure reducing valve, which allows the unitto accept a water supply from a fire hydrant,pumper truck, or other sources such as aregular garden hose.The DQE decontamination shower received thehighest evaluator capability, usability,affordability, maintainability, and compositescores. Evaluators reported that the sixadjustable DQE shower heads provided aconsistent, encompassing spray. The spraycompletely covered the evaluators frommultiple directions during the assessmentrotations, and the accessory spray nozzleallowed the evaluators to rinse the bottom ofboots and other difficult to reach areas. Inaddition to the excellent spray coverage, theevaluators pointed out that the shower wasvery water efficient. Evaluators stated that thepolyvinyl chloride (PVC) pipe frame wasrugged and well constructed, and thecolor coded quick connect pipe connectorsmade setup and takedown quick and easy.Evaluators noted that the Compact 4000 has aninternal thermostat that is preset to 95 F, andthe user is unable to change the thermostatsettings. Evaluators noted that the temperaturegauge was difficult to use because it displaystemperature readings in Celsius. Evaluatorsreported that the Compact 4000 is easy to setup, start and operate, even while wearingClass 3 PPE. Evaluators commented favorablyon the Compact 4000’s rugged metalconstruction and design, except for the Gerry4RMC

Table 3. Decontamination Shower Assessment ResultsEvaluators noted that the RMC’s large showeropenings provided adequate coverage for fulldecontamination. Water streaming out of theholes, however, did not provide as muchcoverage area as the spray created by the DQEshower heads or the Fend All spray openings.Because holes are only drilled in two of thefour overhead pipe frame sections, theevaluators were required to turn around moreand stay in the shower longer for completecoverage. As a result, the shower appeared torequire more water to provide adequatecoverage than the other assessed models.Evaluators reported that the RMC shower doesnot have an accessory spray nozzle fordifficult to reach areas. Evaluators liked thecolor coded connectors, but they pointed outthat it was easy to set up the base incorrectly.expressed concerns about the shower’sdurability—especially the flexible pipe joints.Water Containment SystemResultsAn analysis of the water containment scoresand comments revealed that evaluatorsconsidered water capacity and ruggedconstruction to be the most important watercontainment system component selectionconsiderations. Evaluator water containmentsystem scoring is presented in Table 4.DQE/DQEThe DQE pool and DQE bladder received thehighest evaluator scores in all five SAVERcategories. Evaluators stated that the DQEFend Allpool was easy for one person to set up. Theypointed out, however, that the collapsibleThe Fend All decontamination showerframe had numerous pinch points. Evaluatorsreceived the highest evaluator deployabilityalso noted that the pool was large enough toscores. Evaluators agreed, however, that thecapture shower overspray and its capacity wasFend All shower did not provide adequateadequate for most technical decontaminationcoverage for full decontamination. The shower operations. During the assessment, theprovided spray coverage from the top and sides evaluators filled the pool over half full.of the shower, but the spray was not wideNeither the pool liner nor the frame showedenough to provide good coverage. Evaluatorssigns of straining. The evaluatorsnoted that Fend All offers an optionalcomplimented the rugged construction of theaccessory spray wand for difficult to reachshower and the 150 gallon DQE bladder. Theyareas, which may help the shower. Evaluators pointed out, however, that the location of thestated that the self inflating shower was easily drain valve made draining the bladder difficult.set up by one person. They, however,5

Table 4. Water Contamination System Assessment ResultsWaterContainmentCapability ScoreMaintainabilityScore(.30 Overall (.25 OverallWeighting) Weighting)(.10 OverallWeighting)(.25 OverallWeighting)(.10 9.97.376.1Fend 7.16.418.97.170.9Fend All/InterstateEvaluators reported that the Fend All pool waseasy to set up, but the frame has several pinchpoints. During the assessment, the evaluatorsfilled the pool over half full. Neither the poolliner nor the frame showed signs of straining.While the pool’s water capacity was adequatefor most technical decontamination operations,evaluators stated that the pool was not largeenough to capture shower overspray. Theevaluators also expressed concerns about thepool’s durability. Evaluators commentedfavorably on the rugged construction of theInterstate bladder, but they noted that the filland drain valve locations were difficult toreach once the bladder was full.RMC/ENPACEvaluators stated that the RMC pool waseconomical, easy to set up, and easy to store.They were concerned, however, that thecardboard pool walls were not sturdy enoughto adequately contain the pool’s statedcapacity. When the evaluators filled the poolover half full during the assessment, thecardboard walls began to show signs ofstraining. While the evaluators wereimpressed with the drum’s rugged constructionand its potential for storage, they expressed a6preference for the larger capacity and morecompact bladders.ConclusionThe evaluator comments and scoring indicatedthat all of the assessed TDSS componentswould enable emergency responders tosuccessfully complete technicaldecontamination operations while wearingClass 3 PPE. The evaluators’ observations onkey TDSS component selection considerationscontained in the full report, should providelocal jurisdictions a helpful resource for theselection of TDSS equipment which best meetstheir specific needs.All reports in the series, as well as reports onother technologies, are available on theSAVER Web site( or points of view expressed in this documentare those of the authors and do not necessarily representthe view or official position of the U.S. Government.

Validation for Emergency Responders (SAVER) . decontamination shower, and a water containment system (a containment pool and a containment bladder or drum). Table 1 lists the components used in each TDSS. Evaluators assessed the co