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Protecting Buildings against Airborne Contamination

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Journal Article - Open Access

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Massachusetts Institute of Technology - Lincoln Laboratory Lexington United States

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For both homeland security and military defense, buildings must be defended against airborne chemical and biological hazards. In considering which types of attacks might occur, it is clear that many different hazardous contaminants and scenarios can be involved. Fortunately, buildings offer many options for contaminant mitigation and exposure reduction. Passive protective measures have been effectively used for years and include architectural features, physical security, and air filtration. Recently emerging air monitoring sensors allow active protective measures that can complement and extend the protection afforded by passive measures. These active measures include HVAC and building mechanical changes, directed use of personnel protective equipment, and directed movement of occupants to safe shelter. Determining the most appropriate integrated protective system is a daunting systems engineering problem. This problem is addressable by using several quantitative figures of merit, as shown by case studies of the Hanscom Lincoln TestbedHazardous Environmental Protection System.

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