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Saturday

Finding Radiation in the Parking Lot

I happened to go out for a cup of coffee with a friend of mine this morning and found something unexpected in the parking lot. In the space next to mine was a pickup truck owned by a construction company with two containers in the back...labeled RADIOACTIVE. Barely secured with an old chain and skimpy padlock, these containers were just sitting in the open bed of the truck with nobody around.

I'm certain they were legitimate. But in today's society, just leaving them out in the open was a bit odd. Certainly, these materials could be used for some untoward event, like a dirty bomb, but more concerning is the number of possibilities that are more likely to happen.

Suppose this truck were to be involved in a collision, a roll-over or rear-end collision for instance. You find the containers after you approach, size-up and being patient care...or worse, you find the compromised containers only after patients have been taken to the hospital.

How about fire? You arrive to find this truck fully involved. Only after extinguishment you find the melted, compromised containers. Do you have radiation detection equipment available? Would you even think about getting it out?

Finally, what will the average citizen think of this? Two containers left out in the open and clearly marked radiation. Perhaps they'll call 9-1-1, how will you respond?