View Full Version : Yet another question!

08-06-2010, 05:33 PM
hey any other science people out there? chemists? Hazmat?

Ok i'm looking for a powdery substance. I need something more complicated that it wouldnt be able to be tested on the field in test kits that hazmat has. Ex) dope, sugar, anthrax.... ect. But i also need it to be harmless, or at least something that can be altered so it can be harmless. And the substance (if top priority in a lab) would take no more then 6 hours and no less then 1 hour to chemically test.

PS. Please tell me if that time frame is rediculas or not.:)

Backstory(Incase you need to know) my MCs are trying to break into an army base, office building to steal back something that belongs to them. They devise a plan to send a (or multiple) envlopes (that have been altered so they advoid irratication in the mail) that contain a white powder so the building is evacuated and they can sneek in and get what is theirs.

08-07-2010, 12:50 AM
I know a guy who when the anthrax scare was going on put powdered sugar in an envelope and thought it was funny to "accidently" tear it open and spill it everywhere while saying, "Oh shit! What's that? Is that anthrax?"

Nobody was amused and he was questioned by police for several hours while they determined it was a prank. I don't think they actually charged him with anything when it was all said and done. I'm sure they would have today. If he hadn't been the boss he probably would have been fired.

08-07-2010, 01:18 AM
If you want it to be harmless, who cares if it gets irradiated or not?

Military mail's going to get X-rayed, and anything that blocks an X-ray is going to get stopped before it reaches its destination. Your characters won't want to use special envelopes.

08-07-2010, 04:36 AM
I'm a bit confused about how you think a haz-mat event for white powder goes. Having been to a couple as a firefighter, let me give you some thoughts, which may not be very helpful to you.

Call comes in to the fire department for a suspicious powder. Building is emptied and secured. Police place a cordon around the building. No one in, no one out, except as authorized by the incident commander (fire official). One entrance only will be used.

First team in uses full body suits and self-contained breathing. They analyze the situation and report to the incident commander. In this case, the envelopes would be put in sealed containers, and secured. Containers exterior are washed and they are shipped off by the police to the lab. Tests are conducted to determine likelihood of spread (is there any white powder spread in the room). Low probability of spread, we vent the building for a while, then head for home.

No testing is done in the field. Why bother? We're going to stuff it and get rid of it. The sealed containers are very, very sealed.

As white powder became more and more common, we treated it with a lot less respect.

Now, to the best of my knowledge, any decent sized military base has its own fire department. Well trained, well equipped, and well manned. And they probably deal with haz-mat, just like the civilian world. The military is reluctant to call in mutual aid from civilian departments. So instead of being easier to get into, the gates would be sealed, and IDs very thoroughly checked.

And the military has tons of people to do things. They'd seal the building extremely thoroughly. Their approach would be substantially the same as a civilian department. The chances of your bad guys getting in during a haz-mat incident are unlikely.

Further, at a haz-mat, all IDs are recorded. In a secure environment, I'd assume not only are IDs recorded, but that a visual check would be made that the ID matches the individual.

Bottom line is I'm having problems with your premise. I will admit, however, that some of the stuff coming out now is so inaccurate I just have to laugh. But the thing is, most of your audience won't know this stuff.

Best of luck,

Jim Clark-Dawe

08-10-2010, 10:37 PM
wow thanks soooooo much! you cleared up alot of stuff for me! The internet can be very very unrealiable that's why i'm very greatful for your knowledge! That changes things a bit but i can manage! Thanks again!