Date of Award


Document Type


Degree Name

Master of Science in Engineering Management


Department of Systems Engineering and Management

First Advisor

Gregory D. Hammond, PhD.


In the United States, industrial and terrorist use of chemical, biological, radiological, and nuclear (CBRN) materials pose a risk to public safety. During the initial phase of typical CBRN incidents, emergency responders establish hazard zones based on standard distances from published guidelines and recommendations. This research investigates how standard hazard zones change in a real world environment that accounts for physical boundaries. Using a python simulation in ArcGIS®, new hazard zones were created by expanding standard hazard zones to follow nearby roads, railroads, and rivers. The new and standard zones were compared by calculating the population and area affected by each zone. Additionally, responder efficiency was compared across different combinations of physical boundaries. The simulation generated 990 random points across three cities and three environments (urban, suburban, rural) and was replicated for six hazards. The results revealed significantly larger populations and areas affected by new zones compared to standard zones and significant effects from the environment and city where the incident occurred. Depending on hazard, the median growth ranged from approximately 340 to 8,000 people and 0.6 to 8.8 square miles. The particular combination of physical boundaries used in creating hazard zones was not found to influence responder efficiency.

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DTIC Accession Number