Emergency Procedures

American Portable Nuclear Gauge Association

This is a stand-alone version from the Training Manual

All licensees must develop an emergency procedures document. This document covers response procedures for incidents of a missing, stolen or damaged gauge and provides contact and telephone information.  Copies of the plan should be kept in permanent file, the storage area, the gauge case transportation document packet and given to every gauge worker.

An emergency procedures plan should begin at the gauge storage facility area. Many regulatory agencies require the licensee to provide a sketch/schematic of the building and storage area, including number of gauges in storage, to the local fire department. This document would obviously be of vital importance in the event of a fire at the facility. An example of a sketch can be found in the appendices. Keep a copy in the permanent file drawer.

A non-reportable storage area emergency response would occur with the discovery of a gauge with a dislodged or damaged sliding block. The gauge may only need a minor adjustment but it should only be handled and serviced by an authorized gauge handler.

Set the gauge on a table with a positioned mirror. Tilt the gauge away from you, and while viewing the base of the gauge through the mirror image, open the source rod access panel to make an adjustment to the spring loaded sliding block.

Note: Whenever gauges are removed from storage they should be checked with a radiation survey meter.

Tip the gauge on its side and take a survey meter measurement. A reading of <20mrem per hour at the surface of the base of the gauge or <0.8mrem at one meter away would be indicative of a gauge with the sliding block fully closed. A reading significantly higher is an indication that the shielding may be ajar. Contact the RSO and use the above mirror procedure to determine the cause and if it can be locally corrected.

The emergency response document should have adequate company, regulatory and law enforcement contact individual and telephone number information. At a minimum it should include:

Company RSO________________________________

RSO work #__________________________

RSO mobile #_________________________

RSO home #__________________________

Regulatory Agency Emergency # (Day)_________________________


Police/Fire #_______________________________

Gauge Manufacturer Emergency Response #____________________________

NRC 24hr Emergency Response # 301-816-5100

USDOT 24hr Emergency Response # 800-424-8802

The USDOT # should only be used in the event of a transport accident where the gauge is involved in a fire, breakage or suspected contamination. Don’t call if the accident only resulted in damage to the gauge case.

In the event of a missing gauge immediately contact the RSO, who will in turn immediately contact the regulatory agency.

In the event of a stolen gauge, and if the theft just occurred, call the police immediately with the details. Then call the RSO, who will in turn call the regulatory agency. If you can’t immediately reach the RSO, call the regulatory agency.

In the event of physical damage to the gauge at the worksite:


a)   First, if there are any serious injuries, immediately contact fire and rescue. Then attend to those injured in the accident.
b)  If the gauge is involved in a fire immediately contact the fire department and keep all individuals away from the gauge and up-wind of the smoke stream.
c)  Secure and control the area by keeping individuals at least 15 feet away from the gauge. Stop all unauthorized entries to the area.
d)   Although contamination from a damaged gauge is not likely, do not allow any individuals suspected of contamination or radiation exposure to leave the area. Direct emergency response individuals to these individuals.
e)   If any vehicle or construction equipment was involved keep it at the site until it can be determined if it was contaminated.
f)    Gather facts.
g)   Do not touch or move the gauge. Is the source rod extended? Visually inspect the gauge to determine if the end of the source rod is still attached. If it is still retracted inside the gauge inspect the housing of the gauge. Is the base of the gauge cracked or damaged?
h)   Call the RSO, and if necessary, the regulatory agency. Have the following information ready:

1)   Give your name, company and mobile telephone number.

2)    Location and description of the incident.

3)    What type of gauge was involved and what type and quantities of sources were involved. Quantities are typically:

a)    Cesium 137, 8-10 millicuries, sealed source

b)    Americium 241, 40-50 millicuries, sealed source

4)    How the gauge was damaged, e.g. vehicle.

i)   If a radiation survey meter is on hand and you are authorized and competent to do so, take a reading of the gauge at one meter (one yard) away. The reading should be < .08millirem. A reading at the base of the gauge where the source rod is extended should be <20millirem. A significantly higher reading is an indication that the sliding block is ajar. A reading of <.01 might be an indication that the source rod has broken off. Give the details to the RSO and await instructions.
j)   Workers using the gauge below 3 feet of the surface must have specific emergency procedures training.
k)   Many licensees prepare an emergency response kit. This kit would typically include:

a.    A leak test kit

b.    Latex gloves

c.    100 feet of rope to cordon off a 15 feet radius area

d.    A radiation survey meter (keep it calibrated on an annual basis)

e.    Packaging tape

l)   Licensee RSO or Management must make necessary notifications to the regulatory agency.