The Department of Homeland Security (DHS), through its Science and Technology Directorate (S&T), was awarded a U.S. patent for the Homeland Explosive Consequence Assessment Tool (HExCAT), protecting the Department’s invention and guaranteeing that the technology can help fulfill the DHS mission for years to come. HExCAT is a unique modeling system that helps emergency managers prepare communities for large-scale, scenario-specific hazards and predict consequences and potential outcomes. The tool is derived from the mandate given by Homeland Security Presidential Directive-19 Combating Terrorist Use of Explosives in the United States, and was developed to ensure we are better equipped today to handle the threats of tomorrow.
“With the HExCAT, response planners are now equipped with a fully integrated system that predicts the likely consequences of an explosion, including human injuries, structural damages, and medical responses, helping us evaluate a range of what-if scenarios and focus our energy on the most effective means of prevention, detection, mitigation and response,” said Helen Mearns, deputy director of S&T’s Chemical Security Analysis Center (CSAC).
HExCAT provides emergency managers with capabilities to streamline decision making and emergency response planning, by, among others, identifying vulnerabilities at large venues, devising effective evacuation procedures for facilities, and planning routes for relocating large groups of people to medical facilities. Additionally, HExCAT houses a library of 28 different types of military and homemade explosives, including various fuel and oxidizer combinations that amplify explosive effects, and provides unique insight into potential worst-case outcomes. The tool can also model different scenarios in diverse indoor and outdoor public spaces to more accurately predict how these scenarios will play out and how to adapt in real-life situations.
S&T’s CSAC developed the HExCAT with support from the Directorate’s Explosives Threat Assessment Program, Battelle, Department of Health and Human Services (HHS), Leidos, and the National Center for Disaster Medicine and Public Health (NCDMPH).