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An NBC (Nuclear, Biological, Chemical) suit is a type of military personal protective equipment designed to provide protection against direct contact with and contamination by radioactive, biological or chemical substances, and provides protection from contamination with radioactive materials and some types of radiation, depending on the design. It is generally designed to be worn for extended periods to allow the wearer to fight (or generally function) while under threat of or under actual nuclear, biological, or chemical attack. The civilian equivalent is the Hazmat suit. The term NBC has been replaced by CBRN (Chemical, Biological, Radiological, Nuclear), with the addition of a new threat, radiological, meaning radiological weapon.
Sometimes they are called chemsuits or chem suits or chemical suits.
NBC stands for nuclear, biological, chemical. It is a term used in the armed forces and in health and safety, mostly in the context of weapons of mass destruction (WMD) clean-up in overseas conflict or protection of emergency services during the response to a terrorist attack, though there are civilian and common-use applications (such as recovery and clean up efforts after industrial accidents).
In military operations, NBC suits are intended to be quickly donned over a soldier’s uniform and can continuously protect the user for up to several days. Most are made of impermeable material such as rubber, but some incorporate a filter, allowing air, sweat and condensation to slowly pass through. An example of this is the Canadian military NBC suit.
The older Soviet suit was impermeable rubber-coated canvas. Now known as the CBRN suit, the British Armed Forces suit is reinforced nylon with charcoal impregnated felt. It is more comfortable because of the breathability but has a shorter useful life, and must be replaced often. The British Armed Forces suit is known as a "Noddy suit" because some of them had a pointed hood like the hat worn by the fictional character Noddy. The Soviet style suit will protect the wearer at higher concentrations than the British suit but is less comfortable due to the build-up of moisture within it. A Soviet suit was known as a Womble because of its long faced respirator with round visor glasses. In Canadian terminology, an NBC suit or any kind of similar protective over-suit is also known as a Bunnysuit.
A contemporary fictional example is shown by the Hazardous Environment Suit as worn by Gordon Freeman in the Half-Life series of video games. In this context, Freeman's HEV suit is used as an explanation for his resistance to environmental hazards and physical damage, the suit also having some of the properties of power armor. The protagonist of Half-Life: Opposing Force, USMC Corporal Adrian Shephard, wears a military version of the HEV suit called the Powered Combat Vest (PCV).
In the games Fallout 3 and Fallout: New Vegas, radiation suits are commonly used due to the radiation in the game. They are either yellow or white with a clear or red plastic visors. They block out some radiation found in the worlds. In the New Vegas add-on Dead Money, creatures known as Ghost People are in fact former humans trapped in their chemical protection suits. In Tom Clancy's Rainbow Six: Vegas 2, a character may be outfitted with different levels of exposure protection, including half-face respirators and other face masks. During the level in the sports stadium, the player and teammates are depicted wearing either a Level B or C suits. (It is unknown whether there is a SCBA unit.) In the game S.T.A.L.K.E.R., many of the NPCs are seen wearing protective Environmental and Exoskeleton suits. In the game Killing Floor one of the default characters is wearing a British NBC suit in conjunction with a vest and British military helmet. Blackwatch Troopers in the game Prototype wear stylized NBC suits. This, according to the game designers, was a design decision in order to dehumanize them in the eyes of the player.
In the novel Metro 2033 by Dmitry Glukhovsky people visiting the irradiated surface of Moscow wear black radiation suits with unique clear faced gas masks. However in the video game of the same name no suit is needed only a gas mask.
In the future war in the fiction series Rogue Trooper both sides wear NBC suits and call them chemsuits; this word is used sometimes also in the real world.
In the TV series The Walking Dead, soldiers can be seen in full MOPP gear in early episodes and flashbacks to early periods of the zombie apocalypse, the basis for the story, such as in the episode "TS-19".
- CBRN (Chemical Biological Radiological Nuclear, known formerly as NBC)
- MOPP (Mission Oriented Protective Posture gear)
- Personal protective equipment
- Positive pressure personnel suit (PPPS) (for use in biocontainment)
- Weapons of mass destruction (WMD, formerly NBC weapon)
- S10 NBC Respirator (used in conjunction with British Military NBC suit)
- Fallout shelter
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