TMG Visitor Policy

Mayor Frank G. Jackson, Cleveland Fire Department and The McCrone Group Unveil Breakthrough Emergency Vehicle for Bio-chemical Weapons Identification


CLEVELAND, OH (July 11, 2006) – A first-of-its-kind First Responders emergency vehicle designed to help fight the war on terrorism was unveiled here today at a press briefing by the Cleveland Fire Department and its vehicle concept partner The McCrone Group, internationally recognized as a world leader in microanalysis and the nation’s Premier Microscopy Resource.

Working together for the past twelve months, the Cleveland Fire Department Hazardous Materials Response Team and The McCrone Group headquartered in Westmont, IL jointly developed the total microscopy mobile response emergency vehicle. The private and public partnership effort produced a vehicle for WMD technicians to safely, quickly and accurately assess hazardous materials and bio-chemical weapons.

The McCrone Group provided all design and development services to the Cleveland Fire Department to develop a total microscopy solution. This solution includes the unique microscopy biological safety cabinet “glove box” which utilizes all available conventional identification measures as well as advanced polarized light and fluorescence microscopy. The McCrone Group provided equipment and consulting services in excess of $250,000 to the Cleveland Fire Department at no charge.

The new Cleveland Fire Department mobile response vehicle for bio-chemical weapons contains an advanced microscopy system enabling specially trained WMD Responders to conduct tests and assess substance identification while on-site at a “hot zone.” The unit also contains standard hazmat detection equipment.

“The City of Cleveland is extremely proud to be one of the nation’s first cities to take such an important step in fighting the terrorism threat and to ensure the safety of our community”, Frank G. Jackson, City of Cleveland Mayor said. “In our view, we have addressed the new Homeland Security guidelines for local firefighters to effectively act as the first level of response to terrorism. We are fortunate to have partnered with The McCrone Group to develop this innovative response vehicle and to help train our fire department specialists.”

“This unique vehicle represents one of the most advanced mobile bio-chemicals identification systems in the world”, Donald A. Brooks, President and CEO, The McCrone Group said. “It is the first and only commercially available mobile response vehicle that can conduct rapid ‘on-the- scene’ identification of hazardous materials with an extremely high reliably, using the world’s most advanced microscopy instruments and resources.”

“We are honored to have worked with the City of Cleveland Fire Department in developing this creative solution during the past twelve months, and we are looking forward to serving other fire departments across the nation in their preparation against bio-chemical weapons, “Brooks added.

Guarantees Safe Handling of Bio-Chemical Weapons

The new vehicle is a key piece of equipment in providing a total microscopy solution ensuring the safe handling of bio-chemical materials and substances. The unique “glove box” feature of the vehicle is the world’s first Class III biological safety cabinet that safely houses a high- powered microscope within the cabinet, completely protecting the First Responder and the vehicle from exposure to the hazardous material while allowing advanced microanalysis testing.

“The fact that the microscope is contained within the cabinet opens up numerous possibilities for a broad range of advanced tests that can be performed safely within the “glove box”, Charles Zona, Vice President, The McCrone Group said. “The unique product design, developed by The McCrone Group, also has a separate sample loading portal to accept a sample from the outside world, completely shielding the occupants and the vehicle and providing yet another added layer of safety,” he said.

“What First Responders learned from the 9/11 terrorism attacks was that a multi-location attack can completely task the analysis capability of the National Laboratory Response Network and First Response systems”, stated Terry Bindernagel, Lieutenant & Hazard Materials Specialist, City of Cleveland Fire Department. “These systems can become overwhelmed by too many samples to test, critically delaying the time to assess a situation,” he said.

“First Responders require the ability to quickly assess and control an unknown substance situation. The new vehicle for bio-chemical weapons with its unique ‘glove box’ provides new testing methods to these critical problems,” Bindernagel said.

Safety Protocols & Testing Methods

McCrone has also developed new hazardous materials protocols and testing methods for the City of Cleveland Fire Department. The new system of sample collection, transportation and analyses provides critical time saving steps for WMD Responders and permits them to arrive at materials identification answers faster than other typical materials-handling protocols.

Additional resources onboard the Mobile Response Vehicle completing the total microscopy solution includes fluorescence microscopy for Anthrax identification and use of the McCrone Online Atlas of Microscopic Particles. The McCrone Atlas provides First Responders with the ability to quickly search and compare materials and particle samples visually from the scene to hundreds of stored particle examples within the software/database application – saving minutes and even hours through visual comparison and possibly eliminating the need for advanced testing.

The McCrone Group through its teaching institution, the College of Microscopy, also provided advanced microanalysis training in varied scientific methods such as Identification of White Powder Unknowns to the City of Cleveland Fire Department. The College of Microscopy trains other WMD experts and Civil Response Teams from the National Guard, New York City, and First Responder Groups across the nation.

About The McCrone Group
Founded in 1956 and located in Westmont, IL, The McCrone Group, Inc., is a world leader in materials analysis and is internationally recognized as the premier microscopy resource. The company is comprised of three business units: McCrone Associates, the analytical service division; McCrone Microscopes & Accessories, the instrument sales division; and the College of Microscopy, the education division that provides training to industry and government scientists worldwide. For more information about The McCrone Group, please visit

McCrone Associates, the analytical service division, is focused on solving some of the most difficult materials analysis problems along with the day-to-day needs of forensic, pharmaceutical, materials, and environmental laboratories, scientific researchers, and government organizations worldwide.

McCrone Microscopes & Accessories, the instrument sales division, offers a complete line of microscopes and microscopy related instruments, reference standards, and resource books.

The College of Microscopy, the Group’s new Learning Center, provides training to both industry and government scientists worldwide. The staff of The McCrone Group has been teaching scientists and researchers for more than 40 years. Today The College of Microscopy offers more than 35 courses a year to the technical and educational community around the world.

The Atlas of Microscopic Particles (, the Group’s new online particle resource, is the first of its kind internet-based particle reference for scientists, microscopists, and criminalists engaged in the materials identification area.