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Upper Extremity Blast Injury Prevention Standard

The Department of Defense (DoD) Blast Injury Research Program is working to advance the Human Upper Extremity Blast Injury Prevention Standard.

The Blast Injury Prevention Standard is defined as a description of physiologically or biomechanically based injury and performance responses of a human to blast insults. The standards can range from simple dose response curves and injury thresholds that address single components of blast insults, such as peak force, to complex algorithms and computational models that address multiple components of blast insults, such as force-time history.

These standards will play a critical role in the prevention of Warfighter injuries and the enhancement of Warfighter survivability by informing health hazard assessments, survivability assessments, and protection system development aimed at producing safe weapon systems, survivable combat platforms, and effective protection systems.

To conduct these assessments, the DoD needs MHS Blast Injury Prevention Standards to investigate the physiological and biomechanical effects of blast injuries on the Warfighter, both when generated by enemy explosive weapons and when produced by blast exposures during weapon systems firing.

Blast Injury Prevention Standards Recommendation (BIPSR)

To identify the best available standards, DoD in collaboration with the Johns Hopkins University Applied Physics Laboratory and The MITRE Corporation, have developed and refined the MHS Blast Injury Prevention Standards Recommendation (BIPSR) Process.

The process provides an unbiased, stakeholder-driven critical assessment methodology for identifying the best biomedically valid candidate MHS Blast Injury Prevention Standards currently available. It supports the development and testing of safe weapons and effective combat platform crew and individual protection systems.

It is important to note that the BIPSR Process is not a research program and does not develop new injury criteria or injury prediction tools. However, it does inform research by identifying gaps where no suitable standards currently exist.

For the purposes of this RFI, Blast Injury is defined as an injury that occurs as the result of the detonation of high explosives, including vehicle-borne and person-borne explosive devices, rocket-propelled grenades, and improvised explosive devices.

Of highlighted concern is the consequences of tissue exposure to post-detonation environmental contaminants including:

  • Bacteria (deliberate and commensal, with or without sepsis)
  • Radiation (dirty bombs)
  • Fuel, metals, and other conventional materials

The BIPSR Process currently focuses on Human Upper Extremity Blast Injury Prevention Standards. The Upper Extremity area includes the scapula, clavicle, humerus, radius, ulna, carpus, metacarpus, and phalanges, in addition to synovium, ligaments, tendons and muscles (including cervical and thoracic insertions), nerves (including cervical roots), adipose tissue, and dermis.

Operational Environments and Positioning

The BIPSR Process has identified the operational environments and intended uses of Human Upper Extremity Blast Injury Prevention Standards for the protection of military service members who are:

  • Mounted (in a vehicle, standing or seated, restrained or unrestrained)
  • Dismounted (standing or seated, not in a vehicle)
  • Exposed to aircraft ejection and hard landing
  • Ship deck slap (rising force underneath vessels and the collapse that follows)
  • Underwater load environments, underwater explosions, and underwater shock

Request for Information

The RFI seeks to obtain information on existing Upper Extremity Blast Injury criteria, thresholds, and models, etc., that could be considered as potential DoD standards, as well as those being developed or researched.

The RFI also aims to identify gaps between existing knowledge and that needed to inform standards; and give producers of existing protection systems that are highly relevant to understanding human tolerance limits and predicting injuries sustained by blast victims an opportunity to describe how they can assist in standards identification, development, and research.

The effort also seeks to dentify and obtain methodologies, tools, models and simulations, dose-response curves, injury thresholds, computational models, their components and parameters and associated technologies, that may contribute to an upgradable platform for continuous integration of improved technologies; and obtain information from a broad community, including industry, academia, and other federal agencies on the availability of military-relevant blast injury standards.

Further details are available via Solicitation Number: W81XWH-15-T-JLM456. The response deadline is July 24, 2015.

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