Did you know? Radio Frequency Safety!


Radio Frequency Safety is a difficult task. You can’t see it. It doesn’t bounce around like light does. The most important part is that you can’t feel it, because Radio Frequency Safety prevents it. Non-ionizing radiation, where Radio Frequency is concerned, does not have enough energy to change you at the atomic level, and it does not melt you from the inside out.

When most people think radiation, they think of ionizing radiation. The stuff that melts us from the inside out and results in serious health conditions. Radiation of any kind is of all the same thing, but with one serious difference. The total amount of energy that is there. Another important note to keep in mind, all radiation doesn’t interact with the world equally.

Experiment: If we put a plastic container in the microwave oven off to one side, and a glass of water off to the other side, you will find that the water will absorb much more energy. In fact, the plastic will remain at the temperature of the air inside the oven for the most part. Not all plastic is the same either, so hopefully you don’t end up with a smoldering pile of plastic in the microwave! You will soon realize that the plastic will only gain energy from thermal energy that has transferred from the water, through the air, and into the plastic. Why is that? Well there are complicated reasons why certain objects absorb more energy than others. Size, shape, conductivity, molecules, atoms, etc. all contribute to the amount of energy that can be transferred to an object, or on a larger scale, a person.

Radio Frequency Safety is all about how much energy can potentially get transferred to a person, fuel, or ordinance (ammunition) from an RF transmitter. We can always make one assumption about it: too much energy can be bad thing! Think back to the microwave oven experiment.

How much is too much? We know that the length of time to cook a potato versus the time it takes to reheat our coffee in the microwave is significantly different. What would be sufficient to reheat your coffee would make for a very poorly cooked potato!

Radio Frequency Safety is designed so that your body’s circulatory system will cool you down faster than you can ever heat up. So if you stand in those energies all day, 24 hours a day, 365 days a year, nothing will happen to you. You can warm up faster standing in the sun!

The Quality Engineering Test Establishment (QETE) determines how close you can get to Radio Frequency transmitters with specialized measurement equipment. How close is too close? Is too much energy there? Seek out your Radio Frequency Safety Officer to find the latest QETE report for your unit’s Radio Frequency transmitters.

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