Fire EMS

MASS DECONTAMINATION: ARE WE DOING ENOUGH?

Issue 9 and Volume 159.

BY GLEN D. RUDNER Several years ago the first responding apparatus took on the responsibility of decontaminating the large number of victims who may have been contaminated by an accidental release of an industrial chemical or the intentional release of weapons of mass destruction (WMD). Today, those first responder companies are responsible not only for mass decontamination but also for treating, triaging, and transporting these victims-turned-patients to the hospital or care areas. Several questions have arisen concerning this situation, and they should be addressed. First response communities, because of a large funding stream of grants, have purchased a large amount of equipment for terrorism preparedness and for researching, detecting, and monitoring the products. They have bought personal protective equipment (PPE) to protect themselves on entry, for investigation, and also for victims after they have been decontaminated. They have purchased decontamination trailers, showers, pools, and other products to expedite decontamination and…

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