Evidence-based mass decon guidance released

U.S. DHS and DOH release first-ever decontamination guidance for emergency response to a toxic chemical incident


WASHINGTON — New evidence-based guidance has been published for emergency responders that may be called upon to decontaminate patients from a toxic chemical incident.

Millions of Americans live near chemical facilities. In the event of a catastrophic accident thousands could be at risk of chemical exposure and potentially in need of decontamination.

This document marks the first time, evidence-based guidance has been available for first responders, medical providers, and public health officials to make decisions about mass decontamination of patients after a chemical exposure.

The guidance, published by the U.S. Departments of Homeland Security and Health and Human Services, pertains to local chemical plant accidents as well as terrorism. An estimated 15,000 chemical incidents occurred in the U.S. in 2012, reported the Assistant Secretary for Preparedness and Response (ASPR) Office of Policy and Planning

The document, Patient Decontamination in a Mass Chemical Exposure Incident: National Planning Guidance for Communities, organizes recommendations into the functional components of a response.

  • Determining the need for decontamination of an individual patient.
  • Choosing patient decontamination methods.
  • Determining the effectiveness of decontamination.
  • Prioritizing patients for decontamination in a mass exposure incident.
  • Coordinating the entire system-wide response.
  • Communicating crisis and emergency risk messages to the community.

Learn more by reading New Evidence-Based Planning Guidance for Patient Decontamination and downloading the guidance

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