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Guideline Articles

Practice Parameters and Guidelines Repository

Hazardous Materials Treatment

Organization: Nassau Regional Emergency Medical Services

EMS1 Reviewers: Dr. Michael Dailey, Dr. John Freese, Dr. Jeffrey Ho, Dr. Jim Upchurch

Nassau Regional Emergency Medical Services

Critical Care & Paramedic

Hazardous Materials Treatment

Protocol III.W
Page 1 of 7


Approved:    4/7/04


Effective:    12/1/04


It is the intention of these protocols to facilitate rapid medical intervention at the scene of a Hazardous Materials incident.  These protocols are written in order to better define the responsibilities of the Hazardous Materials Medical Sector Staff. These protocols although intended for the Hazardous Materials Emergency can be used on other scenes of poisonings when deemed necessary by approved Hazardous Materials Treatment Team staff.


The Hazardous Materials Medical Sector Staff shall recognize the following as emergency treatment for specific exposure conditions.


The possibility of secondary contamination shall be recognized and measures taken to reduce the chance of such contamination. It is the responsibility of all individuals involved at the scene to take precaution to reduce secondary exposure. However, if an exposure has taken place, the following is a set of medical standing orders that have been authorized by the Medical Director to be used at the scene of a hazardous materials incident or during transport of an exposed victim.

General Treatment - Rapid assessment and initial medical practices are a necessity. High dose oxygen concentration shall be delivered to the patient as soon as practical. (This may be started during decontamination). The medical technician in charge shall notify Medical Control to contact the appropriate hospital as soon as practical and advise of the type of exposure and the number of patients involved.

It is imperative that the safety of civilian and emergency personnel be maintained while dealing with Hazardous Materials. Site safety includes barring entry into the HOT ZONE without proper precautions, full protective clothing, and knowledge or permission of the Incident Commander. People who become victims while in the Hot Zone must be brought into the WARM ZONE and decontamination effected before any medical treatment is performed. Rescuers must not become victims themselves by entering the Hot Zone, Decontamination area, or Warm Zone without proper protection.

Never transported a contaminated patient!!  Remember, leave the contamination at the scene of the emergency, and NEVER take it with you to the hospital!!

Nassau Regional Emergency Medical Services

Critical Care & Paramedic

Hazardous Materials Treatment

Protocol III.W
Page 2 of 7

Special treatment modalities for exposure shall be initiated as soon as possible after decontamination.  If there will be extended operations on a Hazardous Materials incident, EMS personnel should advise Medical Control to notify the closest appropriate medical facility, advising the Emergency Department of the nature and extent of the operations. This alerts the hospital of the incidents that may require setting up a clean isolation treatment room and/or obtaining specific medications for the exposure treatment. The report should include specific names of chemicals involved, specific amounts, and the type of exposure expected, i.e. inhalation, skin absorption, ingestion, or injection. Determine if a toxicologist is available for consultation. Be sure to have Medical Control notify the hospital at the end of the incident so they can return equipment and personnel to normal use.

The following is a list of the standard Hazmat Drug Box inventory. It shall be a second medication box carried and used in conjunction with the primary ALS box. This drug box shall be maintained specifically for hazardous materials exposures and poisonings.

Adenosine (Adenocard)
Levalbuterol (Proventil, Xopenex)
Amyl Nitrite Perles
Ponticaine Hydrochlorite
Atropine Sulfate
Pralidoxime (2PAM, Protopam)
Calcium Gluconate
Metaproterenol (Alupent)
0.9% Sodium Chloride
Dextrose 5%
Methlylene Blue
Sodium Bicarbonate
Dextrose 50
Morgan Irrigation Lens
Sodium Nitrite
Sodium Thiosulfate
Esmolol (Breviblock)



With all cases of altered mental status in the context of hazardous materials. Note: Unconsciousness may occur in concentrations of 1.5% or greater and may cause tissue anoxia. Transportation to a facility with a hyperbaric chamber should be considered.

DESCRIPTION:  Colorless, odorless, tasteless, non-irritating gas. Converts hemoglobin into carboxyhemoglobin a non oxygen-carrying compound causing chemical asphyxiation. Pulse oximetry may indicate incorrect, unusually high oxygen saturation.

Nassau Regional Emergency Medical Services

Critical Care & Paramedic

Hazardous Materials Treatment

Protocol III.W
Page 3 of 7

Immediately administer 100% oxygen if conscious, if unconscious consider intubation.
Start IV of Normal Saline.
Administer Glucose 50%, given in conjunction with, or followed immediately by 100mg Thiamine. Follow the 50% glucose with immediate hyperventilation and 100% oxygen.
**If CO poisoning due to suicide attempt give Narcan 2mg IVP.


DESCRIPTION: Commonly found in fertilizers, paints, inks, and dyes. Changes hemoglobin into a non-oxygen carrying compound methemoglobin. Blood color changes from red to a chocolate brown color.

1. Immediately administer 100% oxygen, if unconscious consider intubation.
2. Start IV Normal Saline.
3. If hypotensive, position patient, increase IV flow, if severe start Dopamine.
4. Administer Methylene Blue, 1-2mg/kg IVP over 5 minutes. (Methylene Blue may momentarily affect the pulse oximeter).


DESCRIPTION CYANIDE: One of the most rapid acting poisons. Bitter almond smell to those without sensory deficit. Interferes with the uptake of oxygen into the cell and halts cellular respiration causing chemical asphyxiation. Pulse oximetry will indicate unusually high oxygen saturation due to the cells inability to pick up oxygen from the blood stream.

DESCRIPTION HYDROGEN SULFIDE: Also known as Sewer Gas. Has a distinctive smell of rotten eggs but most dangerous when it can't be smelled. Formed naturally by the decomposition of organic substances. Heavier than air. Interferes with cellular respiration.

1. Amyl Nitrite Perles - Broken and held on a gauze pad under the patient's nose.  Allow the patient to inhale for 15-30 seconds of every minute. During the interval, the patient should breathe 100% oxygen. If the patient is not breathing place the Perles into a BVM and ventilate the patient.
2. As soon as possible start an IV of Normal Saline and immediately give:

Nassau Regional Emergency Medical Services

Critical Care & Paramedic

Hazardous Materials Treatment

Protocol III.W
Page 4 of 7

            Sodium Nitrite 10ml of a 3% solution IV over 2 minutes (300mg). Monitor BP.
                        Children - .33ml/kg of a 3% solution over 10 minutes.
            Sodium Thiosulfate 50ml of a 25% solution over 10 minutes. Monitor BP.
                        Children - 1.65ml/kg up to 50ml over 10 minutes.
            Sodium Thiosulfate not given in Hydrogen Sulfide Poisonings.

DESCRIPTION: Pesticide can be inhaled, ingested, or absorbed. Once in the body it binds with the acetylcholinesterase causing initially excitation of the nervous conduction then paralysis. Common seen signs are Salivation, Lacrimation, Urination, Defecation, GI symptoms, and Emesis (SLUDGE). Can be lethal in less than 5mg dose.

1. Immediately give 100% oxygen to insure tissue oxygenation.
2.  Start IV Normal Saline and give:
            Atropine 2-4mg IVP at 5 minute intervals until (respiratory secretions corrects). There is no maximum dose.
            Use extreme caution in a hypoxic patient. Giving atropine to a hypoxic heart may stimulate ventricular fibrillation.
Pralidoxime (2-PAM) IVP 1Gm over 2 minutes.  Not used in Carbamate poisonings.


DESCRIPTION: The strongest inorganic acid known. Injury is twofold; causes corrosive burning of the skin and deep underlying tissue. Also, binds with calcium and magnesium of the nerve pathways, bone, and blood stream. The results are spontaneous depolarization producing excruciating pain, and cardiac dysrhythmia degenerating to cardiac arrest.

1. Immediately flush exposed area with large amounts of water.
2. Apply Calcium Gluconate Gel to burned area.
            (Mix 10cc of a 10% calcium gluconate solution into a 2oz. tube of water soluble jelly).
3. Massage into burned area.
            If pain continues then:

Nassau Regional Emergency Medical Services

Critical Care & Paramedic

Hazardous Materials Treatment

Protocol III.W
Page 5 of 7

1. Calcium Gluconate in a 5% solution is injected subcutaneously in a volume of  0.5ml/cm2 or every 1/4 inch into burned area.

1. Immediately flush eyes with any means possible.
2. Mix 50cc of a 10% solution into 500cc of NS IV solution.
3. Connect bag and tubing to a Morgan Irrigation Lens and infuse.


  1. Mix 6cc of sterile water into 3cc of 10% Calcium Gluconate.
  2. This will make two treatments
  3. Place solution in nebulizer and connect to oxygen to provide effective fog.
  4. Consider Steroids

DESCRIPTION: Also known as Carbolic Acid. Found in many household items and is commonly used as a disinfectant, germicide, antiseptic, and as a wood preservative. It causes injury much the same as other acids by coagulating proteins found in the skin. Systemic effects are seen throughout the central nervous system. Evidenced by CNS depression including respiratory arrest.

1. Decontaminate initially with large volumes of water then irrigate burned area with                      mineral oil, olive oil, or isopropyl alcohol.
2. Support respirations, control seizures, and ventricular ectopy with recognized                  means of treatment.


Note: Watch water run off so other parts of the body do not become contaminated (especially other parts of the face, ears, and back of neck.) Eye burns are almost always associated with contamination of other parts of the face or body.

1. Immediately start eye irrigation by what ever means possible.
2. Insure all particulate matter or contact lenses are out of the eyes by digitally          opening the lids and pouring irrigation fluid across the globe.

Nassau Regional Emergency Medical Services

Critical Care & Paramedic

Hazardous Materials Treatment

Protocol III.W
Page 6 of 7

3. Prepare the Morgan Lens by attaching an IV solution of NS or LR, insure that the           tubing is full and a steady drip of solution is running from lens.
4. Apply 1-2 drops of Ponticaine Hydrochloride into the injured eye.
5. Insert the lens by lowering the bottom lid and inserting then raising upper lid and            placing the lens against the globe.
6. Adjust the flow so that a continuous solution is flowing from eye.
7. Continue irrigation until arrival at the hospital.


Wheezing due to exposure of the respiratory system to an irritant.

1. Immediately give 100% humidified oxygen.
2. Issue an updraft of either Alupent or Proventil, 1 unit dose nebulized.
3. Repeat the dose, if needed.


Superventricular Tachycardia due to sensitization of a toxic exposure and CNS stimulants.

1. Establish an IV lock and give;
            a. 0.5 mg/kg of Breviblock IVP or
            b. Adenocard 6mg rapid IV push followed by 10cc of saline IVP.


DESCRIPTION: Chloramine is the mixture of over the counter bleach and ammonia. Forms an irritating gas that converts to hydrochloric acid in the lining of upper air passages. The mixture is toxic and flammable.
The patient will typically complain of a burning sensation to the upper respiratory system, coughing, and hoarseness.

TREATMENT: After the patient is removed from the atmosphere and appropriate decontamination completed give:
1. 100% oxygen via NRB mask.
2. Assemble a nebulizer and administer 5cc of sterile water.

  1. If burning persists titrate half strength adult bicarb (3.75% or 4.2%) and administer 5cc through a nebulizer.
  2. Consider Steriods

This is the only time a chemical will be neutralized in or on the body by field medical personnel.

Nassau Regional Emergency Medical Services

Critical Care & Paramedic

Hazardous Materials Treatment

Protocol III.W
Page 7 of 7


DESCRIPTION: The patient will usually present with extreme burning of the eyes, nose, and congestion due to increased mucous production. Exam will find the patient suffering from increased tear production and blepharospasm.

TREATMENT: Since the agent does not cause significant tissue damage the treatment is aimed at relieving the pain caused by nerve stimulation.
1. Initially determine the history of the injury. If a determination can be established that the pain is caused from capsicum spray then the eyes should be immediately numbed.
2. Once it has been assured that the patient is not allergic to caine derivatives apply           Alcaine, Ponticaine, or Opthalmacaine.
3. When the blepharospasm is relieved a visual exam is performed to assess for     trauma of the eye.
4. Assess for clear lung sounds and BP changes to insure that sensitivity has not occurred.

Nassau Regional Emergency Medical Services Council
Nassau County, New York
December 2004

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