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Patient Decontamination in a Mass Chemical Exposure Incident

The Department of Health and Human Services Office of the Assistant Secretary for Preparedness and Response (ASPR) has published updated guidance on Patient Decontamination in a Mass Chemical Exposure Incident: National Planning Guidance for Communities.

The guidance document contains best practice for senior leaders, planners, incident commanders, emergency managers, and trainers of local response organizations and health care facilities to aid in planning and conducting patient decontamination in a mass chemical casualty incident.

The subject matter is focused on external decontamination of living people exposed to toxic industrial chemicals (TICs), toxic industrial materials (TIMs) or chemical warfare agents (CWAs) resulting from either an intentional or accidental release.

Key components of the resource include:

  • 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

The resource provides an approach that is flexible and scalable according to the resource and capability limitations of the organization, adaptable to each unique community.

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