The hospital and ED have the following responsibilities when planning for hazardous materials exposure: (1) identify any potential local hazards, (2) recognize that a hazardous material is involved, (3) identify the agent involved, (4) obtain information about the toxicity and secondary contamination potential of the agent, (5) protect hospital personnel, other patients, and the facility itself from secondary contamination and loss of serviceability to other patients, (6) triage and decontaminate victims, (7) stabilize and treat the injured, and (8) protect the community from secondary contamination. One excellent resource for designing such procedures is the ATSDR Medical Management Guidelines for Acute Chemical ExposuresChapter s, Disaster Medical Services, covers planning in detail.

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