Radiation Accident Preparation

Every EMS system should have a prehospital plan for the evacuation of victims from a radiation disaster. The scene is first evaluated for safety and containment of contamination, and radiation counters provided for prehospital personnel. HAZMAT is often the responsible agency. Scene safety must be assured before evacuation begins. Every hospital should have a written protocol detailing instructions for receiving and treating radiation accident victims. The initial medical evaluation and treatment of the victims often falls under the purview of the emergency physician, so that the emergency physician should take an active role in the development of the hospital's radiation accident plan. Several publications are available to provide specific detailed guidance for the development of an Emergency Department Radiation Accident Protocol, as well as prehospital management of radiation accident victims.23

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