Guidance for Radiation Accident Management

Prehospital Medical Management
  1. Assess and treat life-threatening injuries. Do not delay lifesaving measures in order to assess contamination status. Perform routine emergency care during extrication procedures.
  2. Move patients away from the radiation hazard area, using proper patient transfer techniques to prevent further injury.
  3. Patients should be monitored at the control line for possible contamination only after they are medically stable. Radiation levels above background indicate the presence of contamination. Remove the contaminated accident victims' clothing in a controlled manner, provided removal can be accomplished without causing further injury or delaying care.
    First responders preparing patient for transport
  4. Move stretcher, with a clean sheet or blanket on it, to the control line. Place the patient on the covered stretcher and prepare the patient for transport by folding the stretcher sheet or blanket over them and securing them in the appropriate manner. Do not remove the patient from the spineboard if one was used for medical purposes.
    Paramedics loading patient into ambulance
  5. Before leaving the controlled area, rescuers should remove protective gear at the control line. If possible, the patient should be transported by personnel who have not entered the controlled area. Pre-hospital providers should don appropriate personal protective equipment, including gloves, gown/coveralls, mask and face shield, as available.
    Paramedic checking emergency equipment
  6. If the ambulance is needed for another medical/trauma emergency, especially if returning to the same contaminated scene, it may be used prior to monitoring and decontamination. Otherwise, the ambulance and crew should not return to regular service until the crew, vehicle, and equipment have undergone monitoring and necessary decontamination.
    Monitoring of ambulance