Equip an Emergency Department
for Radiation Decontamination

Adapted from Dainiak N et al. Development of a statewide hospital plan for radiologic emergencies. Int J Radiat Oncol Biol Phys. 2006 May 1;65(1):16-24. [PubMed Citation]

  • Special equipment used for the care of contaminated patients beyond the scope of the usual emergency department inventory should be kept in a storage area (i.e., cabinet) marked "Hazardous Materials Equipment."
  • Adequate supplies should be stored to manage a "large disaster", with sufficient supplies to protect and assist all the personnel who are expected to participate.
  • This area should be located within close proximity of the emergency department.
  • The key for entering this area should be held in a secure location. An inventory list should be placed inside the cabinet. The appropriate staff person in the ED and the radiation safety team should know where this is.
  • All monitoring equipment and radiation signs should be inspected and inventoried annually.

Suggested Supply List for Decontamination of Victims in the Emergency Department

Category Supplies
Clothing Complete protective clothing for each member of the decontamination team:
  • Tyvek® coveralls
  • Surgical gloves
  • Shoe coverings
  • Surgical masks
  • Surgical caps
Detection equipment
  • Personnel dosimeters (pocket ionization type)
  • Thermoluminescent dosimeters
  • Film badges
  • Geiger-Mueller meters (2) - Ludlum Model #5 with pancake probe (stored in nuclear medicine department)
Decontamination equipment
  • Cotton applicators
  • Large plastic bags (collection of clothes)
  • Adhesive tape and labels
  • Large towels
  • Soft scrub brushes
  • Plastic sheets
  • General cleansing agents: chlorine bleach, radiac wash (not to be used for patient decontamination), soap
  • Radiation warning signs
  • Copy of radiation accident standard protocol
  • Assorted pens
  • Specimen bottles (with and without heparin and ethylenediamine tetraacetic acid)
  • Kitty litter
  • Emesis basins
  • Fifty (50) feet of rope
  • Plastic tarpaulin or other plastic coverings for the floor

See also:

Razak S, Hignett S, Barnes J. Emergency Department Response to Chemical, Biological, Radiological, Nuclear, and Explosive Events: A Systematic Review. Prehosp Disaster Med. 2018 Oct;33(5):543-549. [PubMed Citation]

Suggested Emergency Department Radiation Equipment and Materials (PDF - 1.95 MB) (NYC Hospital Guidance for Responding to a Contaminating Radiation Incident, April 2009, page 69)

Jafari ME, Radiological incident preparedness for community hospitals: a demonstration project. Health Physics 99 Suppl 2: S123-35. [PubMed Citation] Note: see list of equipment, job action cards, development of a response plan, training recommendations.

Management of Persons Contaminated With Radionuclides: Handbook (NCRP Report No. 161, Volume I), Bethesda, MD, 2008, See page 119 for list of supplies and pages 255-262 for procedures.

top of page