Transport Victims During Radiation Emergencies

See also: Where to Transport Patients

Key points

How to transport victims with exposure but no contamination

  • These victims do not require radiation protection for the vehicle or its personnel.
  • Guidance about where to transport patients with exposure

How to transport victims with contamination

  • Place 2 sheets/blankets on the litter before placing the contaminated patient on the litter.
  • Remove the victim's contaminated outer clothing before loading him/her onto the litter.
  • Fold the edges of the 2 layers of sheets over the patient while maintaining access to the airway and adequate visual surveillance.
  • Place at least one layer of covering on the gurney before loading the litter onto the gurney.
  • Close all open compartments within the transport vehicle prior to the transport
  • Use disposable equipment when possible.
  • Attempt to reduce contamination inside the vehicle after the transport is completed.
  • See also: Training videos about transportation accidents involving radiation (DOE/TEPP and DOE/NNSA/OST and DHS/FEMA) Watch video
  • NCRP guidance recommendations about transporting contaminated victims2:
    • Minor contamination a vehicle's interior should not prevent or delay its use to respond to emergencies.
    • Perfect contamination control will likely not be possible during the early phase of an incident.
    • Establish and practice in advance how these procedures will be implemented.

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  1. Hrdina CM, Coleman CN, Bogucki S, Bader JL, Hayhurst RE, Forsha JD, Marcozzi D, Yeskey K, Knebel AR. The "RTR" medical response system for nuclear and radiological mass-casualty incidents: a functional TRiage-TReatment-TRansport medical response model. Prehosp Disaster Med. 2009 May-Jun;24(3):167-78. [PubMed Citation]
  2. Responding to a Radiological or Nuclear Terrorism Incident: A Guide for Decision Makers (PDF - 1.61 MB) (NCRP Report No. 165), National Council on Radiation Protection and Measurements, Bethesda, MD, January 2010.