Thread: Mass Casualty Decon
02-20-2001, 12:06 PM #1Bob BailesFirehouse.com Guest
Mass Casualty Decon
Does anyone out there have a set of standards for Mass Casualty Decontamination. When I was in the US Army we used 50 men per hour, down the Personnel side of the decon. Let me know if there are any local standards or fed requirements.
Second, does anyone have Equipment decon SOP's or Plans for such an event. I would like to find out who is doing what.
Thanks for your help, and remember "it's not if, It's When"
02-21-2001, 10:29 AM #2USAR29Firehouse.com Guest
Mass decon is an interesting concept... you say the army uses 50 men per hour as the standard...
New York City purchased some Mass Decon trailers (I believe from Super Vac) and in speaking with a chief officer of FDNY, he commented on the whole falacy of Mass Decon. Based upon the numbers their trailer can do (I think 200 per hour), he said depending on the chemical, or agent that you are trying to decon.... those people who arent right in the front of the line are going to die before they ever get to decon trailer...
Now, to put things into a fire service perspective... My department uses 45 minute SCBA, which is above the norm (30 minute)... If you are trying to decon our own people, even after they have only been in the hot zone for 15 minutes, that only leaves 15 minutes for decon (based upon a 30 minute bottle, and thats assuming a highly controlled breathing rate). Now, if you can do 50 people in an hour, that means you can only decon 12 people in 15 minutes... So, if you have a few civilians ahead of your firefighters... they are going to run out of air before they ever get to decon.
if you want MASS decon, there is only one solution as I see it... Thats a Ladder Piper with a fog nozzle using copious amounts of water.....
02-21-2001, 10:44 AM #3Bob BailesFirehouse.com Guest
That is an interesting concept, remember that the discharged water would also have to be recovered.
The ready made trailers are nice and very expensive, I was unaware that they had a 200 per hour rating, that is not bad.
Thanks for your comments. Bob
02-21-2001, 12:09 PM #4USAR29Firehouse.com Guest
I dont necessarily agree with collecting the runoff... Saving lives is our priority, and fortunately the folks with the Department of the Environment in my state see thigns the same way...
Sure, if you have the luxury of time and people to collect runoff thats great, but I'd rather save a few more lives...
Besides: The solution to polution is dilution!!! (well, not exactly, but the forum needed some humor)
Moral: Do what you can to isolate/control/minimize runoff, but life safety is the FIRST and FOREMOST priority!
02-21-2001, 03:38 PM #5ALSfirefighterFirehouse.com Guest
I also have to say I agree with USAR 29. If you are involved in a mass decon, runoff isn't your main problem at that point. Plus it all depends on the contaminent if you really have to worry, or is it something that is less of a threat with dilution in water. What I have seen and read as far as mass decon that may buy a little more time for persons that are down the line a bit, is gross decon before they get scrubbed down. At least this will get some contaminent off. The way I would set this up if the need aroused, is by placing either 2 engines on either across from each other with the deck guns on a medium fog spraying in the lane formed between the 2.
The above is my opinion only and does not reflect that of any dept./agency I work for, am a member of, or deal with.
02-21-2001, 04:47 PM #6Bob BailesFirehouse.com Guest
At least we are thinking... now consider this... the terorrist placed a small explosive inside a sarin bomb. However this is just a decoy for the substance inside the aerosol container beside the Bomb. So while treating 40 or 50 people for nerve agent poison we have washed off and let run away living anthrax spores.
Keep thinking, and stay safe.
02-22-2001, 09:15 PM #7USAR29Firehouse.com Guest
My guess is that the heat from the explosion would probably kiill the "living anthrax spores", but I don't have a bio-chem degree to confirm or dispell my theory...
03-03-2001, 01:15 PM #8HAZMAT 7Firehouse.com Guest
REMEMBER "LIFE PROPERTY ENVIROMENT"
YOU ARE ALREADY AGAINST THE CLOCK ONCE THE EVENT HAPPENS. IT WOULD BE NICE TO BE ABLE TO CONTAIN THE RUNOFF, BUT THIS SHOULDNT DELAY MASS DECON.WE (JACKSONVILLE FIRE DEPT)
HAVE A MMRS TEAM WITH A DECON TRAILER THAT STATES 1,000 PT AN HR. REALISTICLY WE LOOK AT HALF THAT. REMEMBER YOUR ISSUSES DURING MASS DECON (SEPERATING SEXES, DISROBING PTS, GATHERING PERSONAL BELONINGS, ETC...)
OPPOSING ENGINES FORMING A CORRIDOR WITH A WATER SPRAY IS A EFFECTIVE WAY TO START THE
DECON PROCESS. SINCE IT TAKES TIME TO GET HAZ MAT ON SCENE AND SETUP TECH DECON
REMEBER WE HAVE TO BE LUCKY EVERY TIME !!!!
THEY ONLY HAVE TO BE LUCKY ONCE ??????
03-05-2001, 11:33 AM #9dousaemsFirehouse.com Guest
SBCCOM has a report out that discussed Mass Casualty Decon, and even includes an algorithm for triage in such a situation. I agree with lots of water via deck guns/ladder pipes. 95% of victims will be vapor exposures in the situation you are considering. Those contaminated with liquid or solids will most likely require EMS treatment and be non-ambulatory, so they will get personal decon. Removel of clothing performs 80% (at least) of decon, except at the beach during the summer. Large showers can take care of the rest.
As for the runoff issue, techically, we should try to control it, but in a major metropolitan area, the water ends up at a treatment plant. Not being specific, but a large city in the US has EPA approval to dump chlorine/bleach down the sanitary sewer if they have excess runoff from such an incident. I wouldn't recommend this for everyone, but it works.
As for the situation you described with sarin and anthrax: 1. One would hope the sarin would mostly be vaporized, but that won't change response or treatment if detected; and 2. Anthrax WILL survive the explosion - it's a spore whose capsule has been shown to survive significant heat and shock (ask the Russians, they have an island that is still hot after 40 years).
Obviously, our main object is to protect ourselves, then limit spread, etc., etc. I think the statement regarding the solution to pollution is dilution is correct. It's just convincing several hundred people to drop their clothes and run through a shower being fed from a nice cold hydrant could be a bit difficult.
03-09-2001, 10:48 PM #10JohnnyMoFirehouse.com Guest
Here in Chicago we are just starting Terrorism Training for our members .I have yet to go down for the training. You think a Big City like this would already have something in place.
03-12-2001, 12:13 AM #11dousaemsFirehouse.com Guest
JohnnyMo, it is somewhat surprising that Chicago has just brought out that training. The Domestic Preparedness program went through there a number of years ago, but this is such a complex issue, that coming up with an effective training program and SOPs may take a bit of time. There are also multiple other training programs that have offered a lot of information, and getting everything that one area may want to include also takes a bunch of time. Good thing it is being inplemented now, before any major issues have cropped up.
04-24-2001, 11:22 PM #12FireBlues1CFirehouse.com Guest
Our Haz-Mat team has been doing alot of training with this lately. It works out well for us to take an aerial and extend the ladder straight out, hook tarps along the sides and anchor nozzles within the "tent" created. It gives us 2-3 "shower heads" to use for the different stages of decon and some shelter from the weather. So far no need for this but the drills have run very well.
Train like you fight, for you will fight like you trained.
05-16-2001, 12:20 AM #13NMFD33Firehouse.com Guest
As far as the contaminated water runoff, you dont have to collect it if its a situation like this. the whole idea is saving lives, if your more concerned about seting up drums or dyking up half a city block, the people are dead when your ready to wash them down.
HazMat Medical Officer
New Milford Vol. Fire Dept Company #2
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