Skip to main content

DECONTAMINATION GUIDANCE FOR CHEMICAL INCIDENTS

The Primary Response Incident Scene Management (PRISM) series was written to provide authoritative, evidence-based guidance on mass casualty disrobe and decontamination during a chemical incident. The PRISM documentation comprises three volumes:

Volume 1: Strategic Guidance (PDF 2.83MB) - Presents a review of best practices, collates available evidence and identifies areas that require further investigation. The document is relevant to senior incident responders (e.g. Chief Officers) and those responsible for emergency planning and civil contingencies, as it describes the supporting technical information which underpins the rationale for each stage of disrobe and decontamination and highlights potential challenges.

Volume 2: Tactical Guidance (PDF 1.70 MB) - The second volume provides an overview of the processes involved in mass casualty disrobe and decontamination and the rationale which underpins each process. The document does not include supporting technical information or potential challenges. Volume 2 has particular application in the training and exercising of first responders and officials involved with domestic preparedness and emergency management.

Volume 3: Operational Guidance (PDF 1.29 MB) - The salient features of mass casualty disrobe and decontamination are presented in Volume 3. The purpose of Volume 3 is to provide all Federal, State or Tribal first responders with a simple and readily accessible guide to the critical aspects of the initial incident response process.

The PRISM guidance is based on scientific evidence gathered under a program of research sponsored by the Biomedical Advanced Research Development Agency (BARDA). The program combined lab studies on the effects of water temperature, flow rate, detergents, and delayed decontamination with verification in human volunteer studies, using safe chemicals to simulate the dangerous contaminants. The guidance was developed with input from US first responders and agencies in 35 municipalities across 21 states. The aim of PRISM is to ensure that all patients exposed to potentially hazardous chemicals receive the most effective treatment possible during the initial stages of an incident. Prompt decontamination is the best way to prevent the serious health consequences of exposure to toxic chemicals.