Engineers at ECBC develop new decontamination guidance

The U.S. Army Edgewood Chemical Biological Center presented a revised guidance on Wednesday that was formed by working with industry and medical professionals.

ECBC, along with its collaborators, issued the ECBC special report that gives new guidance on mass casualty decontamination for hazardous material incidents. The new guidance took into consideration input from community responders from the army, DoD and chemical-biological experts.

"While there is no perfect solution to mass casualty decontamination and there is no single process or method that can account for all variables such as hazard, time, number of victims, environmental conditions, resource availability, etc., the information presented in Volume I and II of the revised report provides a means to help identify a simple, consistent mass casualty decontamination process that can be applied with reasonable effectiveness to any HazMat/WMD incident," Bill Lake, ECBC's engineering support division chief, said.

Lake, along with other colleagues, used new empirical data and technical information to revise the guidelines of the Mass Casualty Decontamination during a HazMat/WWD Incident.

Volume I, a quick reference book, saw some revisions to its concise descriptions of procedures and checklists. Volume II saw revisions to include an in-depth discussion of HazMat/WMD mass casualty decontamination. Both volumes now have high resolution graphics for emergency reference.

"Life safety, especially in the event of a mass casualty situation like the recent Boston Marathon bombing incident, is always the highest priority," Lake said. "Mass casualty decontamination requires timely response, gaining rapid control of victims, and applying proven, life-saving decontamination techniques in an efficient and timely manner. The guidelines presented in the revised ECBC Special Report provide first responders with consistent means to countermeasure the after effects of mass casualty incidents."