Preparedness Of Emergency Departments managing chemical incidents
Country of origin: UK
A face-to-face semi-structured interview was carried out with the Nurse Manager or a nominated deputy in all 18 Emergency Departments in the region.
16/18 departments had a written chemical incident plan but only 7 had the plan available at interview. All had a designated decontamination area but only 11 felt that they were adequately equipped. 12/18 had a current training programme for chemical incident management and 3 had no staff trained in decontamination. 13/18 could contain contaminated water from casualty decontamination and 6 could provide shelter for casualties before decontamination.
The researchers identified major inconsistencies in the preparedness of North West Emergency Departments for managing chemical incidents. Nationally recognised standards on incident planning, facilities, equipment and procedures need to be agreed and implemented with adequate resources. Issues of environmental safety and patient dignity and comfort should also be addressed.
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