TABLE 5

Principles of Decontamination

Principles
All decontamination should occur outside of the health care facility.
All health care professionals should wear appropriate PPE, as determined by their safety officer and occupational health specialist.
All levels of health care professionals should be trained to quickly access and use PPE, including physicians, nurses, clinical assistants, security, and environmental services.
Remove clothing from the victims as quickly as possible. Victims should disrobe themselves when possible.
Discarded clothing should be placed in a labeled plastic bag and stored for possible use by law enforcement.
Consider dry (removal of clothing, scraping, absorbent or adsorbent materials, vacuuming, pressurized air, and/or provision of replacement clothing) versus wet decontamination (addition of showers).
If showering is used, ensure the following:
 The water should have a temperature of approximately 100°F and a pressure of 60 psi.
 Water alone is used routinely. If the material is oily, a mild soap or shampoo should be added.
 Victims should shower for 5 min unless specific alternative recommendations are given.
 When possible, water effluent should be contained rather than placing it in the local wastewater stream.
 Use heat lamps, blankets, and other mechanisms to prevent hypothermia.
Cover hands, feet, and other exposed areas of the victim if there is evidence of gross contamination.
If there are multiple victims, anticipate the need to perform out-of-hospital triage.