versed in emergency first-aid care than those used for
monitoring and for rescue teams, but they need not be
trained in radiation monitoring.
SORTING.After emergency lifesaving
procedures have been attended to, casualties from the
clean emergency treatment station should be taken
directly to the sorting station, and those from the
contaminated treatment station should be taken to the
Casualties not requiring
immediate emergency treatment should be taken or
sent from the monitoring station directly to the sorting
station or to the decontamination station, whichever is
appropriate. The decontamination station should be
set up to take, hold, and dispose of all contaminated
clothing and to supply clean replacement clothing after
the casualty has been decontaminated. Monitoring
equipment will also be required, as will showering and
washing facilities, and some capability for surgical
(e.g., wound) decontamination when necessary.
Early removal of radioactive contamination will
reduce radiation burns, radiation dosage, and the
chances of inhaling or ingesting radioactive material.
There are two rules to be remembered in the removal of
Contamination is easily spread, so spot
cleaning must be attended to before general
decontamination procedures are started.
Removal of radioactive contamination is best
accomplished with soap and water.
SPOT CLEANING.Cotton swabs or gauze
may be used to decontaminate moist areas. Use
gummed tapes to decontaminate dry areas. If, after the
first cleansing, decontamination is inadequate, the
process should be repeated three to five times. If
contamination persists, a preparation consisting of a
mixture of 50 percent detergent and 50 percent
cornmeal, with enough water added to make a paste,
should be tried. The contaminated area should be
scrubbed (preferably with a soft-bristle surgical brush)
for 5 minutes, then rinsed.
GENERAL CLEANING.After the hot spots
have been removed, the second step is to shower with
soap and water. Scrub the entire body, including the
hair and nails. After the shower, monitor again; if any
contamination remains, repeat spot cleaning and
If the hair is contaminated,
shampoo it several times. If it becomes apparent that
shampooing has not removed the radioactive material,
cut the hair as close to the scalp as necessary to remove
the radioactive material.
If areas become tender from excessive washing, it
may be necessary to restore some of the skin oils by
gently rubbing in a small amount of lanolin or ordinary
hand or face cream. This will soothe the skin and
prepare it for further decontamination if additional
steps are necessary.
Decontamination should be
continued until the radioactivity has been reduced to
the safe level set by the responsible Medical
Department representative. Wounds or body parts that
resist decontamination may have to be covered and the
patient referred to a higher-level medical treatment
UNCONTAMINATED AREAS.Protect any
uncontaminated cut, scratch, or wound with an
impermeable tape or other suitable material while
decontaminating the rest of the body. If a wound is
already contaminated, the simplest and least drastic
decontamination method available should be tried
first, always by trained medical personnel. First, the
wound should be carefully bathed or flushed with
sterile water, and a reasonable amount of bleeding
should be encouraged. Following decontamination,
standard triage procedures are used.
Additional information pertaining to the initial
m a n a g e m e n t o f i r r a d i a t e d o r r a d i o a c t i v e l y
contaminated individuals may be obtained from the
current version of BUMEDINST 6470.10, Initial
M a n a g e m e n t o f I r r a d i a t e d o r R a d i o a c t i v e l y
Contaminated Material and Supplies
Radiological material may be removed but not
destroyed. Water then becomes a special problem.
Distillation frees water of radioactive material,
providing emergency drinking water. Water coming
from an underground source usually is free from
radioactive materials and is therefore usable; however,
water coming from a reservoir that has to depend upon
a surface watershed for its source may not be usable.
Fortunately, regular water-treatment processes that
include coagulation, sedimentation, and filtration will
remove most fallout material, and if the reservoir water
can be properly treated, it will be usable again. But for
safetys sake, never drink untested water.
SUPPLIES AND FOOD.Supplies and food
can be protected from residual radiation by storage in
dust-proof containers. Although the outside of the