Establishing and training health care facility decontamination teams

Ann Emerg Med. 2003 Sep;42(3):381-90. doi: 10.1016/s0196-0644(03)00442-6.


Recent terrorist events, changes in Joint Commission on Accreditation of Healthcare Organizations requirements, and availability of grant funding have focused health care facility attention on emergency preparedness. Health care facilities have historically been underprepared for contaminated patients presenting to their facilities. These incidents must be properly managed to reduce the health risks to the victims, providers, and facility. A properly equipped and well-trained health care facility team is a prerequisite for rapid and effective decontamination response. This article reviews Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) training requirements for personnel involved with decontamination responses, as well as issues of team selection and training. Sample OSHA operations-level training curricula tailored to the health care environment are outlined. Initial and ongoing didactic and practical training can be implemented by the health care facility to ensure effective response when contaminated patients arrive seeking emergency medical care.

Publication types

  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Decontamination*
  • Disaster Planning / organization & administration*
  • Hazardous Substances*
  • Health Facility Planning / organization & administration*
  • Humans
  • Inservice Training
  • Personnel, Hospital / education*
  • Protective Devices
  • Security Measures
  • Terrorism


  • Hazardous Substances