Organization of a hospital-based victim decontamination plan using the incident command structure

Disaster Manag Response. Oct-Dec 2007;5(4):119-23. doi: 10.1016/j.dmr.2007.09.002.


Hospitals are required to have the capability of performing patient decontamination. Incorporating the incident command structure provided by the National Incident Management System and the Hospital Incident Command System into their decontamination plans will enable hospitals to be better organized and efficient in managing events producing contaminated patients. HAZMAT Branch incident command includes the leadership positions of a HAZMAT Branch director and a Victim Decontamination Unit leader, as well as managers for each zone, logistics, triage, medical monitoring, and support roles. Coupling a well-developed decontamination command structure with staff practice in their roles will help to ensure an organized response. This article describes the specific roles and responsibilities included in an incident command system-based hospital decontamination plan than has been used successfully in a multi-hospital system.

MeSH terms

  • Decision Support Systems, Management*
  • Decontamination*
  • Disaster Planning*
  • Emergency Service, Hospital / organization & administration*
  • Health Personnel / education
  • Humans
  • Patient Care Team / organization & administration
  • Triage / organization & administration
  • United States