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New DHS Guidance Document on Patient Decontamination Now Available for Public Comment

Apr 09, 2014

The U.S. Department of Homeland Security is happy to announce that the draft guidance “Patient Decontamination in a Mass Chemical Exposure Incident: National Planning Guidance for Communities” is now available for public comment.

The U.S. Department of Homeland Security Office of Health Affairs and the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services Office of the Assistant Secretary for Preparedness and Response are leading this effort to provide evidence-based guidance drawing on expertise in emergency response, emergency medicine, toxicology, risk communication, behavioral health, and other relevant fields from academic and non-government organizations and federal, state, and local agencies.

State and local civilian first responders and health care providers, along with emergency managers, public health practitioners, law enforcement officials, and risk communications experts are the nation’s first line of defense for any mass-scale event, and must be prepared to respond to chemical incidents. Ensuring that first responders around the nation have the tools and resources they need to respond to a potential mass contamination event is a critical element of the Administration’s strategy, and this guidance furthers the next step to enhance our national efforts.

This draft guidance provides first responders with important information on how to effectively respond to an event that involves the release of hazardous chemicals in the communities they serve and is part of the federal government’s focus on ensuring the readiness of the nation’s first responders. The document covers guiding principles, which begins with defining patient and decontamination and moves through the desired endpoints and patient decontamination as a whole of community approach.

The public comment period for the draft guidance, located here, is open until Monday, May 19, 2014.