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Emergency department personal protective equipment requirements following out-of-hospital chemical biological or radiological events in Australasia


  • Guy W Sansom, MB BS, FACEM, AdvDipMM, Area Medical Coordinator.

Dr Guy W Sansom, Emergency Department, St Vincent’s Hospital, PO Box 2900, Fitzroy, Vic. 3065, Australia. Email:


Recent events have led to a revision in ED equipment, preparedness and training for disasters. However, clinicians must still decide when, and what level of personal protection is required when a toxic threat exists. If possible, clear, simple and achievable protocols are required in such situations. Following an off-site Australasian chemical biological or radiological incident, current evidence indicates that the initial receiving ED staff will be adequately protected from all known chemical biological and radiological inhalational threats by wearing a properly fitted P2 (N95) mask, or its equivalent. Protection from serious contact injury is offered by wearing double gloves, disposable fluid-repellent coveralls or gown, eye protection, surgical mask, and ideally, a cap and shoe covers; in conjunction with universal precautions and procedures.