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Chemical, biological, radiological and nuclear preparedness training for emergency medical services providers

Published online by Cambridge University Press:  21 May 2015

Daniel Kollek
Affiliation:
Division of Emergency Medicine, McMaster University, Hamilton, Ont.
Michelle Welsford
Affiliation:
Division of Emergency Medicine, McMaster University, Hamilton, Ont., Regional Paramedic Base Hospital Program, Hamilton Health Sciences, Hamilton, Ont.
Karen Wanger
Affiliation:
Division of Emergency Medicine, University of British Columbia, and British Columbia Ambulance Service, Vancouver, BC
Corresponding
E-mail address:

Abstract

Objective:

We assessed the self-reported theoretical and practical preparedness training of Canadian emergency medical services (EMS) providers in chemical, biological, radiological and nuclear (CBRN) events.

Methods:

We designed an online survey to address the theoretical and practical CBRN training level of prehospital providers. Emergency medical services staff in British Columbia and Ontario were invited to participate.

Results:

Of the 1028 respondents, 75% were male, and the largest demographic groups were front-line personnel with more than 15 years of experience. Only 63% of respondents indicated they had received either theoretical or practical training to work in a contaminated environment, leaving 37% who indicated they had received neither type of training. Of those that had received any training, 61% indicated they had received “hands-on” or practical training and 82% indicated they had received some training in identification of a possibly contaminated scene. Only 42% had received training for symptoms of nerve agents, 37% had received training for symptoms of blister agents and 46% had received training for symptoms of asphyxiants. Thirty-two percent had received training for the treatment of patients exposed to nerve agents, and 30% had received training for the treatment of patients exposed to blister agents. Only 31% of all respondents had received training for detecting radiation.

Conclusion:

CBRN events involve unique hazards and require specific education and training for EMS providers. A large proportion of Canadian EMS providers report not having received the training to identify and work in contaminated environments.

Type
Original Research • Recherche originale
Copyright
Copyright © Canadian Association of Emergency Physicians 2009

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