In serious emergency situations such as the aircraft crash, the medical staff can also be in danger. The risk for the medical and paramedical staff has two sources: (a) factors related to the cause of the accident; and (b) dangers occurring during rescue operations. It is necessary that the emergency staff look to their own security, and avoid exposing themselves to the risks associated with the panicking movements of frightened people (herd effect). The first aid station should be established in a position down-wind, to avoid the toxic smoke from fire. An essential condition is that the medical emergency staff is composed of people physically and psychologically suitable to the sudden effort and the acute stress.
To reduce the risks associated with rescue operations training is essential, conducted under the supervision of experts from the Fire Brigade. A minimum program of training must be arranged between the physician in charge and the airport authorities, so as to reconcile the activities of the two parties and achieve co-ordination. The medical and paramedical staff must be trained to operate with a gas-mask or oxygen auto-respirator, necessary to prevent intoxication with compounds such as tri-o-cresyl phosphate, fire extinguisher compounds such as dibromodil-fluoromethane and bromocloromethane. Metabolites of air contaminants found in airport disasters are not well known. We summarize in the table some toxicologic data of interest.