EDEM Massive Decontamination Station for Personnel decontamination provides a rapid deployment capability in CBRNe incident scenarios for decontamination of large number of contaminated people (up to 96 people / hour).
CBRN operational protocols determine that Mass Decon Stations must have 3 fundamental operational feature:
- Rapid deployment: time is a critical element in people decontamination procedures. The Effect Times (Maximum time to decontaminate a person before the effects of the contaminating agent are irremediable) of the different agents (up to one hour in the case of chemical agents and up to one hour and a half in the case of toxins from biological agents) require Emergency Teams to carry out a quick and effective decontamination that minimizes the effects on casualties.
- Large Capacity: in the event of CBRNe incidents in scenarios with a large population presence, the massive decontamination stations must provide decontamination capabilities of up to 100 people per hour
- Versatility: variance of contaminating agents (biological, radiological or chemical), the multiple scenarios (urban environments, open field, critical infrastructures, interior of buildings, etc.) and the diversity of people affected (injured, disabled or valid), makes It is necessary that massive decontamination stations must be modular and configurable to be able to adapt to the combination of these 3 variables (type of agent, scenarios and affected).
Massive Decon Station configuration
Mass Decon Station is structured in 5 areas, which correspond to the different phases that the decontamination protocols determine to develop an effective decontamination of people, while efficient in the case of CBRNe incidents that affect people with casualties.
These 5 phases also seek to ensure one of the principles of Decontamination of People: the decontamination must achieve two objectives: decontaminate the affected person and prevent the process of decontamination to contaminate other people (known as Cross Contamination).
Phase 1. Control Area
Casualties filiation is carried out and a control (with detectors) to determine the type of contamination.
Phase 2. Undressing Area
Area enabled for the undressing of the people affected. The modularity of the station should allow the enabling of lines for men and women with adequate privacy.
Phase 3. Decontamination
Decontamination Area is composed of 2, 3 or 4 Decontamination Lines. In each of these lines, the two decontamination phases determined by the NBQ (Decontamination and Clarification) protocols are carried out.
The configuration and number of decontamination lines enabled is flexible and adaptable to the people affected: injured and disabled people (who require assistance to carry out decontamination) and valid people (who can decontaminate themselves in the decontamination showers).
Phase 4. Exit Control area
Detection process carried out in Phase 2 is repeated to confirm that the person is completely decontaminated.
In case the result of the control is positive (the person still has contamination of the agent), the contaminated person must return to area 2 and repeat the decontamination process. To this end, a corridor must be enabled to facilitate the return of this person without affecting the decontamination that is currently taking place in Zone 3 of Decontamination.
If the result of the control is negative (the person does not present any contamination), go to the dressing area.
Phase 5. Dressing area
Confirmed in phase 4 that the person is decontaminated, clothing is provided in this area.
Massive Decontamination Station has a key role to support Medical Treatment Facilities (MTF) deployed in CBRN environment as well as to Hospitals that should receive casualties from these incidents with chemical agents (TICs or CWAs), radiological or biological.
NATO through its STANAG 2228 AJP- 4.10 Allied Joint Doctrine for Medical Support determines which should be CBRN capabilities for Hospitals and MTFs to manage in an efficient way the treatment of casualties from CBRN incidents.
In this document, 5 fundamental principles for medical operations in CBRN environments are highlighted:
- CBRN incidents will likely produce a large number of casualties
- The types of casualties from a CBRN incident are not those normally managed in a standard medical support system
- CBRN casualties may be contaminated or contagious and may constitute a significant hazard to the medical personnel and facilities charged with caring for them
- MTFs may have to operate in areas that are contaminated, or with restrictions that limit movement of personnel and material into, and out of, the MTF.
- Medical support will be required to continue for conventional casualties as well as for CBRN casualties
Considering these premises and challenge that CBRN incidents management implies from the casualties medical treatment perspective, STANAG 2228 AJP- 4.10 Allied Joint Doctrine for Medical Support, is focused on Decontamination of CBRN casualties as a key process in the management of the operation, highlighting 4 keys:
- Patient decontamination reduces the threat of contamination-related injury to medical support and patients.
- Decontamination will have to be accomplished as the operation and patient load allows.
- Decontamination should be decentralized to avoid creating a backlog of casualties awaiting clean-up at a central location.
- Each MTF should be able to establish its own decontamination area.