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PEP-4A - Emergency Response and Information Communication – What Can a Health Physicist Provide?

Annapolis 1   15:30 - 17:30

PEP-4A.   Emergency Response and Information Communication – What Can a Health Physicist Provide? SL Sugarman*, SummitET (Summit Exercises and Training)

Abstract: It is essential that health physicists are able to seamlessly integrate themselves into the response environment and effectively communicate their findings to a wide variety of people that may include on-scene command staff, involved victims, medical care providers, public information officers, decision makers, and others. Response and communication go hand-in-hand. In the event of a radiation incident, it is essential that the radiological situation is properly, yet rapidly, assessed so that a proper response can be planned. It is not always necessary to incorporate wholesale changes to the way things may usually be done in the absence of radioactive materials. For instance, stand-off distances, universal precautions, and response PPE that are normally used can also serve to protect personnel when responding to a radiological event. Coupled with a good event history and other data, health physicists can help to develop a strategy for safely and effectively responding to a radiological event. HP support duties can also include assessment of dose to patients/victims. In addition to performing the “normal” health physics duties, assisting with messaging and communication should be looked at as an area where health physicists can be of help. As time goes on and more information – such as specific source term and chemical/physical form of the involved material, bioassay data, plume data, and other additional data – is received, the health physicist will be called upon to interpret that data and communicate the technical information in an understandable manner to people who need it.

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