Experts from Faculty of Health Sciences participate in unique safety research

Illustrational photo: Radka Filipčíková
tuesday 23. october 2018, 9:06 – Text: Velena Mazochová

Two certified methodologies that would describe and determine the procedure of decontamination of injured persons after chemical, biological, and radiation attack, are the aim of an unparalleled project in which the Palacký University Faculty of Health Sciences (FHS) participated with the Safety Research by the Ministry of the Interior of the Czech Republic. Its results should significantly contribute to better efficiency of interventions by the units of the Integrated Rescue System during emergencies.

One of the serious risks for citizens, apart from the proliferation of weapons of mass destruction, is chemical, biological, radiological, and nuclear terrorism (CBRN). In the Czech Republic, however, there are no certified methodologies that would describe and define the process of decontamination of the injured. A comprehensive sum of methods and procedures serving to the efficient elimination of dangerous substances is, therefore, supposed to be the main outcome of the Safety Research by the Ministry of the Interior entitled “Decontamination of the Injured Population”.

The prepared methodology should contain technical and material recommendations for the units of the Fire Rescue Service of the Czech Republic and procedures for medical staff, especially the units of the Emergency Medical Services, dealing with persons who are contaminated and injured at the same time.

“The principles of treatment and decontamination must be delineated so that the intervention of the emergency units is more effective. The decontamination principles should include the use of proper decontamination agents and means with regard to the specificity and severity of injuries,” said the coordinator of the project, Radka Filipčíková, from the Centre for Science and Research at the FHS. The methodology must have universal application for contamination by all kinds of dangerous substances, including nuclear weapons and radiological materials.

The findings of existing research from countries that have faced such a situation such as Japan, England, Spain, and Syria, have shown that the treatment of the injured must be realised as soon as possible. “The triage and exigent first aid must be commenced immediately, before the detection and analysis of agents, zoning, and decontamination,” emphasised Filipčíková.

A contamination and concurrent injury of a larger population group is, according to her, a complex problem which is relatively difficult to solve. The rescue teams are required to have highly specialised training and proper technical equipment.

The newly created procedures and possibilities will be tested for the first time in spring 2019. “The project will involve undertaking of the largest exercise in the decontamination of injured persons ever in Central Europe. Almost two hundred experts, extras, and evaluators will take part,” said Filipčíková.

The Safety Research by the ministry of Interior of the Czech Republic “The Decontamination of Injured Population” started in 2017. It is conducted by Palacký University in collaboration with the National Institute for Nuclear, Chemical and Biological Protection. The research group is made up of three dozen experts with long professional experience in chemistry, pharmacy, biology, forensic medicine, urgent medicine, and disaster medicine, as well as specialists from paramedic and hospital emergency medicine and the Fire Rescue Service.