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Assessment of personal protective equipment needs of first responders during a structural collapse event.

El-Ayouby-N; Ahlers-H; Burgman-M
Occupational and Environmental Exposures of Skin to Chemicals, Stockholm, Sweden, June 12 -15, 2005. Morgantown, WV: National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health, 2005 Jun; :1
Following the terrorist event of 9/11/2001 that resulted in the collapse of the twin towers of the World Trade Center (WTC), NIOSH has developed guidelines which are aimed at assisting first responders in the selection of personal protective equipment (PPE) based on on-site needs during a major structural collapse. These guidelines help in identifying the shortcomings that occurred in the first responders' use of PPE during the WTC events; moreover, these guidelines provide the needed guidance on the selection, use, and maintenance of PPE. NIOSH considered the following questions in the preliminary assessment of the needs of first responders in the event of a major structural collapse: 1) What groups of emergency personnel were involved in the first response at the WTC and what major tasks did each group face? 2) What specific out-of-the-ordinary problems did each group of first responders encounter at the WTC? 3) What are the PPE including respirators and Personal Protective Clothing (PPC) needs that are required to enable first responders to meet the responsibilities of responding to a major structural-collapse event? 4) What are the recommended changes that would facilitate renovation of the current Incident Command System (ICS)? Would these changes allow first responders to be more prepared to handle catastrophic events of the magnitude of the WTC? 5) What steps should be taken to increase the ability of first responders to identify the type and source of hazards including dermal hazards in the presence or absence of on-site monitoring? 6) How can the ICS establish operational zones for specific groups and make suggestions on proper PPE for each zone? 7) What are the adverse health effects that first responders face at the structural-collapse site from chemical, biological, radiological and nuclear risks? 8) How can first responders determine the proper PPC needed in each zone of the structural collapse according to the hazards that are present at the site and the specific concentration of hazards in each zone? 9) How can the on-site logistics of handling, distributing, and using PPC equipment in an emergency situation be improved? 10) What type of decontamination methods should be established on site? This assessment has led to the development of the guidelines for selection of PPE including PPC for first responders who arrive on site at a structural collapse due to a terrorist event.
Skin-tests; Skin-irritants; Skin-exposure; Skin-absorption; Exposure-assessment; Risk-analysis; Personal-protective-equipment; Personal-protection; Protective-equipment; Protective-clothing; Protective-measures; Protective-materials; Fire-fighters; Emergency-responders; Police-officers; Rescue-workers
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Occupational and Environmental Exposures of Skin to Chemicals, Stockholm, Sweden, June 12 -15, 2005