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Principles of public health emergency response for acute environmental, chemical, and radiation incidents 

Principles of public health emergency response for acute environmental, chemical, and radiation incidents
Chapter:
Principles of public health emergency response for acute environmental, chemical, and radiation incidents
Author(s):

Naima Bradley

, Jill Meara

, and Virginia Murray

DOI:
10.1093/med/9780199661756.003.0246
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date: 23 September 2019

Chemical incidents with the potential to cause public health effects, including deaths, occur very frequently, much more often than ionizing radiation incidents, though they share many of the same characteristics. There are approximately 1000 incidents reported in England and Wales every year. Such incidents have the potential to kill thousands of people both acutely and in the aftermath. In emergency situations, people work most effectively when they use tried and tested methods with people they are used to working with. Therefore, the principles of the response to chemical, radiation, and other environmental incidents should be the same. This chapter makes use of case studies of significant environmental, chemical, and radiological incidents to illustrate the stages of the emergency response and to compare and contrast the different types of incident. Before any response can be mounted, the event has to be detected and identified as requiring special action. Detection requires clinical awareness, timely surveillance, and intelligence.

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