G. Markel, A. Krivoy, E. Rotman, O. Schein, S. Shrot, T. Brosh-Nissimov, T. Dushnitsky, A. Eisenkraft
The relative accessibility to various chemical agents, including chemical warfare agents and toxic industrial compounds, places a toxicological mass casualty event, including chemical terrorism, among the major threats to homeland security. TMCE represents a medical and logistic challenge with potential hazardous exposure of first-response teams. In addition, TMCE poses substantial psychological and economical impact. We have created a simple response algorithm that provides practical guidelines for participating forces in TMCE. Emphasis is placed on the role of first responders, highlighting the importance of early recognition of the event as a TMCE, informing the command and control centers, and application of appropriate self-protection. The medical identification of the toxidrome is of utmost importance as it may dictate radically different approaches and life-saving modalities. Our proposed emergency management of TMCE values the “Scoop & Run” approach orchestrated by an organized evacuation plan rather than on-site decontamination. Finally, continuous preparedness of health systems – exemplified by periodic CBRN (Chemical, Biological, Radio-Nuclear) medical training of both first responders and hospital staff, mandatory placement of antidotal auto-injectors in all ambulances and CBRN emergency kits in the emergency departments – would considerably improve the emergency medical response to TMCE.
TMCE = toxicological mass casualty event
CBRN = chemical, biological, radio-nuclear