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Jimmy Chan|Contingency Management of Chemical Incidents

Date:2017-07-29Author:
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Jimmy Chan

Doctor

President

Hong Kong Association for Conflict and Catastrophe Medicine


Chief of Service, Emergency Department, Alice Ho Miu Ling Nethersole Hospital

Cluster Coordinator (Accident & Emergency), NTE Cluster, Hong Kong Hospital Authority

Honorary Clinical Associate Professor, Department of A&E Medicine Academic Unit, The Chinese University of Hong Kong

Honorary Medical Advisor, Hong Kong Police College

POTEM Instructor, Nanjing Forest Police College

POTEM Instructor, Guangxi Nanning Police Training School

Standing Council Member, Disaster Rescue Branch, China Association for Disaster & Emergency Medicine

Regional Director (HK), Advanced HazMat Life Support, University of Arizona, USA (AHLS)

Course Director, Advanced Disaster Medical Response, International Trauma and Disaster Institute, USA (ADMR)

Course Director, Police Oriented Tactical Emergency Medicine, Hong Kong Police College(POTEM)

Course Director, Hong Kong HazMat Medical Response(HMR)


Topic of Lecture:  Contingency Management of Chemical Incidents


Abstract: Hazmat (hazardous materials) incident is defined as an accident which involves contamination of victim(s) by toxic chemical, biological, radiological or nuclear agents. The risk of mass exposure to toxic substances has increased steadily during the twentieth century due to the expansion of industry and the result of deliberate development and use of chemical warfare agents. The world’s worst chemical industrial disaster, which occurred in Bhopal of India on 3rd December 1984 had resulted in 150,000 victims and 2500 death. In modern world, HazMat incidents are not uncommon such as the rescue of hostage in Moscow Opera House and the chemical incidents in developing countries.


Since 2000 Hong Kong Hospital Authority had formulated the contingency plan for chemical incidents. According to the international experience, many contaminated victims would escape cordoning and arrive at hospital by their own transport. Therefore, in order to avoid secondary contamination to medical facilities, hospitals should prepare contingency plan to receive the contaminated self-arriving victims. In Hong Kong, all accident and emergency departments would prepare 12 sets of level C personal protective equipment (PPE) and a decontamination facility. Since 2000, The Hong Kong Association for Conflict and Catastrophe Medicine had collaborated with University of Arizona in United States to run Advanced HazMat Life Support Course (AHLS). Up to now we had trained up more than 500 AHLS providers and 50 instructors for international qualifications.


In order to effectively manage chemical, biological, radiological and nuclear (CBRN) incidents, close collaborations with different stakeholders are required. Different departments will assume different roles and responsibilities. The incident site will be divided into hot, warm and cold zones. In hot zone, the fire services and police departments will be responsible for rescue and evidence collection. In warm zone, the fire services department will be responsible for mass decontamination. In cold zone, the victims will be stabilized by medical teams from Hospital Authority. All victims will be decontaminated in the scene before sending to different hospital for treatment. Nevertheless, accident and emergency departments are also capable to handle self-arrival contaminated victims. In the preparation of 2008 Olympic Equestrian Event and 2009 East Asian Games, Hong Kong has organized many large scale inter-departmental drills for CBRN incidents so as to ensure staff from different departments are familiar with the response to chemical incidents.