Hazardous materials and CBRN incidents: Fundamentals of pre-hospital readiness in the State of Qatar

Hassan Farhat, Padarath Gangaram, Nicholas Castle, Mohamed Chaker Khenissi, Sonia Bounouh, Naveen Pullian, Mohamed Khnissi, Imed Gargouri, Moncef Khadhraoui, James Laughton, Guillaume Alinier

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Background: Hazardous Materials and Chemical/Biological/Radiological/Nuclear (HazMat-CBRN) incidents represent a serious threat to the population and the environment. They require a pre-hospital medical response system well equipped and supported with logistics and clinicians with appropriate knowledge and skills to prevent exposure and mitigate risks. Our aim is to determine if the Hamad Medical Corporation Ambulance Service (HMCAS) fulfils the pre-hospital readiness requirements for such incidents.
Methods: This cross-sectional study was performed in HMCAS. An online survey assessed staff behaviour and knowledge in relation to HazMat-CBRN incidents. Responses were obtained on health risks and pre-hospital medical management of related threats in Qatar. Based on the results, a training module “HazMat Incident Management” was prepared with pre-/post-activity assessments. The results were explored using a multivariate linear regression and non-parametric Wilcoxon test for paired samples. Specialized Emergency Management (SEM) staff opinion about this training was assessed through an online survey. Both surveys’ validity and reliability tests were conducted. Ishikawa cause and effects diagram was built for the identification of the factors leading to a pre-hospital successful response to HazMat-CBRN incidents.
Results: HMCAS has the proper logistics and plans to manage potential HazMat-CBRN incidents. The knowledge survey demonstrated that the pre-hospital medical staff information about this topic needs reinforcement. The multivariate linear regression and non-parametric Wilcoxon test demonstrated that this was obtained thanks to the implemented training module. The course satisfaction survey showed not only a big interest in this activity but also staff recommended more related topics. Earlier-RSDAT (Recognition, Safety, Decontamination, Antidot, Transport) is a tool proposed as a response acronym to build a successful risk-based response for HazMat CBRN incidents in pre-hospital setting.
Conclusion: HMCAS fulfills the readiness requirements for safe and effective response to potential HazMat-CBRN incidents in Qatar. The RSDAT response matrix might help in mitigating pre-hospital response risks.
Original languageEnglish
Number of pages3
JournalJournal of Emergency Medicine, Trauma and Acute Care
Issue number2
Publication statusPublished - 9 Aug 2021
Externally publishedYes


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