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Decontamination team

Most fire and rescue services will mobilise a decontamination unit and team if it is likely that the resources required are greater than those available from the initial decontamination structure. Alternatively the incident commander should immediately arrange for decontamination resources if it is anticipated that they may be needed. The team should be supported by a hazardous materials adviser or scientific adviser with regard to technical advice and information.

Depending on the decontamination method(s), the decontamination team will consist of:

  • A decontamination officer (or sector commander), who is responsible for:
    • Taking charge of decontamination procedures
    • Supervising the decontamination area
    • Instructing operatives
    • Safeguarding contaminated staff
    • Taking direction from the incident commander (who will be advised by the hazardous materials adviser) on the decontamination method(s)
    • Wearing structural firefighting PPE and remaining outside the decontamination area
  • A decontamination assistant, who should:
    • Wear BA and chemical resistant gloves  (this may need to be varied through  risk assessment)
    • Act on the directions of the decontamination officer
    • Work between the clean and dirty areas (cold and warms zones)
    • Assist the wearers with safe transition to the clean area
  • Decontamination operatives, who should:
    • Wear RPE and chemical resistant gloves (this may need to be varied through risk assessment)
    • Remain within the dirty area (warm zone)
    • Act on the direction of the decontamination officer
    • Decontaminate the wearers’ CPC sufficiently, assist safe undressing and transition to the clean area