Accidents involving release of chemical, biological, radiological or nuclear substances may prompt the need to decontaminate exposed casualties prior to further medical treatment. Health service workers who carry out decontamination procedures wear protective suits to avoid direct contact with contaminants. We developed an analytical framework based on queueing theory to inform UK Department of Health's decisions on the stock of protective suits that ambulance services and hospitals with emergency departments in England should hold. Our aim was to ensure that such allocation gave an accepted degree of resilience to locally identified hazards. Here we give an overview of our work and describe how we incorporated information in the public domain about local hazards with expert opinion about the patterns of demand for decontamination associated with different types of incident. We also give an account of how we worked with decision makers to inform national guidance on this topic.
Grieco, L., Gleed, H., Groves, S., Dyer, S., & Utley, M. (2018). Informing decisions on the purchase of equipment used by health services in response to incidents involving hazardous materials. International Journal of Disaster Risk Reduction, 28, 113–121. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.ijdrr.2018.02.036