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Journal of Homeland Security and Emergency Management

Editor-in-Chief: Renda-Tanali, Irmak, D.Sc.

Managing Editor: McGee, Sibel, Ph.D.

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Realtime Testing of a Regional Poison Information Center's Disaster Plan

Rita Mrvos1 / Edward P Krenzelok2

1Pittsburgh Poison Center

2University of Pittsburgh, Pittsburgh Poison Center

Citation Information: Journal of Homeland Security and Emergency Management. Volume 2, Issue 1, ISSN (Online) 1547-7355, DOI: 10.2202/1547-7355.1087, March 2005

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Background: When a mass contamination occurs, the poison center’s responsibilities should be well-defined. A Regional Poison Information Center participated in a county-wide drill involving a mass contamination. Methods: Critique criteria included communication and notification processes, a RPIC’s ability to rapidly assess victim symptomatology and identify possible contaminants, utilization of the RPIC by area health care professionals and call volume surge capacity. All calls were to be documented. Results: Fifty percent (50%) of the involved health care facilities contacted the RPIC for treatment recommendations. Internal communications including notification of the RPIC director and medical director were appropriate. Reported symptoms were identified rapidly as being consistent with a nerve agent and/or a vesicant. A fact sheet was prepared by the director and, utilizing the pre-existing hospital notification program was faxed to all hospitals in the region. This drill identified a number of communications problems both within the RPIC hospital network as well as with government and public health agencies. Conclusion: The RPIC functioned efficiently during the drill process although communications were identified as a problem. Modifications were made and will be tested.


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