Adult Hazardous Material Exposure (Chemicals)

7.1 Adult Hazardous Material Exposure (Chemicals)

This protocol is to be used for those patients suspected of exposure to hazardous materials via any route of exposure (e.g., inhalation, absorption). The protocols give specific considerations for each type of exposure as well as general treatment guidelines. Scene safety should be of primary concern, with special attention being paid to the need for personal protective equipment. Additional assistance may be necessary in certain cases (e.g., hazardous materials team for toxic exposure, police for scene control, including a violent and/or impaired patient - see Adult Protocol 2.5.2 or Pediatric Protocol 3.7.5).

A history of the events leading to the illness or injury should be obtained from the patient and bystanders, to include the following information:

  1. To which poison or other substances was the patient exposed?
  2. When and how much?
  3. Duration of symptoms?
  4. Is there any pertinent medical history?
  5. Accidental? Nature of accident?
  6. Duration of exposure (if applicable)?

If risk of exposure from fumes is high, call the hazardous materials team. In this instance, refer to the appropriate hazardous materials PPE protocol, as the risk of secondary contamination is very high. All patients who have been exposed to hazardous materials must be properly decontaminated prior to initiation of extensive medical treatment and transportation to the hospital.

Contact the Poison Information Center (1-800-222-1222) for consultation regarding specific therapy, and then contact the receiving emergency department for confirmation of Level 2 orders.

It is imperative that the emergency department be made aware early that a contaminated patient is being transported so that the proper preparations can be made to receive the patient.