Decontamination area

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Decoration container of the St. Pölten volunteer fire brigade (Lower Austria)

A decontamination space (also decon place (Germany) or decorative place called (Austria)) is used for decontamination of persons , vehicles or devices.

These are

been contaminated .

Schematic structure and scope

Roll-off container decontamination civilians of the Hanover fire department set up
Exercise-based construction of a decontamination area
Decontamination during a dangerous goods accident exercise

Depending on the type and size of the accident, the decontamination areas must be equipped differently, and appropriate decontamination vehicles are used. Due to the tactics used and the underlying black-and-white principle , a distinction is always made between a black area (impure) and a white area (pure / decontaminated). Both areas must always be clearly marked. As an alternative (to the black and white area), the decon area can also be divided into three zones (red, yellow, green). The red zone is considered the dirty area, the yellow zone is where the actual decontamination takes place and the green zone is where registration and follow-up care are carried out. The red and yellow zones are equivalent to the black area, while the green zone corresponds to the white area. Both models for the classification are used nationwide.

The type of cleaning depends on the type of accident. Many substances can water be rinsed, others react with water and the attempt to clean them with water would do more harm than good in certain circumstances. There is also the option of dry cleaning only with brushes or vacuum cleaners.

Decontamination process

All decontamination measures must be documented , the success of the decontamination must be documented by means of control measurements. However, these can only be carried out safely with the available measuring devices in the event of radioactive contamination . In the case of biological or chemical contamination, such a “success check” can generally only be carried out with laboratory equipment.

Undressing a contaminated person is of particular importance; in the case of radiological or nuclear contamination, this alone can remove up to 80% of the contamination.

The contaminated clothing must be collected and disposed of. Those responsible must ensure that no impurities are carried over and that the contaminated persons do not come into (further) skin contact with impurities. Rescue workers in chemical protective suits are difficult to undress because, depending on the type of suit, they sometimes wear breathing apparatus in their suits.

Simple water purification is also using the equipment of tank fire engines the fire service feasible. With a waterproof tarpaulin that is placed over wooden posts, filled hoses or upright ladder sections , contaminated water can be collected for later disposal.

Establishment and organization

The construction and operation of a decontamination area are labor-intensive. This is especially evident when warm water and detergent are required. Furthermore, when setting up a decon site, the weather conditions , the wind direction and the nature of the soil should be taken into account. For example, a heated tent is necessary at low temperatures.

There are container systems in which necessary facilities such as showers are installed. In other systems, the necessary devices are packed in a container, but the actual decontamination is carried out outside the container. This has the advantage of the flexibility of the installation site and opens up the possibility of being able to use existing facilities in permanent buildings; on the other hand, a greater construction effort is necessary.

In organizational terms, in the event of an accident involving dangerous goods, the necessary units are usually alerted at the same time as the pollutant units, so that the decon site is already set up when the first emergency services arrive from the danger area.

Web links

Individual evidence

  1. Personnel decontamination station NRW, page 7 (PDF; 744 kB)
  2. Fire brigade regulation 500 (PDF) Units in NBC operation, 2012