C&A Captivate Webinar Series - Health & Safety: Contamination Controls for Emergency Reception Areas (ERAs) in Mass-Casualty CBRN/WMD Incidents


debrarobinsonOn Wednesday, October 26, 2016, Constant & Associates officially launched its ‘C&A Captivate’ Webinar Series – a free online platform that aims to deliver the best and brightest Homeland Security and Emergency Management improvement ideas. The first webinar in the series was entitled “Contamination Controls for Emergency Reception Areas (ERAs) in Mass-Casualty CBRN/WMD Incidents”, in which guest speaker Debra Robinson, a Radiological Planning & Training Specialist with the State of Nebraska, presented a look at the establishment of Emergency Reception Area (ERAs) that provide sufficient contamination control measures when dealing with Mass-Casualty CBRN/WMD Incidents. This one hour presentation discussed ERA planning consideration, strategies, and model practices followed by a short question and answer session that provided closing reflections.

Contamination Controls for Emergency Reception Areas (ERAs) in Mass-Casualty CBRN/WMD Incidents

Key Messages from the Webinar:

Site selection, planning and evaluation considerations for Emergency Reception Areas

  • Start with a Needs Assessment. Recommend to working with local Emergency Management Agency to review community’s Threat and Hazard Identification and Risk Assessment (THIRA) that can help to identify and scope threats/hazards relevant to your area and how the impacts may vary depending on time of day or season.

Strategies and principles related to contamination controls

  • Good contamination controls (Layout, Security, Physical Barriers, Personal Protective Equipment (PPE), etc.) are essential layers of defense that must be addressed through the different planning and operational elements.
  • Site Selection that considers space, water supply, lighting, temperature, ventilation and entry/exit flow is critical to ensuring you have the capability to establish and practice good contamination controls.
  • Physical Controls such as walls, barriers, signage, and area markers are resources that help you define and control your ERA.
  • PPE specific to the threat hazard/agent and procedures for donning and doffing PPE is critical to ensuring sufficient contamination controls are in place for personnel. Universal standard precautions may not be enough.

Common contamination control errors, omissions and points of failure

  • adobestock_53650985-1_thumbSecurity Planning and Staffing for ERAs are the biggest points of failure.
  • The amount of security personnel needed will be driven by the facility (permanent or temporary structures, entry and exit points (including EMS transport), contaminated materials storage, etc.
  • MCI events are subject to follow-on investigations and investigating parties could include agencies like CDC, OSHA, NTSB, DOT, FDA, and of course the FBI if there is any indication of a terroristic angle.
  • If contamination is discovered after a patient has been admitted, continue care, secure the area, establish control lines, assess patient’s contamination status, and ensure all personnel and equipment are surveyed prior to leaving areas.

Available Resources:



If you are interested in the slides from this webinar, feel free to email Afua Kwarteng at afua@constantassociates.com.

Don’t forget to tune in to the second webinar in this new series, scheduled for 11:00 AM PST, on Wednesday, November 2, 2016, entitled “Intro to new Centers for Medicaid and Medicare Services Emergency Preparedness Requirements.” You can sign up for this webinar here.


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