Hospital evacuations due to hazardous materials incidents

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43 Scopus citations


In a previous study 12 Washington State hospitals reported evacuations due to hazardous materials incidents. A telephone survey was conducted to further describe these incidents. Ten hospitals responded to the survey, including one institution reporting two incidents. The incidents included threatened explosions or releases in three cases and actual chemical exposures in eight cases. The actual exposures included irritant gases from mixtures of cleaners in two cases, an unknown exposure in one case, and a variety of other chemicals or products in the remaining cases. Seven of the 11 incidents resulted in emergency department (ED) evacuation. Two incidents involved secondary contamination of ED staff from treatment of patients with chemical exposures who were not decontaminated prior to arrival. Fire department personnel assisted in the majority of incidents. Review of these cases provides useful information for planning drills to test emergency preparedness as required under Joint Commission on Accreditation of Healthcare Organizations standards.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)50-52
Number of pages3
JournalAmerican Journal of Emergency Medicine
Issue number1
StatePublished - 1999


  • Evacuation
  • Hazardous materials
  • Hospital

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Emergency Medicine


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