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Radiation Safety Training Module
Refresher Training
ISU Technical Safety Office
Campus Box 8106
Pocatello, ID 83209
(208) 282-2311
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Radiation Emergency

Any accident, injury or loss of control of a radiation source or radiation producing device that could cause an excessive or uncontrolled radiation exposure to any individual is referred to as a radiation emergency. Each user of radiation sources should be familiar with the basic emergency responses listed below and methods for applying them in his or her own work area.

In case of a spill of radioactive material, you must respond in a timely manner to minimize your exposure and take appropriate actions. Employees are expected to clean up, survey and document their own spills if it is in their capability. The TSO offers assistance in spill clean-up if so requested. If you enter a lab with a spill and do not know what the material is or feel uncomfortable with decontamination procedures, you should contact the TSO for assistance.

There are no radioactive sources at the University that produce radiation exposure risks large enough to prevent giving first aid!

1.      Protect People

  1. Assist injured people and prevent any further injury. If you are qualified to render first aid, do so without regard to the presence of radioactivity. 
  2. If the situation involves a radiation-producing machine, turn off the machine (if it is in your capability).
  3. Except for the usual precautions for moving an injured person, individuals should immediately leave the room or area until the extent of the radiological hazard has been evaluated.  However, all individuals should remain available in the vicinity until they are checked for contamination and their exposure has been assessed. 
 

2.  Get Help

Each individual using radiation sources should know in advance who to call in case of a radiation emergency.

If fire injury or other emergency conditions are involved, first call the appropriate numbers listed on the 1st page of the Campus Directory. 

  1. Dial 911 immediately for medical assistance and report the nature of the illness or injury.  Inform the 911 dispatcher that the injured individual may be contaminated with radioactive material. 
  2. Notify the Technical Safety Office at extensions 2310 or 2311 during normal working hours OR notify Public Safety, at 282-2515 during off duty hours.  Public Safety will notify the TSO. When reporting any emergency, be sure to state the exact nature of the emergency; then give your name and the phone number from which you are calling, the exact location of the emergency (building, room, nearest entrance, etc.) and the name of the Responsible User, if known.  Do not hang up!  Let the dispatcher end the conversation after all pertinent information is clearly understood.

3.  Contain the Hazard 

Any of the following actions appropriate to the situation should be performed provided they can be carried out safely:

  1. Turn off radiation producing machines.
  2. Cover containers of radioactive materials.
  3. Place absorbent material on spilled liquids.
  4. Close the sash on fume hoods, but do not turn off hood exhaust fans.
  5. Close doors to the area and post signs or guards to prevent unauthorized entry. 
  6. Allow no one to leave the area without being checked for contamination.

4.  Follow-up Action

Any necessary decontamination of the facility or equipment after a radiation emergency shall be performed only under the direction of the Radiation Safety Officer (RSO) or his designee.  Re-entry or re-occupancy must be authorized by the RSO.  The RSO shall evaluate, record and report, as necessary, any radiation exposures to personnel, loss of radioactive material, or damage to radiation facilities resulting from the emergency.  If required by the RSO, individuals involved in a radiation emergency shall submit specimens for bioassay, surrender personal clothing or other articles for decontamination or assay, and provide pertinent information.
 

  Key Words: protect people, get help, contain the hazard, follow-up action
 
Page: 3 of:12
  Quiz:  Scenario:  You find an injured student in a laboratory with radioactive material.  What is your first priority?
 
a) panic! b) assist the injured student and get help c) bioassay d) perform a radiation survey of the area
 
 
   

This web based training was developed for use within Idaho State University.  It is intended for use by, and applies to ISU employees, staff, visitors, and students. If this web site or any part of it is used elsewhere, neither its authors nor the University accept responsibility for its contents.  This information may NOT be used for commercial development or profit.