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Radiation Safety Training Module
Radiographic Sciences and Analytical X-ray Machines
Study Guide
ISU Technical Safety Office, Campus Box 8106
Pocatello, ID 83209
(208) 282-2311/2310

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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.

Workers are not permitted to enter rooms with X-ray machines and accelerators while the beam is on. Inadvertent entry into X-ray machine rooms or accelerator rooms is prevented by engineering and administrative controls. All the safety systems must meet fail-safe characteristics. This is a design feature that causes beam shutters to close, or otherwise prevents emergence of the primary beam, upon failure of a safety or warning device. 

1.      Protect People

The first consideration is to assist injured persons and to prevent any further injury. If the situation involves a radiation-producing machine, the machine should be turned off (if it is in your capability). 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. If you are qualified to render first aid, do so without regard to the presence of radioactivity. 

2.      Get Help

Each individual using radiation sources or radiation producing devices should know in advance whom 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.

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 (generally not the case for X-ray machines and accelerators). 

Next 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 person you called 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.   Close doors to the area and post signs or guards to prevent unauthorized entry. 

  3.      Allow no one to leave the area before someone from TSO has cleared them.

4.  Follow-up Action

Any necessary repairs required after a radiation emergency shall be performed only under the direction of the Radiation Safety Officer (RSO) or his designee. Reentry or re‑occupancy must be authorized by the RSO.  The RSO shall evaluate, record and report, as necessary, any radiation exposures to personnel 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.

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