How to Perform a Survey for Radiation Contamination
Source of graphic: Radiation Emergency Assistance Center/Training Site (REAC/TS)
Instructions: Start at the head, continue systematically over the whole body, including the feet and soles. Repeat on other side of the body. Full survey can take many minutes.
- Brief instructions
- Inspect the equipment.
- Perform battery check.
- Conduct a source/operational check.
- Conduct a background reading.
- Conduct the survey
- See more detailed instructions:
- To increase throughput speed of patients in a large mass casualty incident
- Decontamination can be conducted without radiological monitoring if ther s a lack of monitoring equipment.
- It may be necessary to perform only a "quick look" survey (head, face, shoulders, elbows, hands, thighs in areas where the hands would touch) as the most likely locations for contamination.
- The decision to use a "quick look" survey instead of the more time consuming full survey should be made by senior incident leaders in collaboration with specialists in radiation protection.
- It may be helpful to change probe speed, height of probe from the skin, and path width for various survey meters to increase throughput.
- If evacuees are being evaluated, consider dividing the population into 2 groups (FEMA REP-22 Background Information - page 33) (PDF - 643 KB).
- Group 1: those who have not bathed, changed clothes or been decontaminated since evacuating. This group could be surveyed using the faster detection parameters derived for loose-plus fixed contamination.
- Group 2: those who have bathed, changed clothes or been decontaminated. Group 2 could be monitored using detection parameters for fixed contamination
- This page reviews only techniques for detecting external contamination.
- Approach to Optimizing Decision Making for Late-Phase Recovery from Nuclear or Radiological Terrorism Incidents, SC 5-1 (NCRP draft in progress), Bethesda, MD.
- Population Monitoring and Radionuclide Decorporation Following a Radiological or Nuclear Incident, (NCRP Report No. 166), Bethesda, MD, 2011.
- Responding to a Radiological or Nuclear Terrorism Incident: A Guide for Decision Makers (NCRP Report No. 165), Bethesda, MD, 2010.
- Management of Persons Contaminated with Radionuclides: Scientific and Technical Bases (NCRP Report No. 161, Vol. II), Bethesda, MD, 2010. Chapter 5: Performing Surveys and Controlling Personnel and Area Contamination.
- Management of Persons Contaminated With Radionuclides: Handbook (NCRP Report No. 161, Vol. I), Bethesda, MD, 2008.
- Key elements of preparing emergency responders for nuclear and radiological terrorism (NCRP Commentary No. 19), Bethesda, MD, December 2005. Purchase required; see Free overview (PDF - 219 KB)
- The 1992 EPA Protective Actions Guide Manual and its Supplement
- The PAG manual is undergoing revision. Until the final version is available, the following document is appropriate for interim use.
- Criteria for use in preparedness and response for a nuclear or radiological emergency, General Safety Guide, No. GSG-2, (PDF - 1.45 MB) (FAO, IAEA, ILO, PAHO, WHO, March 2011)
- Manual for First Responders to a Radiological Emergency (PDF - 2.2 MB) (CTIF, IAEA, PAHO, WHO, October 2006)
- Generic Procedures for Medical Response During a Nuclear or Radiological Emergency (PDF - 2,224 KB) (IAEA, WHO, July 2005)