Transport Victims of Radiation Emergencies

See also: Where to Transport Patients

Key points

How to transport victims with exposure but no contamination

  • These victims do not require radiation protection for the vehicle or its personnel.
  • Guidance about where to transport patients with exposure

How to transport victims with contamination

  • Place 2 sheets/blankets on the litter before placing the contaminated patient on the litter.
  • Remove the victim's contaminated outer clothing before loading him/her onto the litter.
  • Fold the edges of the 2 layers of sheets over the patient while maintaining access to the airway and adequate visual surveillance.
  • Place at least one layer of covering on the gurney before loading the litter onto the gurney.
  • Close all open compartments within the transport vehicle prior to the transport
  • Use disposable equipment when possible.
  • Attempt to reduce contamination inside the vehicle after the transport is completed.
  • See also: Training videos about transportation accidents involving radiation (DOE/TEPP and DOE/NNSA/OST and DHS/FEMA) Watch video
  • NCRP guidance recommendations about transporting contaminated victims2:
    • Minor contamination a vehicle's interior should not prevent or delay its use to respond to emergencies.
    • Perfect contamination control will likely not be possible during the early phase of an incident.
    • Establish and practice in advance how these procedures will be implemented.

top of page


  1. Hrdina CM, Coleman CN, Bogucki S, Bader JL, Hayhurst RE, Forsha JD, Marcozzi D, Yeskey K, Knebel AR. The "RTR" medical response system for nuclear and radiological mass-casualty incidents: a functional TRiage-TReatment-TRansport medical response model. Prehosp Disaster Med. 2009 May-Jun;24(3):167-78. [PubMed Citation]
  2. Responding to a Radiological or Nuclear Terrorism Incident: A Guide for Decision Makers (NCRP Report No. 165), National Council on Radiation Protection and Measurements, Bethesda, MD, January 2010. Purchase required.