Emergency responders face a wide range of hazards while performing their duties, and this includes possible contamination from chemical and biological substances. It is therefore critical for emergency responder health and wellness that effective decontamination strategies be readily available. Recent research (e.g., Queensland Australia Fire Service) has shown that significant levels of contaminants accumulate in emergency responder protective clothing and can lead to long-term exposures. Conventional test methods for clothing/ensemble materials require removal of material resulting in the loss of the item. Analytical techniques are needed for non-destructive evaluation of key substances in emergency responder protective personal equipment (PPE). End user organizations need guidance for assessing contamination levels, and how to apply information to determine possible reuse and application of decontamination approaches.
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