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  1. Thetford plastics fire, October 1991 : the role of a preventive medical team in chemical incidents.

    Article - En anglais

    Objectives-To review the role of a medical team in the emergency management of a major polyvinyl chloride (PVC) fire in an urban area.

    Methods-The district health authority's consultant in communicable disease control (CCDC) was requested to advise on the health impacts of a fire that consumed some 1000 tonnes of plastic, mainly PVC, over 72 hours and which emitted a large smoke plume that threatened the health of local residents and emergency workers alike, constituting one of the largest incidents the local emergency services had dealt with in recent years.

    A medical team was formed comprising the CCDC, a regional epidemiologist, an occupational physician, and a medical toxicologist.

    This paper is an account of this team's experience of advising on the medical management of the emergency without having any formally established role or previous training for the task.


    The main issues requiring the input of the medical team included :

    • the possible products of combustion and their effects on health ;

    • the clinical management of those exposed ;

    • the alerting of local hospitals to the type of casualties to expect ;

    • the special health risks posed to emergency workers, especially the fire-men ;

    • the need for evacuation of local residents ;

    • etc.

    Conclusion-The incident showed the need for preventive medical teams trained to fill a formal advisory and investigative role for chemical releases and fires, and which can play an integral part in emergency ma.

    Mots-clés Pascal : Incendie, Vinylique chlorure polymère, Produit combustion, Accident, Sinistre, Urgence, Personnel sanitaire, Equipe soignante, Prévention, Stratégie, Composé chimique, Toxicité, Conduite à tenir

    Mots-clés Pascal anglais : Fire, Polyvinyl chloride, Combustion product, Accident, Disaster, Emergency, Health staff, Hospital staff, Prevention, Strategy, Chemical compound, Toxicity

    Logo du centre Notice produite par :
    Inist-CNRS - Institut de l'Information Scientifique et Technique

    Cote : 95-0540118

    Code Inist : 002B30A03A. Création : 01/03/1996.