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How to use a decontamination unit

A typical decontamination unit (DCU) has separate access doors clearly marked “Clean” and “Dirty” which allow access to the three internal compartments.  At the start of the work period the operative should enter through the “Clean” door and change into coveralls, footwear and Personal Protective Equipment (PPE) appropriate to the hazard they may encounter, including (if necessary) Respiratory Protective Equipment (RPE).

Once dressed they should proceed through the “Shower compartment”, into the “Dirty compartment”, and then exit the trailer through the external door along the route to the work area.

Compartments wtihin a decontamination unit

Upon return, the procedure is as follows (modified according to specific hazards being addressed):

  1. Proceed to the door that accesses the “Dirty Compartment”.  Where appropriate, clean footwear at the bootwash station before entering the “Dirty Compartment”.
  2. After entering the “Dirty Compartment”, ensure that the HEPA filtration unit is operating (to clean the air) and then remove disposable outerwear PPE (if worn, RPE usually remains on and in use at this stage).   Place PPE and footwear in plastic bags and seal for re-use/cleaning/or disposal, as appropriate to your work protocols.
  3. Proceed to the shower compartment, wearing disposable underwear and RPE (if using).   If using RPE then the shower needs to be done before removing RPE. If using powered RPE, hang the battery pack from the wall hooks/rails provided.  Shower thoroughly, ensuring hair and the whole body is thoroughly soaked, washed and rinsed.
  4. Re-usable RPE should be thoroughly cleaned in the shower, or placed in plastic bags and sealed when leaving the shower.  Single-use RPE should be sealed in bags for disposal when leaving the shower.  Any towels used in the shower compartment should be sealed in bags for disposal when leaving the shower.
  5. On completion of showering proceed to the “Clean Compartment”.  Where required, clean towels should be used for drying off in the clean compartment (do not carry forward towels already used in the shower for further use in the clean compartment).  Personnel should dress in clean uncontaminated clothing and footwear.
  6. Finally, exit the DCU through the external “Clean End” door.

 

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