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Radiation Emergency Procedures
A radiation emergency may include any of the following:
- An overexposure from a radiation producing machine or from radioactive materials.
- Personal contamination from radioactive materials.
- Possible inhalation or ingestion or radioactive materials.
- A spill of radioactive materials.
*** In the event of a radiation emergency during work hours (Monday-Friday, 8 a.m.–4 p.m.), please contact the Radiation Safety Department at 410-706-7055 or call Campus Police at 711 if the emergency occurs during off hours.
If there is a spill, remember the following acronym:
- Stop the spill. Take actions to prevent the further spread of radioactive contamination.
- Warn others. Report the spill to EHS. Report whether there are any contaminated and/or injured personnel. Call 711 for any medical emergencies. Treatment of life-threatening injuries is a priority over spill actions. Document all actions taken to resolve the situation.
- Isolate the spill area. Use physical barriers if possible. Verify contamination boundaries by scanning the area with the appropriate radiation detection instruments. Keep in mind that certain isotopes (i.e., H-3) cannot be detected using portable instrumentation. A liquid scintillation counter (LSC) must be used in these instances.
- Minimize your exposure. Wear the necessary PPE. Avoid contact with the skin. Make use of time, distance, and shielding.
If there is a minor spill (less than 10 microcuries of radioactive material):
- Attempt cleanup only if you have received appropriate training.
- Clean area using standard cleaning agents and dispose of all contaminated cleaning materials into a radioactive waste container.
- Repeat cleaning procedure until contamination levels go below 200 DPM.
- Monitor area, hands, and shoes for contamination with appropriate radiation detection instruments.
If there is a major spill (greater than 10 microcuries of radioactive material):
- Evacuate the area/keep hoods running/turn off any oscillating fans.
- Have all potentially contaminated personnel stay in a designated area until they have been shown to be free of contamination.
- Call the Radiation Safety Department at EHS at 410-706-7055 if the spill occurs during work hours. If the spill occurs off hours, please call Campus Police at 711.
- Follow all instructions from the RSO. Do not re-enter area until RSO gives approval.
- Have personnel knowledgeable of the incident and laboratory and remain available to provide information to emergency personnel.
Emergency Procedure Forms
- ALL laboratories are required to post the University of Maryland Radiation Emergency Procedures in each area where radioactive materials are permitted to be used or stored. University of Maryland Radiation Emergency Procedures
- Written instructions for Radiation Emergency Procedures