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RE: "Perception is reality"
I would like to make some comments about your example:
a) It is a good example to use in a training course, not only because the
theme on risk perception but also non compliance requirement for the safe
transport of radioactive material;
b) Necessity of training First Responders
About the first topic, no transport of radioactive material, especially in
large quantity, can be made without a person traveling in company with the
driver, to help him in case of any necessity. So my question is: Was the
driver alone in the truck? If so it was an error, if not the assistant could
provide information to First Responders.
About the second topic, the principles for the protection of the public and
workers in the event of any nuclear or radiological accident and this
consider your case, include the necessity of training to first responders,
and should taken into account special training to those who must act to save
life, to prevent serious injuries or to prevent a substantial increase in
the scale of the accident. For such situations it is neither possible nor
appropriate to specify maximum levels of dose. It is only recommended that
substantial efforts should be made to keep doses to these workers to levels
lower than those at which serious deterministic health effects may occur. In
the case particular of transport if the driver and assistant are unconscious
or couldn’t help giving any information, first responders could use the
instructions letter containing basic procedures in case of an accident. Seem
to me your example is an alert to Regulatory and State Authorities to lack
of adequate training to First Responders.
In Brazil after the Goiania Accident it was implemented a large programe to
train Fire Brigade, Civil Defense, and specially the States Department of
Health in the Basic Principle of Radiation Protection and emphasizing that
Save Life is the highest priority during a Radiological Accident.
I am surprise with such attitude of the First Responders, and I think it was
an case in isolation.
Jose Julio Rozental
Madrid, until 02-10-2002
>Subject: RE: "Perception is reality"
>Date: Tue, 17 Sep 2002 15:19:12 -0700
>Dr. Weiner's statement regarding fatal consequences due to perceived risk
>was personally observed by me one fateful day. The accident occurred in a
>remote area of the US and involved a truck carrying refined uranium and a
>slow moving train. The first responders backed away from life-saving
>almost immediately when they noticed the radioactive symbol. It was several
>hours before knowledgeable individuals arrived at the scene but it was too
>late -- the driver died from loss of blood which possibly could have been
>prevented had the first responders administered first aid. Unfortunately,
>the first responders reacted emotionally to a perceived risk from LSA
>material -- material which carries practically no inherent risk.
> The contents of this message are mine personally and do not reflect
>the views or position of the U.S. Department of Energy or the Federal
>From: RuthWeiner@AOL.COM [mailto:RuthWeiner@AOL.COM]
>Sent: Tuesday, September 17, 2002 1:15 PM
>Subject: "Perception is reality"
>My disagreement with this concept is that it results in misapplication of
>resources, which can have dangerous or even fatal consequences.
>Ruth Weiner, Ph. D.
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