On March 21 and April 5, the Knox East Tennessee Healthcare Coalition sponsored three ½ day classes on the Emergency Management of Radiation Accident Victims. The courses, hosted and taught by the Radiation Emergency Assistance Center/Training Site (REAC/TS) in Oak Ridge, provided awareness level information applicable to a myriad of providers.  The course included an overview of health physics and emphasized the practical aspects of initial pre-hospital and hospital management of irradiated and/or contaminated patients through lectures and a hands-on exercise. These educational offerings were led by REAC/TS staff Wayne Baxter, RN/EMT-P, Angie Bowen, RN/NRP, and Mark Jenkins, PhD, and a total of 48 providers attended. Participants included nurses, paramedics, EMTs, firefighters, nuclear medicine, emergency planners, emergency management, military healthcare providers and medical educators.

The Radiation Emergency Assistance Center/Training Site (REAC/TS) has provided the U.S. Department of Energy (DOE) with expertise related to the medical management of radiation accidents since 1976. REAC/TS has responded to thousands of calls for medical advice and consultation, internal and external radiation dose assessment, and other specialized assistance to pre-hospital and in-hospital healthcare providers, health physicists, and other emergency response personnel. REAC/TS provides direct support for the DOE’s National Nuclear Security Administration (NNSA) Office of Emergency Response and the Federal Radiological Monitoring and Assessment Center (FRMAC).

REAC/TS maintains a 24/7 national and international radiation emergency response capability that includes deployable equipment and personnel experienced in decontamination and treatment of radiation injuries and illnesses. REAC/TS participates with the international community for radiation accident response via its designation as a World Health Organization (WHO) Collaborating Center of the Radiation Emergency Medical Planning and Assistance Network (REMPAN) and with the Response Assistance Network (RANET) of the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA). In addition, REAC/TS has provided continuing medical education and accident response in over 40 countries.

REAC/TS provides radiation medicine advice and consultation 24/7, and operates a Cytogenetic Biodosimetry Laboratory that performs chromosome aberration analysis, the “gold” standard of ionizing radiation biodosimetry.  REAC/TS can be contacted during normal business hours at (865) 576-3131 and after hours through the DOE Oak Ridge Operations Center at (865) 576-1005. More information can be found on the REAC/TS website at https://orise.orau.gov/reacts/.