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Evaluation of the implementation of personal protective equipment for French military firefighters in a CBRN context

Bastien Van Overbeck, RN, Hélène Deshayes, RN, Fabian Thien-Bourgery, MD, Nicolas Pailhes, MD, Sébastien Beaume, MD, Aurélien Renard, MD, Cédric Boutillier du Retail, MD, Nicolas Cazes, MD


Introduction: Military firefighters are the first responders in the event of a chemical, biological, radiation, and nuclear (CBRN) event in the Marseille area. They receive initial training to intervene safely in a CBRN context. We wanted to evaluate the use of CBRN personal protective equipment (PPE) at a distance from this training.

Method: A prospective observational bicentric descriptive study on 20 operational firefighters operating on rescue and emergency vehicles. Two PPE dressing sessions, separated by 3 months, were evaluated and timed. A reminder of the correct procedure was given by the investigator after the first dressing.

Results: On average, 60.5 percent of the steps were correctly performed during the first dressing and 83 percent during the second dressing. Between the two dressings, there was a significant improvement (p < 0.01) in the team verification of the dressing and the chronological order of the dressing as well as the actions to be taken before dressing (remembering to make oneself comfortable, to urinate, to drink). The second dressing is on average 21 seconds faster than the first. Professional training and exercise experience of the firefighters in CBRN improve the success and speed of dressing in the absence of a prior reminder.

Conclusion: Shorter and more frequent training and exercises, which simulate real-life situations for firefighters, lead to safer, more competent and faster donning of PPE.


chemical terrorism, first responder, emergency, personal protective equipment

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