PUBLIC HEALTH ENGLAND'S RECOVERY TOOLS: POTENTIAL TEACHING RESOURCES?
Training to combat chemical and radiation accidents, incidents or attacks is critical for health professionals due to recent events involving these hazards or their use as unconventional weapons, such as the use of the nerve agent novichok in Salisbury, UK. Health professionals need to have appropriate knowledge and skills to effectively respond to future events involving any of these substances, which requires a rapid and coordinated response from different professionals to protect the
... protect the environment and minimise the number of people exposed and reduce morbidity and mortality. However, despite chemical and radiation incidents becoming increasingly prevalent, literature reviews have shown that there is a lack of teaching of appropriate competences to face future crises in Europe, particularly amongst clinicians and other health professionals that would be part of the initial response. Thus, De Montfort University (DMU, UK) in collaboration with different academics from the University of Alcalá (Spain) and researchers from Public Health England (PHE) with comprehensive experience in environmental decontamination and restoration, have created a short training course for providing undergraduate/postgraduate students with basic skills to respond to chemical incidents, basic skills that are based on the major competences recently identified by the European Commission . This novel training has been tested with students from different backgrounds in various European universities, recording high degrees of acquisition of the various basic competences that we developed to initially respond to chemical events  . To develop the practical part of this chemical training, we have incorporated the novel guidance and methodology developed by PHE to successfully tailor a protection and recovery response to any incident involving chemical substances, which is available in the "UK Recovery Handbook for Chemical Incidents"  and its web-based tools: "Chemical Recovery Navigation Tool" (CRNT,  ) and "Chemical Recovery Record Form" (CRRF,  ). These innovative resources aid the user to select effective protection, decontamination and restoration techniques or strategies from a pool of up-to-date options applicable to different environments according to the physicochemical properties of the chemical(s) involved and the area affected. The CRNT is accompanied by the CRRF, which facilitates collection and analysis of the necessary data to inform decisions, and an e-learning resource named "Chemical Recovery: Background" (CRB, ), which could facilitate the learning of environmental decontamination and restoration. We are currently developing a short training course to cover minor radiation incidents; this radiation training will follow the same methods used to develop the chemical training, but with the specific PHE recovery tools to tackle such events, specifically the "UK Recovery Handbooks for Radiation Incidents"  and its associated web-based tools "Radiation Recovery Navigation Tool" (Rad RNT, ), one for each environment: food production systems, inhabited areas and drinking water supplies. This communication will explore the use of the PHE's Recovery Navigation Tools as potential resources to facilitate the acquisition of basic knowledge to tailor protection and recovery interventions for minor chemical and radiation incidents to protect the public.