On the morning of May 3rd, reports stated that workers in Seattle were exposed to radioactive toxins. The materials were spilled while in transportation from UW Medicine’s Harborview Medical Center Research and Training Building, said Seattle Fire Department spokeswoman Kristin Tinsley.

The Seattle Times reported that, “Harborview spokeswoman Susan Gregg said 10 people who were exposed are in Harborview’s emergency room Friday morning. All are in satisfactory condition.

The investigation of the incident is being handled by the state Department of Health, which had two inspectors on site for the removal of a device called an irraditor, which contains cesium-137, a radioactive material, said DOH spokeswoman Kristen Maki.”

The move of these radioactive materials was said to be a part of a nationwide federal program that is in charge of decommissioning devices used to expose a range of samples to gamma radiation for purposes like sterilizing medical supplies and studying the effects of radiation.

Those exposed were all contracted workers and those who were in the area, and no first responders have been reported as contaminated during the process. So far, all exposed are not in critical condition and made it to a hospital in time to be treated.

How Decon Trailers Can Help

Decon Trailers were designed for times like these. While they are regularly used on construction sites for workers who labor in old buildings with potentially harmful toxins, they have also been used during disasters and accidents like in Seattle.

In cases like these, when a harmful chemical comes in contact with humans, the decon trailer allows those exposed to rid themselves of harmful layers in a way that is safe for the environment and themselves. Here’s how it works:

Step one: when a spill occurs, employees and others who have come in contact enter the back end of the decon trailer and are able to undress in a private environment. They leave their contaminated clothes in this private room for proper cleaning.

Step two: the exposed enter the next room, where showers are provided. They are able to wash themselves to ensure that any contaminated soot left on their bodies is properly cleaned off.

Step three: they then enter the clean room, where lockers with clean clothing and their belongings await. They exit the front end of the decon trailer ready to head home safe, clean, and concern free.

This concept has allowed people from small affected groups like in Seattle to large communities who may come into harmful toxins after a natural disaster to decontaminate and stay safe. Having decon trailers onsite when handling radioactive materials can save lives.

We are on standby ready to assist with decon trailers should the radioactive materials leave behind any residue that could come in contact with others or the nearby community. Our thoughts are with the city and we hope that the contaminated area is cleaned up quickly and effectively so that no one else is harmed.