NNSA's Radiation Emergency Assistance Center / Training Site (REAC/TS) is on-call 24 hours a day, to provide medical care or consultative assistance involving the exposure to ionizing radiation or radiological contamination. REAC/TS, located in Methodist Medical Center of Oak Ridge in Oak Ridge, Tennessee, was established in 1976 and has assisted in more than 2,400 calls for assistance involving, or suspected of involving, radiation exposure. Calls for assistance come from state health departments, commercial nuclear power facilities, federal agencies, hospitals, the World Health Organization, the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA), foreign governments, physicians in private practice, as well as from the general public.
REAC/TS’s mission is to maintain 24 hour response operations to provide assistance and/or deploy personnel and equipment for provision of direct medical care in support of a radiological emergency. In addition, they provide consultative services over the telephone or via email (firstname.lastname@example.org ). The team supports federal, state, and local government organizations, when necessary.
REAC/TS can be deployed at any time within 4 hours CONUS and 6 hours OCONUS.
REAC/TS’ responsibilities to include:
- Serving as a focal point for advice and possible medical care in cases of human radiation exposure.
- Facilitating and creating a network of available equipment and staff specializing in human radiopathology.
- Operating the REAC/TS Cytogenetic Biodosimetry Laboratory (REAC/TS CBL)
- Assisting in the development of medical emergency plans to address large-scale radiation incidents.
- Assisting in the preparation of relevant documents and guidelines.
- Providing direct or consultative services to foreign governments at the request of the World Health Organization, and the International Atomic Energy Agency in the event of a radiological incident.
- Function as a member of the Federal Radiological Monitoring and Assessment Center (FRMAC).
- Maintaining a stockpile and registry of internal dose countermeasures.
- Maintaining a radiation accident registry pertaining to the medical response and treatment of victims.
REAC/TS emergency response team member specialties include medicine, nursing, paramedic support, health physics, industrial hygiene, and radiobiology. These highly trained professionals are prepared to assist with conducting medical triage, decontamination, radiation dose estimation, and administration of internal dose countermeasures such as DTPA and Prussian Blue during an emergency response. In addition to highly trained personnel, the center maintains a sophisticated state-of-the-art laboratory facility for provision of cytogenetic analysis for dosimetric purposes.
REAC/TS maintains a Radiation Accident Registry System, which allows the team to conduct medical follow-ups on patients previously seen and track treatment procedures and trends in radiation-induced medical conditions. REAC/TS also maintains a registry of the use of DTPA for treatment of intakes of transuranic elements and a stockpile of countermeasures for treating intakes of various radioactive materials.
As well as having a dedicated medical facility within its home offices, REAC/TS is a training and demonstration facility where domestic and foreign physicians and nursing, paramedical, and health physics professionals receive intense training on the treatment of victims of radiation accidents. REAC/TS conducts regularly scheduled courses for occupational health physicians, emergency physicians, and nurses involved in short-term and long-term patient care, as well as courses specifically for health and medical physicists. In addition, REAC/TS provides medical emergency response training to federal, state, and local organizations to prepare medical providers to respond to radiation emergencies. REAC/TS courses are accredited by the American College of Continuing Medical Education (ACCME) for CME credits.