CBRN Decontamination Unit (Dekon V Unit )

Explanations and demonstrations of the decontamination unit were made at the Logistics Center.

Demonstration of protective gear.
Demonstration of screening before decontami-

Explanation of how to decontaminate an injured

Contaminated-water collection tank.
  • The German Red Cross (GRC) has 30 medical task force teams and three modules. The modules are: (1) CMD (casualty mass-decontamination unit); (2) BHP-50 (mobile medical treatment center for 50 patients); and (3) Transportation. The GRC prepares for CBRN emergencies with these modules.
  • The requirement for handling the unit is to receive a 6-hour medical course. Volunteers can also handle the unit, but the assumed responders are paramedical staff.
  • The responders take rinse water to an affected area. However, if they cannot procure it before departure to the area, they use local water.
  • The assumed case of the decontamination by the GRC is mass decontamination due to a large scale disaster.
  • The current challenges facing the GRC in the event of operating the decontamination unit (CMD) are as follows:
    (1) the unit can decontaminate only up to 6 people per hour;
    (2) how quickly the patients can be evacuated from a hot zone;
    (3) it takes more than one hour to set up a CMD.
  • Not all hospitals in Germany are prepared to accept decontaminated patients.
  • An annual large joint exercise is conducted by fire authorities and the GRC.
  • Fortunately, the unit has never been used in emergencies. It has been used only for exercise. In the event of a CBRN emergency, the unit has to be mobilized within two hours from the onset. The assumed response is only within Germany as a general rule.
  • Response area of the GRC’s CBRN unit:


Ebola training

Explanation of how to put on/take off protective
gear properly.

The GRC introduced the training which the delegates went through before deployment to West Africa within the Ebola response by the GRC. The structure of the Severe Infection Temporary Treatment Unit (SITTU) was also presented to the participants. The delegates received a “cold” training before the departure and a “hot” training upon arrival in Liberia before starting their activities.

  • The GRC’s response to the Ebola outbreak in West Africa was a joint mission with the Liberian Rec Cross Society. The response activities were also provided by MSF from Belgium and the Netherlands.
  • There is neither no vaccine nor therapy that is effective against the Ebola virus at the moment and the delegates need to be provided with the fullest measures to prevent infection from the Ebola virus.
  • On the WHO standard, it takes 45 minutes to put on the personal protective gear against the Ebola virus. Once a responder is used to wearing it, it takes 30 – 40 minutes. Each responder works for 8 hours a day in three to four shifts with a pattern of one-hour duty on and a one-hour break. Therefore, it is quite a burden for the responders to put on and take off the gear repeatedly. In particular when they take off the gear, they need to give more time and attention because the vomit from Ebola patients may have been attached to the gear. They need to wash their hands when taking off each item including gloves.