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Disciplines: Respiratory Therapy
Hours: 1 Contact Hour
Author(s): David E. Swift, RRT
Peer Reviewer(s): Beth Eliot, MS, RRT-NPS
Item#: V7267
Contents: 1 Course Book (56 pages)

Chemical, Biological, Radiological, and Nuclear Critical Incidents: Implications for Practitioners

Price $9.95
Item # V7267
When available, the Online Course format is included with the hard copy, eBook, or audio book formats!

Release Date: December 8, 2016

Expiration Date: December 8, 2019

As we move further into the 21st century, chemical, biological, radiological, and nuclear critical incidents are on the rise. Between social media and 24/7 news, we learn about these incidents in real time. Healthcare practitioners are challenged now more than ever to mobilize in an instant to meet the needs of victims and communities during the response and recovery efforts.                                                    

This course is designed to give clinicians an overview of chemical, biological, radiological, and nuclear incidents. The topics include how such incidents occur; the toxicity and clinical implications of agents that can be released; how a critical incident scene is managed; mass casualty triage and decontamination procedures; and how healthcare facilities plan for and facilitate the recovery effort as things get back to normal after a critical incident. 

Course Objectives

  • Identify how chemical, biological, radiological, or nuclear incidents can occur and what specific agents may be involved.
  • Name the types of chemical and biological agents used in critical incidents and understand their pathophysiology and treatment.
  • Choose the correct personal protective equipment for use during critical incidents and understand the levels of protection and standards.
  • Identify the correct response procedures for chemical, biological, radiological, and nuclear critical incidents, and understand site control zones.
  • Understand mass casualty triage, decontamination, and patient transport procedures.
  • Define how recovery differs from response, and understand how healthcare facilities plan for and participate in the recovery process after a critical incident.


David E. Swift, RRT, has been a registered respiratory therapist since 1983. In 1999, David was tasked with facilitating year 2000 preparations for his organization, Ottawa Hospital. Because of his interest in disaster and emergency preparedness, he began training in that area. In 2007, David became the subject matter expert and respiratory therapy team lead for the National Office of the Healthcare Emergency Response Team (NOHERT), a Canadian federal team for Health Canada. His instruction included chemical, biological, radiological, and nuclear train-the-trainer courses (provided by the Canadian Security and Intelligence Agency and the U.S. Army Medical Command in Dietrich, Maryland), emergency response in austere locations, and disaster management and planning. When NOHERT was disbanded in 2012, David continued his activities as a monthly columnist for ADVANCE for Respiratory Care and Sleep Medicine and assisted with the review and update of the Canadian Strategic National Stockpile. As a charge therapist and campus coordinator at Ottawa Hospital, Civic campus, David’s responsibilities include developing and maintaining his department’s emergency response plan. Because of its location in Canada’s national capital, Ottawa Hospital is designated as the lead organization in any chemical, biological, radiological, and nuclear critical incident.


Beth Eliot, MS, RRT-NPS, is an independent facilitator for patient advocacy of underprivileged individuals in her immediate community. Beth received a master’s degree in microbiology from Georgetown University, a bachelor’s degree in emergency medical care from Loma Linda University, and an AS RT from Victor Valley College. She gained her experience working at Loma Linda University Medical Center and Children’s Hospital in the NICU, PICU, and emergency departments, at Loma Linda University as an adjunct faculty member, and at Victor Valley College as a clinical instructor.

  • Courses must be completed on or before the expiration date noted in the course description above.
  • You must score 75% or higher on the final exam and complete the course evaluation to pass this course and receive a certificate of completion.
  • Through our review processes, Western Schools ensures that this course content is presented in a balanced, unbiased manner and is free from commercial influence. It is Western Schools’ policy not to accept commercial support.
  • All persons involved in the planning and development of this course have disclosed no relevant financial relationships or other conflicts of interest related to the course content.