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KEYNOTE Dr Hazem Matar

Senior Research Fellow
University of Hertfordshire

KEYNOTE PRESENTATION – “Exposure and Decontamination of Casualties and Emergency Responders to Toxic Materials”

Dr Matar obtained his PhD from the University of Surrey for his research on mitigating the dermal absorption of chemical warfare agents. This work was sponsored by the Home Office and Department of Health, performed in collaboration with the Health Protection Agency (now known as Public Health England) and the Defence Science and Technology Laboratory (DSTL). This work fed into the ORCHIDS (Optimisation through Research of Chemical Incident Decontamination Systems) project, which aimed to strengthen the preparedness of European countries to incidents involving the deliberate release of potentially hazardous chemicals.

Since Joining the University of Hertfordshire, Dr Matar has continued to research methods for optimising the emergency service’s response to incidents involving the release of toxic materials and has been instrumental in evaluating and optimising the decontamination efficacy of mass casualty decontamination systems in the United States. This work has led to the development of “PRISM” (Primary Response Incident Scene Management) which provides strategic, tactical and operational guidance on mass casualty decontamination during a chemical incident. This work was sponsored by the Biological Advanced Research and Development Authority (BARDA, part of Health and Human Services in the USA). Dr Matar and his colleagues worked on a project to revise PRISM guidance to assist first responders to rapidly assess the severity of an incident and ensure that any response is both effective and proportionate. The project also explored the decontamination efficacy of hair and development of a decision-aiding tool for triggering disrobing and/or mass decontamination processes at the scene of an incident.

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