Objectives: Radiological emergency preparedness has gained more attention in the aftermath of the nuclear power plant emergency in Japan. This study aims to: (1) Evaluate the knowledge of nuclear medicine technologists (NMTs) in regards to bioassays that can be performed and radiation protection principles that can be followed during and/or after a radiological disaster 1-6; (2) Measure the willingness of NMTs to perform bioassays and decontamination during and/or after a radiological disaster; (3) Assess the availability of equipment to NMTs 2-6; (4) Determine the relationship between the knowledge and willingness of NMTs to participate in radiological emergency response efforts and the availability of equipment.
Methods: An electronic survey was sent to approximately 7,000 NMTs in the US using the SNMMI/TS database. Analyses were performed using SAS Version 9.3.
Results: The survey response rate was 12.14%. The majority of respondents, regardless of years of experience, were knowledgeable on the use of a scintillation gamma camera, Geiger counter, thyroid probe, and portal monitor to detect radioactive contamination. 82.4% of respondents were overall willing to help with radiation detection/monitoring during a radiological disaster. Most respondents were likely to have a scintillation gamma camera, well counter, Geiger counter, or thyroid probe available. 35.28% of respondents had not had radiological emergency preparedness training in the past 5 years, and 77.1% and 77.3% of respondents were not familiar with specific preparedness materials provided by the CDC and DHHS, respectively.
Conclusions: Our results suggest a need for additional radiological emergency preparedness training for NMTs and a strategic plan to increase awareness of preparedness materials and volunteer programs to NMTs.