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U.S. Department of Health and Human Services

Action Steps

State and Local Planners Playbook For Medical Response to a Nuclear Detonation


Action Steps provide sequential guidance required to coordinate the medical response to a nuclear detonation.

The Action Steps complement the Concept of Operations (CONOPS), a model for procedures for coordinating Federal public health and medical assets necessary to support response efforts.

Organization of Phases and Sectors 

Phase 0 Pre-Incident Phase - All exercises, procedures, and resources needed to be prepare for a nuclear detonation.
Phase I Activities and resources needed 0-24 hrs after detonation.
Phase II Activities and resources needed 24- 96 hours after detonation.
Phase III Activities and resources needed 96 hours after detonation leading into recovery.

Sectors, within each Phase


  • General Readiness Planning and Emergency Management,
  •  Emergency Medical Services (EMS),
  •  Health and Facility Response, Public Health,
  •  Medical System Response,
  •  Evacuee Medical Care and Fallout-related Illness,
  •  Recovery.

Information Sources (IS) numbered 1 through 17 in the following matrix are additional sources of useful information. There is a Supplemental Information Table that indicates where this information can be located. Some of it will be included in a Supplemental Appendix folder online; other sources will be web sites.

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  • This page last reviewed: August 16, 2012