Recovery is the process of rebuilding, restoring and rehabilitating the community following an emergency. For actions undertaken during the recovery phase of an incident, an important aim is to promote an early return to ‘normal living’. The recovery phase lasts as long as the effects of the incident can be expected to persist. It continues until agreed recovery criteria (i.e. clean-up goals) have been met.
The HPA has published guidance for the recovery and remediation of the post-acute phase of chemical and radiation incidents, with a focus on reducing exposure to radioactively and/or chemically contaminated:
Contaminants (e.g. chemical, radiation or biological agents) released into the environment can move or be dispersed within that environment due to a range of environmental processes and cross contamination pathways (e.g. a plume depositing onto land results in both air and land contamination).
Therefore, decision makers should consider, not only the expected consequences of implementing a recovery strategy (e.g. the averted exposure, costs, resources required, likely duration, level of disruption), but also how implementing the recovery strategy will contribute to the re-establishment of ‘normality’.
Whilst the HPA handbooks relate mainly to the recovery phase, they may also be useful in providing information and advice on the longer-term management of incidents and highlight the implications of early urgent actions on any subsequent recovery strategy.