This short report presents a response to an article written by Cibulsky et al. (2016). The paper by Cibulsky et al. presents a useful and timely overview of the evidence surrounding the technical and operational aspects of mass casualty decontamination. It identifies three priority targets for future research, the third of which is how casualties’ needs can be met in ways that best support compliance with and effectiveness of casualty decontamination. While further investigation into behavioural, communication and privacy issues during mass decontamination is warranted, there is now a substantial body of research in this area which is not considered in detail in the succinct summary provided by Cibulsky et al. (2016). In this short report, we summarise the available evidence around likely public behaviour during mass decontamination, effective communication strategies, and potential issues resulting from a lack of privacy. Our intention is to help further focus the research needs in this area and highlight topics on which more research is needed.
The core of my research interests is crowd psychology. Specifically: (1) collective action participation as a source of psychological transformation, including politicisation, empowerment and wellbeing; (2) collective resilience in mass emergencies and disasters; (3) cognitive, behavioural and emotional reactions to situations of crowding; (4) the practical and political implications of pathologizing (versus liberatory) discursive constructions of crowds.