|For more information - What To
(Please note: Some of this information
includes technical language. It is intended for general information, and may not
apply to your specific situation.)
If the worst should happen, and we are praying that nothing
WHAT DO YOU DO?
First, DO NOT PANIC! Be aware that the
release of any chemical or bio agent is likely to induce a fear factor on the part of a
largely unprotected civilian population, and that problems with crowd control, rioting,
and other opportunistic crime could be anticipated. Extensive attempts must be made to
prevent a "panic reaction" among those that might potentially be exposed to a
warfare agent. You may be injured by someone else's panic even if you are not exposed to
Protect yourself first, then you will be able to care for
your children, family and others. It is not selfish to protect yourself first. Provide for
your own air supply, then help your family and those around you.
Inhaling the agent is the number one way to become exposed.
It is the most likely route of introduction of agents and with the greatest and most rapid
effect. Use the protective breathing equipment and/or personal protection equipment that
is available. It is important you use this equipment properly or injury or death may
result. Follow the instructions that come with your equipment.
How to buy and wear a gas mask. When
buying a gas mask the most important thing is to check the expiration dates of the filters
and the age of the mask itself. There are half-masks that just cover the mouth, but it's a
good idea to protect your eyes. Some filters are specialized, filtering out something
specific like NBC dust. If you want to protect yourself from the most possibilities you'll
need an NBC mask.
Place the mask over your face, then pull the straps behind
your head. You want a snug fit with no leaks. There should be an air tight
seal around the edge of the mask. You'll need to check for leaks. One way is to get
someone to dip a Q-tip in some banana oil, then have them wave it around your head while
you're wearing the mask. If you smell banana then you don't want the mask. Or cover
the intake valve with your palm and inhale. You should not be able to inhale as that
would indicate a leak. Uncover the intake immediately.
Travel as far away from the targeted area, as safely as
possible. Eventually travel upwind of the contaminated site. Do not travel upwind into the
contaminated area! If you are indoors, you may enter a small interior room and seal
all ventilation spaces. Use a wet towel and seal the space under the door.
Listen on a portable radio for instructions.
Establishment of a decontamination area and the
decontamination of victims/patients/rescuers will be a priority for the emergency workers.
Travel safely to a decontamination area. The location will depend on where the event
occurred. Ask emergency workers, "Where is the nearest decontamination area?"
"Contaminated" patients might not be transported to
the hospital. Expect to decontaminate before transport to a hospital.
Emergency workers will be wearing protective equipment.
They may appear frightening to children. Reassure your children they are
there to help.
Follow the instructions of the emergency workers.
Different agents may require different treatments.
Generally, protected medical and rescue personnel must wash the victim with soap and water
at the scene. Victims of VX and other non- soluble agents should be cleaned with the
alcohol and/or other types of treatments. This must be accomplished as soon as possible,
and the specific antidotes then be administered.
In the case of most biological agents a diluted solution of common household bleach
(sodium hypochorite) may often be effective in decontaminating procedures involving people
and equipment. Other antiseptics and disinfectants, as appropriate for the individual
bio-toxin, can also be used.
Remember, "contaminated" patients
might not be transported to the hospital. Expect to decontaminate before transport to a
(This article contains commonly accepted practices in the
treatment of those exposed to toxic gases. It should be understood that these
recommendations may not be in keeping with local medical practice or EMS standing medical
protocols. All practitioners should follow those guidelines that are deemed acceptable
within the system that they work. This is not intended to be a comprehensive information
Protect - Evacuate - Decontaminate
Air and Water Filters
Also see: Emergency Water Filters and Emergency Air Filters