Chemical Agents

Chemical agents are poisonous gases, liquids or solids that have toxic effects on people, animals or plants. Most chemical agents cause serious injuries or death.

Severity of injuries depends on the type and amount of the chemical agent used, and the duration of exposure.

Were a chemical agent attack to occur, authorities would instruct citizens to either seek shelter where they are and seal the premises or evacuate immediately. Exposure to chemical agents can be fatal. Leaving the shelter to rescue or assist victims can be a deadly decision. There is no assistance that the untrained can offer that would likely be of any value to the victims of chemical agents.

Shelter In Place

One of the basic instructions you may be given in a chemical emergency is to shelter-in-place. This is a precaution aimed to keep you and your family safe while remaining in your home. If you are told to shelter-in-place, take your children and pets (Click for more information) indoors immediately. While gathering your family, you can provide a minimal of amount of protection to your breathing by covering your mouth and nose with a damp cloth.

  • Close all windows in your home.
  • Turn off all fans, heating and air conditioning systems.
  • Close the fireplace damper.
  • Go to an above ground room (not the basement) with the fewest windows and doors.
  • Take your Family Disaster Supplies Kit with you.
  • Wet some towels and jam them in the crack under the doors. Tape around doors, windows, exhaust fans or vents. Use plastic garbage bags to cover windows, outlets and heat registers.
  • If you are told there is danger of explosion, close the window shades, blinds or curtains. To avoid injury stay away from the windows.
  • Stay in the room and listen to your radio until you are told all is safe or you are told to evacuate.

Biological Agents

Biological agents are organisms or toxins that have illness-producing effects on people, livestock and crops.

Because biological agents cannot necessarily be detected and may take time to grow and cause a disease, it is almost impossible to know that a biological attack has occurred. If government officials become aware of a biological attack through an informant or warning by terrorists, they would most likely instruct citizens to either seek shelter where they are and seal the premises or evacuate immediately.

A person affected by a biological agent requires the immediate attention of professional medical personnel. Some agents are contagious, and victims may need to be quarantined. Also, care must be taken so that victims entering medical facilities do not contaminate the rest of the hospital population.

PREPARE

  • Create an emergency communications plan. Choose an out-of-town contact your family or household will call or e-mail to check on each other should a disaster occur. Your selected contact should live far enough away that they would be unlikely to be directly affected by the same event, and they should know they are the chosen contact. Make sure every household member has that contact's, and each other's, e-mail addresses and telephone numbers (home, work, pager and cell).
  • Leave these contact numbers at your children's schools, if you have children, and at your workplace. Your family should know that if telephones are not working, they need to be patient and try again later or try e-mail. Many people flood the telephone lines when emergencies happen but e-mail can sometimes get through when calls don't.
  • Establish a meeting place. Having a predetermined meeting place away from your home will save time and minimize confusion should your home be affected or the area evacuated. You may even want to make arrangements to stay with a family member or friend in case of an emergency. Be sure to include any pets (Click for more information) in these plans, since pets are not permitted in shelters and some hotels will not accept them
Terrorism Facts
Bomb Threat
If Disaster Strikes

 

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Designed by Jerren Saunders
Last Updated: June 12, 2002