Overall
Why Prepare?
Citizen
Local
State
Federal

Basic Preparedness
Getting Informed
Planning and Checklists
Special Needs
Disaster Supplies Kit
Shelter
Others

Natural Hazards
Floods
Hurricanes
Thunderstorms and lightning
Tornadoes
Winter storms and extreme cold
Extreme heat
Earthquakes
Volcanoes
Landslides and debris flow
Tsunamis
Fires
Wildfires

Technological Hazards
Hazardous materials incidents
Household chemical emergencies
Nuclear power plant emergencies

Terrorism
Explosions
Biological threats
Chemical threats
Nuclear blasts
Radiological dispersion device events

Recovering from Disaster
Health and safety guidelines
Returning home
Seeking disaster assistance
Coping with disaster
Helping others
 

Chemical Threats
Chemical agents are poisonous vapors, aerosols, liquids and solids that have toxic effects on people, animals or plants. They can be released by bombs or sprayed from aircraft, boats and vehicles. They can be used as a liquid to create a hazard to people and the environment. Some chemical agents may be odorless and tasteless. While potentially lethal, chemical agents are difficult to deliver in lethal concentrations. Outdoors, the agents often dissipate rapidly. Chemical agents also are difficult to produce.
A chemical attack could come without warning. Signs of a chemical release include people having difficulty breathing, experiencing eye irritation, losing coordination, becoming nauseated or having a burning sensation in the nose, throat and lungs. Also, the presence of many dead insects or birds may indicate a chemical agent release.

Take Protective Measures
What can I do Before a Chemical Attack?

Check your disaster supplies kit to make sure it includes:

A roll of duct tape and scissors

Plastic for doors, windows and vents for the room in which you will shelter in place. To save critical time during an emergency, pre-measure and cut the plastic sheeting for each opening

Choose an internal room to shelter, preferably one without windows and on the highest level


What do I do During a Chemical Attack?
If you are instructed to remain in your home or office building, you should:
Close doors and windows and turn off all ventilation, including furnaces, air conditioners, vents and fans

Seek shelter in an internal room and take your disaster supplies kit

Seal the room with duct tape and plastic sheeting

Listen to your radio for instructions from authorities
If you are caught in or near a contaminated area, you should:
Move away immediately in a direction upwind of the source

Find shelter as quickly as possible


What do I do After a Chemical Attack?

Decontamination is needed within minutes of exposure to minimize health consequences. Do not leave the safety of a shelter to go outdoors to help others until authorities announce it is safe to do so.
A person affected by a chemical agent requires immediate medical attention from a professional. If medical help is not immediately available, decontaminate yourself and assist in decontaminating others.
Decontamination guidelines are as follows:
Use extreme caution when helping others who have been exposed to chemical agents

Remove all clothing and other items in contact with the body

Contaminated clothing normally removed over the head should be cut off to avoid contact with the eyes, nose and mouth

Put contaminated clothing and items into a plastic bag and seal it

Decontaminate hands using soap and water

Remove eyeglasses or contact lenses

Put glasses in a pan of household bleach to decontaminate them and then rinse and dry

Flush eyes with water

Gently wash face and hair with soap and water before thoroughly rinsing with water

Decontaminate other body areas likely to have been contaminated.

Change into uncontaminated clothes

Proceed to a medical facility for screening and professional treatment
Follow the instructions for returning home