Evacuate or Seek Shelter?
- After an attack, hazardous materials may be in the
air. Exposure may be higher on foot or in a car than in a sheltered room.
- If not in immediate danger, stay inside and listen
to the radio for instructions.
Preparing a Safe Room
- Pick an interior room with few or no windows.
Higher stories are better because chemical agents sink.
- If feasible, pick a room with a toilet, water and
- Set aside duct tape and plastic sheeting for
windows, doors and vents.
- Prepare a disaster supply kit, so that you do not
have to leave the room for at least three days. Most important is water, a
gallon per person per day. Also include battery-powered radio and flashlight,
extra batteries, first-aid supplies, prescription medicines, and long-lasting
food that does not need cooking.
- Choose meeting points (one nearby, one farther) and
tell all family members how you will make contact if separated. Decide on an
out-of-town phone contact for messages.
- Consider inexpensive breathing filters, rated N95
or better for each family member. This is controversial, and the government has
not recommended it for the general public. Research shows masks reduce exposure
to some airborne agents, including anthrax.
- Lock doors and windows.
- Turn off heating/air conditioning, close vents and
- Use tape and plastic over windows, doors, vents,
electrical outlets and holes around pipes and fixtures. Use duct tape, not a wet
towel, under the door.
- Keep radio tuned to emergency alert system.
Family Evacuation Plan
- Make "go packs" in advance including water,
flashlight, food and a change of clothes and shoes. Adults should carry radio,
cash, identification, car and house keys.
- Become familiar with alternate routes out of your
- Plan to take pets, Assemble carry case, ID tags,
food, newspaper or litter, and veterinary records.
- Unless in immediate danger, or if an incident is
inside, do not evacuate unless instructed.
- Use routes suggested by authorities. Others may be
blocked, jammed or close to danger.
- If possible, go uphill and upwind.
Signs of Biological, Chemical, Radiological Attack
(Consider context or multiple signs.)
- Reports from authorities.
- An explosion or vapor cloud dispersing liquids,
mists or gases.
- An explosion appearing to destroy nothing but the
- Many sick or dead fish, birds or other animals.
- Unusual odor (sweet, fruity, pepper, rotten eggs).
- Mass casualties without obvious trauma.
- Victims salivating, tearing, having uncontrolled
muscle twitching or trouble breathing, redness of skin.
Responding to Chemical Attack
- Time, distance and shielding keep you safer. Move
away quickly, uphill and upwind, and find shelter. When emergency workers
arrive, seek medical screening.
- If inside a nearby building that is in no danger of
collapse, stay and listen for instructions.
- If you think you have liquid or aerosol chemical
agents on your skin or clothes, minutes count. Help yourself before professional
- After leaving the immediate area, remove all your
clothing, jewelry, glasses or wigs.
- Water is a good decontaminant. Wash hands before
washing your body. If soap is available, use it, but do not wait for soap. Avoid
hard scrubbing. Blot dry, don't rub.