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Chemical Weapons of Mass Destruction
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. They can have an immediate effect (a few seconds to a few minutes) or a delayed effect (2 to 48 hours). 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.

 


 

 

Chemical Weapons of Mass DestructionBefore 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

 

 


 

 

During a Chemical Attack

 


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


Listen to your radio for instructions from authorities.


Find shelter as quickly as possible.



 

 


IDecontamination 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.


Proceed to a medical facility for screening and professional treatment.


General Information about Terrorism

Biological Threats

EBOLA Threat

SWINE Flu Threat

H1N1 Threat

 

Chemical Threats

Nuclear Blast

 

 

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Disaster Assistance: (800) 621-FEMA, TTY (800) 462-7585