Three Minutes Without Air: Why A Gas Mask Should Be Part of Your Preps

You know the survival maxim about how you can live 3 minutes without air, right? I always looked at this as just basic life type of scenarios. If you couldn’t breathe for three minutes you would die. I would envision someone who had been knocked out and people had stopped to stare at the person lying on the ground slowly turning blue. Other times I would imagine someone suffocating in a horrible paracord accident or other nonsense. It struck me the other day that I had been looking at this all wrong.

Three minutes without air could just as easily mean three minutes without clean, breathable air. What if the air you were breathing would kill you, not the act of not breathing at all? What if with each breath you were bringing some organism into your lungs that would poison you or make you sick to the point that you died or became incapacitated. Three minutes without clean, clear, safe air would be an eternity for some. How long can you hold your breath?

Threats

There are many valid reasons for having a gas mask as part of your preps that have nothing to do with a global pandemic or outbreak of some deadly virus, but they all revolve around protecting the air that you and your family are breathing. Remember the riots in Egypt and Syria where police fired tear gas into the crowds as they protested against their government? Have you personally ever been exposed to tear gas? I have, and it isn’t fun at all. In the Army each soldier has to go through the “gas chamber” for a couple of reasons. The first is to test your NBC mask and make you feel comfortable with how it will protect you. For this little trick, we all lined up, put on our masks and walked into a very smoky room. All of the other young guys with me were standing around the edge of a big room. You could see the smoke in the air but it wasn’t so intense that you couldn’t see everyone around you. We did some jumping jacks as I recall to get our heart rate up and our breathing faster. Then our drill sergeant told us to take our masks off.

Everyone held their breath for as long as they could, but your eyes started burning first. I happened to the unlucky guy who was at the front of the line and everyone started pushing me from behind to get out the door. Some guys started coughing and several were stamping their feet. My drill sergeant who must have loved me (and who still had his mask on) yelled at me to “stand still or I’ll make you all do this again!” About now, our eyes and noses were running like crazy and we had to take a breath in. This burned like fire and the coughing fits came next. Eyes watering, snot running down our face and coughing like mad, we were finally given the go ahead to walk out the door.

That was tear gas, and after a few minutes in the clean air, we were fine. Imagine if that had been nerve agent or some deadly virus. A few minutes outside of the building could very well kill you.

Options

In searching for a gas mask or respirator for my family I came across several options depending on what your personal threat assessment is. You can start with your basic N95 particulate masks but these have limited use and some say they are useless at protecting you from airborne viruses. I prefer a solution that can give you protection from multiple threats and that requires you spend a little more money unfortunately.

Mil surplus – Again if you stick with military surplus, you aren’t going to find too much more out there that was specifically designed to counter threats from NBC (Nuclear, Biological, and Chemical) than your average soldier could face. Willson Premier Plus Respirator and Survivair Cartridges are military soldiers. You may have to dig a little more to find a good mask with hood and case that is in great condition, but the prices would be very reasonable.  The good thing about new military surplus is they have the bells and whistles that other masks may not have at the base model.  Of course you will still sound a little like Darth Vader but that is a bonus.

half-face-mask-refinishing-respirator

Israeli – The infamous Israeli Civilian Gas masks are everywhere out there. You can find these at Army Navy stores, Ebay and Amazon as well as camping sites if you can believe that. This is the gas mask supposedly issued to Israeli civilians when threatened with chemical attack by Saddam’s Iraq. It has full NBC protection, and come with one sealed filter. The price on these is around $39 and that is an insane deal if you ask me.  Now, the million dollar question is do they work? That I am not sure of but at this price it is hard to pass up. In the Army we would have to check our masks out every year and our NBC specialist would have us mask up and then they would swipe a pen around the openings of our mask and ask us if we could smell anything. I never could, thankfully but he said I would have smelled banana. You can even buy these kits today to test your masks I would definitely recommend that. At least you will know that if they throw rotten fruit at you it will be alright.

gas-mask

Considerations

Communication – You want a mask that you will be able to talk in. More specifically you want a mask that your family can hear what you say. Make sure that what you purchase for your family or group is going to allow you to communicate.

Drinking – This would be a major issue if the threat lasted for a long time or you were outdoors in a hot climate for an extended duration. The older military gas masks have straws that plug into your canteen cap. The cap was special and I am sure you can order these from Ebay, but something to consider.

Visibility – Clear visibility in your mask is crucial. More so if you are planning to be able to shoot a weapon accurately. If you haven’t purchased your first defensive firearm, you can read this post. If you are using a shotgun, aiming isn’t such a big issue. The two main things that affect visibility are your filters and your face mask. In the older military style you have two eye holes. The newer masks offer one faceplate. The filter will either be positioned on the side or at your mouth. Practice aiming and shooting your rifle with the gas mask on to see if you have to adjust anything. Make sure you do this before you are in the situation where you need to fire accurately.

Filters – Replacement filters are something you should consider now. Buy enough to last because you won’t be able to run out to Wal-Mart for a resupply. Also, the mounting position of the filters could influence whether or not they will work good for you. The best option is to purchase a mask that allows you to mount filters on the left or right side. This will free up your cheek for a good stock/cheek weld when sighting.

Hopefully this gives you some information you can use when planning for your family’s survival. It’s amazing how good taking a breath will feel when you know that your family is protected.

 

Could Zika Virus Mutate to Change The Human Race

zika-virus

Zika virus is spread to people through mosquito bites and through human body fluid contact, as the contact as recently discovered by a case in Dallas County, Texas . The most common symptoms of Zika virus disease are fever, rash, joint pain, and conjunctivitis (red eyes). The illness is usually mild with symptoms lasting from several days to a week. Severe disease requiring hospitalization is uncommon.

In May 2015, the Pan American Health Organization (PAHO) issued an alert regarding the first confirmed Zika virus infection in Brazil. The outbreak in Brazil led to reports of Guillain-Barré syndrome and pregnant women giving birth to babies with birth defects and poor pregnancy outcomes.

The scientic name, Flaminia Catteruccia, associate professor of immunology and infectious diseases at Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health, says the virus may have adapted to the human environment and mutated.  The mosquito-borne Zika virus has been linked to a surge in cases of birth defects in Brazil, and is spreading in other countries in the southern hemisphere.

Zika is very similar to other viruses that are transmitted by the Aedes mosquitoes, including dengue and chikungunya. It was first discovered in 1947 in monkeys in Africa, and there have been several outbreaks since then. But it has not been studied much because, normally, the symptoms are quite mild—fever, headaches, joint pain. People get over it in a few days.

It seems like there is something different about the virus in the current outbreak in Brazil. It has coincided with a dramatic rise in cases of microcephaly, a birth defect that results in babies born with unusually small heads. The increase in babies born with this condition has been more than 20-fold compared with previous years—from maybe 150 cases to more than 3,000 cases in a few months.

All it takes is for an infected person to return from somewhere overseas (such as El Salvador or Brazil) and get bitten by a local mosquito that can carry it.

“That blood that has that virus is circulating in the body. If a mosquito bites them, that mosquito could bite someone else and the process goes on,” said Dr Barry Alto, from the Florida Medical Entomology Laboratory at the University of Florida.

“It could very well mean local mosquitoes are actually infected with the virus. And now we have a public health concern,” said Alto. But it’s unlikely the US will see a Zika epidemic like that currently facing  Brazil and El Salvador, since authorities are closing monitoring what’s happening overseas and the mosquitoes are mainly limited to the south. “I don’t expect there to be as big an outbreak. The [US] infrastructure is potentially better equipped to deal with outbreaks,” said Alto.

The Zika virus spreads so fast because it never emerged in this part of the world. Hence there is no natural immunity available in the population and a lot of infections occur. Once this “first wave” of infections is over, the level within the population will fall drastically.

It is of course possible that the Zika virus has acquired a new mutation which adapts it better to humans and allows spreading much easier, but this is not yet known, since the situation in South America is still changing very fast with a lot of cases occurring and analysis going on. It still can be enough that the virus never emerged in Southern America and that there is no natural immunity available.

What the Army Field Manual tells Us

The following document is an appendix taken from the US Army Field Manual.  The topic is tactical and emergency operations in a chemical, biological, radiological, and nuclear attack.  The document, which provides excellent insight into the tactics and procedures utilized by the US military in a NBC or CBRN attack, is broken down into four sections: (1) contamination abidance, (2) NBC protection, (3) decontamination, and (4) Reconnaissance and security.  I have embedded additional summaries, notes, and explanations.

What the Army Field Manual tells us about surviving nuclear, biological, and chemical attacks

The following document is an appendix taken from the US Army Field Manual.  The topic is tactical and emergency operations in a chemical, biological, radiological, and nuclear attack.  The document, which provides excellent insight into the tactics and procedures utilized by the US military in a NBC or CBRN attack, is broken down into four sections: (1) contamination abidance, (2) NBC protection, (3) decontamination, and (4) Reconnaissance and security.  I have embedded additional summaries, notes, and explanations.

US Army Field Manual – Appendix: CBRN Attacks

Summary: We must be proficient in the three fundamentals of NBC defense: avoiding contamination, protecting against contamination, and decontamination.

Because many potential adversaries have the capability to employ biological, chemical, and nuclear weapons, scouts must prepare to fight in an NBC environment. Collecting, processing, and disseminating needed NBC hazard information is also vital. To survive and remain effective on the integrated battlefield, the scout platoon must be proficient in the three fundamentals of NBC defense: contamination avoidance, NBC protection, and decontamination.

Additional-duty NBC personnel should be designated by the platoon SOP for operations in an NBC environment. The crews of the section leaders’ vehicles should be designated and trained as chemical agent detection and radiological survey and monitoring teams. The squad leaders’ crews should be designated as decontamination teams and trained to operate all decontamination equipment organic to the battalion or squadron.

SECTION 1 — CONTAMINATION AVOIDANCE

Summary: Avoidance includes active and passive measures to avoid contamination.  It includes identifying the contaminated area, identifying the agent used to contaminate the area, and communicating your findings to others.

Avoidance is the most important fundamental of NBC defense because the best way to survive is to avoid being the object of an NBC attack. Avoiding contaminated areas minimizes the risk of additional casualties and the degradation of combat power caused by operating in MOPP (“mission oriented protective posture” gear and equipment) level 3 or 4 for extended periods of time. In addition, the unit is not required to spend the time and resources needed for decontamination.

Contamination avoidance measures include using passive avoidance measures, locating contaminated areas, identifying NBC agents, warning other members of the platoon as well as other units, and reporting NBC threats to higher headquarters. If the tactical situation does not allow avoidance, the unit must be prepared to operate in a contaminated environment.

Passive avoidance measures can decrease the possibility of NBC attack or reduce the effects of an attack already under way. Effective use of concealment, dispersion, prepared positions, OPSEC, and signal security lessen the chances of being acquired as a target. The scout platoon should continually analyze its vulnerability to NBC attack and take appropriate protective measures.

Attacks and contamination must be detected quickly and reported to adjacent units and headquarters elements. The scout platoon must have an effective method of quickly passing the alarm in the event of an NBC attack. The alarm can be passed by radio, audible signals, or hand-and-arm signals. The SOP should specify automatic procedures for employing detection teams and submitting the required NBC reports after an NBC attack or when contamination is encountered.

All movement routes and future positions should be reconnoitered for nuclear and chemical contamination whenever possible. Reconnaissance and quartering parties should be prepared to encounter, detect, identify, report, and mark contamination. By finding the location and type of hazard (nuclear radiation or chemical agent), the scout platoon can determine the best plan for bypassing, crossing, or operating in the hazard. The platoon must be prepared to locate and evaluate the hazard based on available information from fallout predictions (simplified and detailed), chemical downwind hazard predictions, monitoring data, and contamination overlays. Based on the situation, the platoon leader and parent unit commander must be able to implement protective measures specified in the SOP to minimize personnel losses and limit the spread of contamination.

DEFENSE BEFORE A NUCLEAR ATTACK

Summary: Take cover and dig in. Take cover on the opposite sides of hills and mountains, in gullies or ravines, or behind/inside natural covers (trees, caves).

The best defense against a nuclear attack is to dig in. Unit defensive positions, which vary from individual foxholes to improved positions, should be prepared whenever the tactical situation permits.

Scouts should keep their individual weapons, equipment, clothing, and other issue items in their vehicles. Equipment must be secured because the blast wave will convert unsecured items into lethal missiles. Supplies, explosives, and flammable materials should be dispersed and protected.

Reverse slopes of hills and mountains give some nuclear protection. The initial radiation and the heat and light from the fireball of a nuclear blast tend to be absorbed by hills and mountains. Use of gullies, ravines, ditches, natural depressions, fallen trees, and caves can reduce nuclear casualties.

BIOLOGICAL DEFENSE

Summary: Biological attacks are very difficult to identify.  Keep clean and sanitary.  Wear protective covering over exposed skin.  Be wary of eating or drinking contaminated food or water.

The key protective measure against a biological attack is maintaining a high order of health, personal hygiene, and sanitation discipline. Biological attacks are hard to detect. If an attack occurs, chances of survival are better if crew members are healthy and physically fit and maintain good personal hygiene. Keeping the body clean helps to prevent ingestion of biological agents. Keep small cuts or scratches covered and germ-free by using soap, water, and first-aid measures. Since insects carry biological agents, prevent insect bites by keeping clothes buttoned and covering the skin.

Do not eat food or drink water that may be contaminated. After an attack, you must assume that all surfaces have been exposed to germs. Eat or drink only food that has remained sealed; consume it only after you have washed and cleaned the outside of the container. All water must be boiled at least 15 minutes.

DEFENSE BEFORE A CHEMICAL ATTACK

Summary: To protect against a chemical attack, wear proper protective covering and utilize the military’s M8A1 chemical agent detector to detect the chemical attack.

Protective procedures

Make sure all personnel have their protective masks available, and make sure each mask fits and functions properly. All personnel should wear the proper protective clothing in accordance with the MOPP level designated by the commander. Protect all equipment and supplies from liquid chemical contamination by keeping them organized and covered.

Emplacing the M8A1 automatic chemical agent alarm

The M8A1 (a mobile chemical agent detector and alarm unit used by US military) is the primary means of detecting an upwind chemical attack. The system provides two essential elements of survival: detection of a toxic agent cloud and early warning to troops in the monitored position. The platoon leader decides where to place the chemical alarm. The detector units should be placed no more than 150 meters from the platoon’s perimeter or position. Space the available detector units approximately 300 meters apart, and make sure each detector unit is connected to the alarm unit by telephone cable (WD-1). Position the alarm units near radiotelephone assets; this makes it easy to alert the unit of an attack. Blowing sand or dust, rain, sleet, snow, temperatures below 40 degrees Fahrenheit, and tropical conditions can affect operation of the alarm.

SECTION 2 — NBC PROTECTION

If an NBC hazard cannot be avoided, the scout platoon must be prepared to protect personnel and equipment from the effects of exposure. The type and degree of protection required will be based on the unit’s mission and the hazard. Note that the line between contamination avoidance and protection is not distinct; many actions contribute equally to both.

MOPP LEVELS, ALARMS, AND SIGNALS

Soldiers on the integrated battlefield will face a combination of nuclear, biological, chemical, and conventional attacks. The key to effective protection in an NBC environment is the scout platoon’s proficiency in automatically and correctly implementing an effective NBC defense SOP (Standard Operation Procedure). Individual and unit protection against chemical attack or contamination hinges on effective use of the MOPP and on individual proficiency in basic NBC skills. All platoon members must be familiar with the standard MOPP levels shown in Table B-1.

When an NBC attack is recognized, every soldier must receive the warning and assume the appropriate MOPP level (see Table B-1). Those in immediate danger need warnings they can see or hear. The alarm or signal must be simple and unmistakable for quick and correct reaction. Units not immediately affected need the information to prepare for the hazard or to change plans.

If an NBC hazard has been located, the contaminated area should be marked. The NBC warning and reporting system (NBCWRS) and contamination markers contribute to the warning procedures for follow-on forces. In the immediate area of contamination, several methods (or a combination of methods) will allow quick reaction by all platoon members. These methods include vocal alarms (shout of “GAS”), the M8A1 alarm, non-vocal alarms (horn blast or banging of metal-to-metal objects), and visual alarms (most commonly, hand-and-arm signals). The tactical situation may not allow for audible alarms; therefore, the platoon SOP should clearly detail the visual signals for contamination.

DEFENSE DURING A NUCLEAR ATTACK

Dismounted defensive actions

Summary: In the event of an imminent nuclear blast, avoid the natural instinct to flee.  Instead, drop to the ground or seek cover behind a protective barrier.  Lay with head toward the blast, cover the head, and close your eyes.

Never run for cover! Immediately drop flat on the ground (face down) or to the bottom of a foxhole, with head toward the blast. Cover exposed skin as much as possible. Close your eyes. Remain down until the blast wave has passed and debris has stopped falling. Stay calm, check for injury, check weapons and equipment for damage, and prepare to continue the mission.

Mounted defensive actions

Summary: If in a motor vehicle, position vehicle facing the blast area, secure loose objects, turn off electrical devices (e.g radio), and ensure all openings are closed.

As time permits, mounted scouts take the following actions:

  • Position the vehicle with the front slope facing the blast and the main weapon system pointed away from the blast.
  • Lock the brakes.
  • Secure loose equipment inside the vehicle to prevent injuries and equipment damage.
  • Secure all exterior components that could be damaged by the blast (such as water cans, duffel bags, and antennas) inside the vehicle.
  • Turn off all radios as well as turret and master power.
  • Close and lock all hatches, including ballistic shields.
  • Wear the proper helmet and eye protection.
  • Stow TOW weaponry and equipment, if applicable.

NOTE: HMMWV-mounted scouts should exit and move away from the vehicle, then take dismounted defensive actions.

DEFENSE AFTER A NUCLEAR ATTACK

Summary: After the attack, organize survivors, consolidate equipment, and improve protection against fallout.

Once the attack ends, forward an NBC-1 nuclear report, organize the survivors, secure and organize equipment, repair and reinforce the BP, assist casualties, improve protection against possible fallout, and begin continuous monitoring. If the radiation dose rate reaches a hazardous level after fallout is complete, be prepared to move, on order, to a less hazardous area.

Fallout warning

The first person to detect the arrival of fallout is usually the radiological monitor operating a radiacmeter. As soon as he notes a dose rate of 1 centigray per hour (cGy/hr) or higher, he warns unit personnel. All personnel hearing the warning relay it to others. If the mission allows, soldiers should move into a shelter with overhead cover and stay there until given an “ALL CLEAR” signal or until otherwise directed to move. If the mission does not allow the unit to take cover, decontamination becomes more important and perhaps more difficult.

Supervision of radiological monitoring

Radiological monitoring is performed routinely to determine the presence and intensity of a radiation hazard. It is conducted using the IM-174 or AN/VDR-2 radiacmeter. Scout leaders must ensure that their scouts are properly trained on this equipment. There are two types of monitoring, periodic and continuous.

Periodic monitoring assures the platoon that the area is not contaminated or, if applicable, provides a warning when contamination is detected after the platoon arrives. Readings are taken once every hour. Periodic monitoring is initiated under these conditions:

  • After first use of nuclear weapons in theater.
  • When the platoon is out of contact with higher headquarters.
  • When ordered by higher headquarters.
  • When the platoon stops continuous monitoring.

Continuous monitoring is the surveillance for radiation in the platoon’s area or position. Continuous monitoring will be initiated when any of the following situations occur:

  • When a nuclear detonation is observed or reported in the area of operations.
  • When an NBC-3 report is received and the platoon is in the predicted area of contamination.
  • When ordered by higher headquarters.
  • When a dose rate of 1 cGy/hr is recorded in periodic monitoring.

Supervision of tactical dosimetry operations

A scout platoon is normally issued two dosimeters (device that measures exposure to ionizing radiation). Select two soldiers, usually one from the vehicle of each section leader, to wear them. Check all dosimeters to be used for the operation; any that do not read zero should be turned in for recharging. If a charger is not available, note the original reading. Make sure dosimeter readings are reported accurately. Collect readings at least once daily. Average these readings, round to the nearest 10, and report this average and the radiation exposure status (RES) to higher headquarters.

When operating in or crossing radiologically contaminated areas, use the individual actions for nuclear defense. Vehicles should be closed tightly; cargoes should be covered by tarps or tenting. Mission permitting, speed should be kept down to prevent dust, and vehicles should maintain adequate following distances to stay out of the dust raised by preceding vehicles.

After the unit exits a contaminated area, personnel, equipment, and cargo should be checked for contamination and decontaminated, if necessary. Dose rates should be monitored closely to ensure compliance with operational exposure guidance (OEG). The RES should be updated, if appropriate.

DEFENSE DURING A CHEMICAL ATTACK

Summary: To defend against a chemical attack. don protective clothing and move indoors.

Give the alarm. Have all unmasked soldiers put on their protective masks and other MOPP gear. All personnel should move inside their vehicles and close all hatches (if applicable); this will aid in the protection from gross liquid contamination. The platoon leader directs use of M256 detector kits to determine the type of agent and submits an NBC-1 report. The platoon then continues the mission.

DEFENSE AFTER A CHEMICAL ATTACK

Forward an NBC-1 chemical report, treat casualties, perform emergency decontamination as required, and mark the contaminated area.

SYMPTOMS AND TREATMENT OF NBC CASUALTIES

Potential adversaries may have access to a wide variety of biological agents and chemical agents on the modern battlefield. These agents can be dispensed alone or with other carriers or agents. Casualties resulting from exposure to biological or chemical agents require medical treatment as quickly as possible.

The first step in the treatment process is usually appropriate self-aid and buddy-aid measures. These vary depending on the agent. Soldiers should first mask to prevent them from either inhaling or ingesting additional agents; then they should remove agents from exposed skin, either by washing with soap and water or by using the M291 kit. Soldiers use buddy-aid procedures to observe each other for early symptoms of toxic exposure and to request medical assistance.

The platoon leader should select separate casualty collection points for both contaminated and non-contaminated casualties to prevent cross-contamination. All contaminated casualties should be decontaminated as thoroughly as the situation allows before being evacuated. The platoon must include in its casualty evacuation request the number of contaminated patients; this will allow the evacuation team to send the proper number of vehicles for pickup.

Chemical agents fall into four major categories: nerve, blister, blood, and choking. Their primary routes of attack on the body are through the respiratory system and the skin. These agents are especially dangerous because they can kill or incapacitate quickly. The first, and most important, step in dealing with them effectively is to recognize symptoms so proper treatment can be administered. Table B-2 lists protection and detection measures, symptoms, and treatment and decontamination procedures for the four categories of chemical agents.

MARKING CONTAMINATION

Contamination must be marked so unsuspecting personnel will not be exposed to it. When platoon detection, monitoring, or reconnaissance teams detect or suspect NBC hazards, they mark all likely entry points into the area and report the contamination to higher headquarters.

The only exception to this policy occurs when marking the area would help the enemy. If this exception is made by the commander, the hazard must still be reported to protect friendly units.

Marking procedures

Summary: Markers designating contaminated areas should be marked facing away from the contamination so anyone approaching the area can clearly see the mark.

Markers should always face away from the contamination. For example, if markers are placed on the edge of a contaminated area to mark a radiological hot spot, they face away from the point of the highest contamination reading. Markers are placed at roads, trails, and other likely points of entry. When time and mission permit, additional markers should be emplaced. The distance between signs varies. In open terrain, they can be placed farther apart than in hilly or wooded areas. Soldiers should be able to stand in front of a marker and see the markers to the left and right of it.

Units discovering a marked contaminated area do not have to conduct elaborate, time-consuming surveys. The new unit checks the extent of contamination and alters its plans, if necessary. If the size of the hazard has either expanded or decreased, they relocate the signs. If the hazard is gone, they remove the signs. Changes are reported to higher headquarters.

Types of markers

US forces use standard NATO markers to make it easier for allies to recognize the hazards (see Figure B-1). These markers are in the standard NBC marking set. Colors and inscriptions on a marker indicate the type of hazard. Other contamination information is written on the front of the sign.

Figure B-1. NBC marking devices.

UNMASKING PROCEDURES

Soldiers should unmask as soon as possible except when a biological or chemical attack is expected. Use the procedures outlined in the following paragraphs to determine if unmasking is safe.

If an M256/M256A1 detector kit is available, use it to supplement unmasking procedures. The kit does not detect all agents; therefore, proper unmasking procedures, which take approximately 15 minutes, must still be used. If all tests with the kit (including a check for liquid contamination using M8 detector paper) have been performed and the results are negative, use the following procedures:

  • The senior person should select one or two soldiers to start the unmasking procedures. If possible, they move to a shady place; bright, direct sunlight can cause pupils in the eyes to constrict, giving a false symptom.
  • The selected soldiers unmask for 5 minutes, then clear and reseal their masks.
  • Observe the soldiers for 10 minutes. If no symptoms appear, request permission from higher headquarters to signal “ALL CLEAR.”
  • Watch all soldiers for possible delayed symptoms. Always have first-aid treatment immediately available in case it is needed.

If an M256/M256A1 kit is not available, the unmasking procedures take approximately 35 minutes. When a reasonable amount of time has passed after the attack, find a shady area; use M8 paper to check the area for possible liquid contamination. Conduct unmasking using these procedures:

  • The senior person selects one or two soldiers. They take a deep breath and break their mask seals, keeping their eyes wide open.
  • After 15 seconds, the soldiers clear and reseal their masks. Observe them for 10 minutes.
  • If no symptoms appear, the same soldiers break the seals, take two or three breaths, and clear and reseal their masks. Observe them for 10 minutes.
  • If no symptoms appear, the same soldiers unmask for 5 minutes, then remask.
  • If no symptoms appear in 10 minutes, request permission from higher headquarters to signal “ALL CLEAR.” Continue to observe all soldiers in case delayed symptoms develop.

ALL-CLEAR SIGNAL

The all-clear signal is given by word of mouth through the chain of command. It is initiated by higher headquarters after testing for contamination proves negative. If required, standard sound signals may be used, such as a continuous, sustained blast on a siren, vehicle horn, or similar device. When “ALL CLEAR” is announced on the radio, it must be authenticated before compliance. The commander designates the specific all-clear signal and includes it in his SOP.

WARNING AND REPORTING SYSTEMS

The NBCWRS is a rapid means of sending reports of an NBC attack. The reports inform other affected units of clean areas and possible contamination. They are also used to report contaminated areas up and down the chain of command and to adjacent units. Each report has a specific purpose and uses standard codes to shorten and simplify the reporting process. Refer to FKSM 17-98-3 for the formats and letter codes of standard NBC reports. The scout platoon’s priority should be to pass detailed information, in the form of SPOTREPs, to the battalion/squadron NBC NCO. The platoon NBC NCO should then send the proper NBC report to higher headquarters.

SECTION 3 — DECONTAMINATION

Since continued operation in the presence of nuclear or chemical contamination will cause casualties and severe combat degradation, decontamination is essential. To get the maximum benefit of the time and resources available, the scout platoon should conduct decontamination using the following guidelines:

  • Conduct it as soon as possible.
  • Conduct it only to the extent necessary to ensure safety and operational readiness.
  • Conduct it as far forward as possible.
  • Conduct it by priority.

These principles are consistent with doctrine that places the burden of decontamination at battalion or troop level. For this reason, the scout platoon must use all of the available decontamination assets to maximum benefit and develop a thorough SOP covering decontamination methods and priorities. Refer to FM 3-5 for more detailed information on NBC decontamination.

IMMEDIATE DECONTAMINATION

Immediate decontamination is a basic soldier survival skill carried out by soldiers as soon as possible after they discover they are contaminated. Its basic purposes are to minimize casualties, save lives, and limit the further spread of contamination. Any contact between chemical or biological agents and bare skin should be treated as an emergency. Some agents can kill if they remain on the skin for longer than a minute. The best technique for removing or neutralizing these agents is to use the M291 skin decontamination kit. Leaders must ensure that their soldiers are trained to execute this technique automatically, without waiting for orders.

Personal wipedown should begin within 15 minutes of contamination. The wipedown removes or neutralizes contamination on the hood, mask, gloves, and personal weapon. For chemical and biological contamination, soldiers use mitts from the M295 individual equipment decontamination kit (IEDK). For radiological contamination, they wipe off the contamination with a cloth or simply brush or shake it away.

Operator’s spraydown of equipment should begin immediately after completion of personal wipedown. The spraydown removes or neutralizes contamination on the surfaces operators must touch frequently to perform their mission. For chemical and biological contamination, operators can use on-board decontamination apparatuses, such as the M11/M13, or the M295 IEDK to decontaminate surfaces to which DS2 cannot be applied. (NOTE: DS2 must be washed off surfaces no more than 30 minutes after application. If necessary, use 5-gallon water cans or other water sources to assist in removing DS2.) For radiological contamination, they brush or scrape away the contamination with whatever is at hand or flush it with water and wipe it away.

OPERATIONAL DECONTAMINATION

Operational decontamination allows a force to continue fighting and sustain its mission after being contaminated. It limits the hazard of transferring contamination by removing most of the gross contamination on equipment and nearly all the contamination on soldiers. This speeds the weathering process and allows clean areas (people, equipment, and terrain) to stay clean. Following operational decontamination, soldiers who have removed sources of vapor contamination from their clothing and equipment can use hazard-free areas to unmask temporarily to eat, drink, and rest.

Operational decontamination is accomplished using assets of the parent unit. It makes use of two decontamination techniques: vehicle washdown and MOPP gear exchange. These procedures are conducted at the same time and are best performed at squad level. Vehicles and personnel that are not contaminated should not go through either technique.

Vehicle washdown, conducted as far forward as possible, is performed by the task force power-driven decontamination equipment (PDDE) crew with assistance from the squad decontamination crew. It is most effective if started within 1 hour after contamination. There are two steps in vehicle washdown:

  • Step 1. Button up the vehicle and secure equipment.
  • Step 2. Wash down the vehicle and equipment with hot, soapy water for 2 to 3 minutes.

Because speed is important, do not check vehicles for contamination after vehicle washdown. Remove only gross contamination.

THOROUGH DECONTAMINATION

Thorough decontamination reduces contamination to negligible risk levels. It restores combat power by removing nearly all contamination from unit and individual equipment. This allows troops to operate equipment safely for extended periods at reduced MOPP levels. A contaminated unit conducts detailed troop decontamination (DTD) under supervision of the chemical unit. Ordinarily, the chemical unit selects a site, sets it up, and performs the detailed equipment decontamination (DED) with assistance from the contaminated unit. A small risk from residual contamination remains, so periodic contamination checks must be made after this operation.

Thorough decontamination is conducted as part of an extensive reconstitution effort in brigade, division, and corps support areas; support sites at lower levels cannot provide the quantities of decontamination resources (such as water, decontaminants, and time) required for such an extensive process. In some cases, a contaminated unit could conduct a thorough decontamination operation with organic decontamination assets, but support from a chemical unit is usually required.

After thorough decontamination, the unit moves into an adjacent assembly area for reconstitution. Support elements from the brigade, division, or corps support areas replenish combat stocks, refit equipment, and replace personnel and equipment. The newly reconstituted unit leaves the assembly area fully operational and fit to return to battle.

Thorough decontamination does the most thorough job of getting rid of contamination and its hazards, but it often is not possible. It requires large quantities of valuable resources that may not be immediately available. The next best solution is to decontaminate only what is necessary to sustain the force and continue to fight.

SECTION 4 — RECONNAISSANCE AND SECURITY IN AN NBC ENVIRONMENT

In an ideal situation, all NBC reconnaissance will be performed by an NBC reconnaissance platoon. Given the very limited number of these platoons available and the likelihood of chemicals being used on the battlefield, the scout platoon not only must be able to perform its own missions in a contaminated environment, but also must have the capability of conducting NBC reconnaissance.

RELATIONSHIP OF THE NBC RECONNAISSANCE ELEMENT AND THE SCOUT PLATOON

The NBC reconnaissance platoon, particularly in the division and cavalry regiment, often works closely with either battalion or cavalry scout platoons. When the two organizations are working together, their capabilities should be used to complement each other. The command relationship between the platoons, which should be based on METT-TC factors, can be one of the following:

  • The scout platoon OPCON to the NBC reconnaissance platoon.
  • The NBC reconnaissance platoon OPCON to the scout platoon.
  • The two platoons working together under the control of a common commander.

As an example, if the primary focus of the platoons’ reconnaissance mission is to locate contaminated areas, the NBC reconnaissance platoon leader may be selected to lead the operation. On the other hand, the scout platoon leader may be selected to lead and coordinate the mission if enemy presence is significant, if extensive dismounted operations are anticipated, or if the mission is oriented on the enemy force.

In all cases when the two types of platoons are operating together, the NBC platoon’s primary task should be NBC reconnaissance. The scout platoon has capabilities for which it is better equipped or organized; it should perform tasks related to those capabilities, such as the following:

  • Overwatch and security for NBC reconnaissance elements.
  • Dismounted operations in concert with NBC reconnaissance.
  • Reconnaissance of bypasses once a contaminated area is identified.
  • Initial location of contaminated areas, followed by handoff to the NBC reconnaissance platoon for detailed reconnaissance and marking.
  • Liaison or command and control linkup between the NBC reconnaissance platoon and the commander of the scouts.

RECONNAISSANCE OPERATIONS

In the event that NBC reconnaissance assets are not available, the scout platoon may be required to conduct NBC reconnaissance. The platoon must be aware of where on the battlefield the enemy may place chemical agents and understand the impact on maneuver forces if that area is contaminated. The scout platoon must be aware of the large volume of munitions required to place a chemical strike on the ground. Understanding the enemy’s doctrine will allow the scout platoon to quickly report potential contamination, allowing commanders to make timely critical decisions.

Crossing a contaminated area

As with other combat elements, one of the basic requirements for the scout platoon is to be able to move tactically across a contaminated area. Upon identifying a contaminated area, each scout section makes preparations to cross. While one vehicle provides security, the other vehicle, positioned in a covered and concealed location, removes all externally stowed equipment. The crew mounts and tests M8A1 alarms and M9 paper. The crew adopts MOPP level 4. Once preparations are complete, the vehicle moves into an overwatch position; the other vehicle moves to a covered and concealed position and follows the same procedures.

When both vehicles have been prepared, they use standard tactical movement techniques (such as bounding overwatch) to cross the contaminated area. During this movement, the driver’s and gunner’s hatches remain closed, and the crew continuously monitors the M8A1 alarm and the M9 paper. As much as possible, drivers and vehicle commanders attempt to avoid low ground, overhanging branches, and brushy areas. Dismounted operations are still conducted, but they are kept to the absolute minimum necessary to perform the mission while maintaining security. While the section is in the contaminated area, all personnel observe each other for signs of chemical poisoning.

When the section has successfully crossed the contaminated area, it temporarily halts. During this halt, each squad in turn executes operational decontamination of its vehicle and, with higher headquarters’ approval, unmasking procedures. Once this is complete, the scouts continue the mission.

Detecting and marking a contaminated area

US doctrine requires that combat missions be accomplished quickly and effectively, under all conditions and at any time. One of the reasons an enemy would use persistent and non-persistent chemicals is to cause confusion and thus slow down the tempo of friendly operations. The effectiveness of these agents can be reduced if the friendly commander knows the exact location of contaminated areas. Within a division or regiment, specialized NBC reconnaissance platoons can accomplish this; however, as noted, very few of these platoons exist. All scout platoons must therefore understand how to systematically locate and mark suspected contaminated areas.

Preparation. When assigned a mission or task to locate and mark a suspected contaminated area, the scout platoon must ensure that it prepares properly for the mission. Preparation for an NBC reconnaissance mission begins with inspection of personnel and equipment. As a minimum, each squad must have on hand the following equipment:

  • M8 paper.
  • M9 paper.
  • M256/M256A1 detector kit.
  • M8A1 alarm.
  • Chemical agent monitor (CAM).
  • Marking kit.
  • M13 decontamination apparatus (DAP).
  • M291 decontamination kit.
  • MOPP gear.
  • Mark 1 nerve agent autoinjector kit (NAAK).
  • VS-17 marking panels.

In addition to ensuring that the proper equipment is on hand, leaders must ensure that alarms and paper are properly mounted and functional and that all external equipment is stowed. The platoon leader includes a rehearsal of NBC reconnaissance techniques in his mission preparation. The platoon leader will also coordinate with the unit chemical officer for any special instructions, ensuring that thorough decontamination support is available at the conclusion of the mission.

Movement to the contaminated area. Once mission preparation is complete, the platoon moves to the suspected contaminated area (designated as a reconnaissance objective) using movement techniques and organization appropriate to the tactical situation. As the platoon approaches the suspected objective area, it stops short and reorganizes, assuming a three-section organization.

The sections are deployed on line, with no more than 400 meters between vehicles and no more than 400 meters between sections. All elements assume MOPP 4. The platoon leader directs the platoon to close hatches and begin movement in the direction of the contaminated area.

Initiation of monitoring. The platoon moves by bounding overwatch within sections. Lead vehicles bound no more than 200 meters. As they move forward, they move slowly to avoid stirring up dust and running over or under foliage. The lead elements move to the limit of their bound, halt, and sample the soil and air for contamination. Air sampling is conducted automatically by the functioning M8A1 alarm. Ground sampling is done without dismounting, using M8 paper mounted on a stick or using the CAM. The section leaders report their results to the platoon leader; they do not proceed further without permission.

The platoon leader strictly controls the movement of the sections. If all sections report negative samples, the platoon leader gives permission for the overwatch vehicles to move up. As long as the results remain negative, the platoon continues to move in this manner through the suspected contaminated area and up to 3 kilometers beyond it. The platoon leader reports the negative results of the reconnaissance to his higher headquarters. Figure B-2 illustrates initial movement for reconnaissance of a suspected area of contamination.

Figure B-2. Platoon movement to locate contaminated area.

Procedures when contamination is detected. If a squad makes positive contact with contamination, it immediately reports to the platoon leader. As the platoon leader sends his initial report to higher headquarters, the squad leader rechecks to confirm the positive sampling and determine the type of contamination; he sends an updated report.

Upon confirmation of the sample, the squad with the positive sample is designated by the platoon leader as the base vehicle; its direction of movement becomes the reconnaissance direction of travel. The platoon leader also designates the initial near side line from the base vehicle’s last negative sample location. The platoon leader then sends an NBC-4 report to his commander. This report includes type of agent, location, and time.

Upon report of a positive sample, all elements of the platoon halt in place and await confirmation of the sample. Once this is completed, the platoon leader reorganizes the platoon to conduct reconnaissance to define the boundaries of the contaminated area. This operation requires a single three-vehicle section (organized around the base vehicle’s section) that includes either the platoon leader or PSG.

Other elements of the platoon will not participate in this task; they can be used to reconnoiter a bypass, provide security, or execute other tactical missions under the control of the platoon leader or PSG. Once the platoon leader has issued a FRAGO that reorganizes the platoon, the vehicles that are no longer needed in the NBC reconnaissance make a 180-degree turn, move to a secure rally point, and reorganize for their next task.

The three-vehicle section charged with reconnoitering the contaminated area uses a line formation, with a 400-meter lateral distance between vehicles. The section, supervised by either the platoon leader or PSG, then begins a systematic reconnaissance to locate the limits of the contaminated area.

The goal of the reconnaissance is to define the contaminated area only to the degree necessary to provide the scouts’ commander with the information he needs to maneuver the main body. The minimum information the commander needs is a four-sided box enclosing the contaminated area. The following discussion focuses in detail on the steps the section takes to complete the reconnaissance.

Step-by-step reconnaissance procedures. The process used to ensure that the contaminated area is completely reconnoitered is fairly complicated and requires flawless execution. Therefore, detailed rehearsals are absolutely essential. The process includes these steps:

  • The reconnaissance team assumes a line formation with the base vehicle in the center.
  • The base vehicle moves in bounds and takes a sample every 200 meters. The vehicle commander resets the M8A1 after every bound, if applicable.
  • The base vehicle moves across the contaminated area in the direction of travel until it takes a negative sample (this establishes the baseline). When a negative sample is reported, the following actions take place:
    — The vehicle commander rechecks to verify the negative sample.
    — The base vehicle bounds 200 additional meters and takes another sample.
    — If the new sample is negative, the base vehicle halts and reports to the platoon leader or PSG.
    — If the sample is positive, the base vehicle continues until it takes two consecutive negative samples.
    — The platoon leader or PSG designates the initial far side limit at the second consecutive negative sample (refer to Figure B-3).
  • Left and right wing vehicles bound and sample every 200 meters in the direction of travel until they take a positive sample or reach the initial far side limit.
  • If a wing vehicle takes a positive sample, the vehicle commander rechecks the reading and reports it to the platoon leader or PSG. The following actions take place, as directed by the vehicle commander:
    — Step A. The driver turns 90 degrees away from the baseline, moves 200 meters, and takes a sample.
    — Step B. If the new sample is negative, the driver turns 90 degrees back to the direction of travel and continues to bound and sample every 200 meters until again taking a positive sample or reaching the initial far side limit. If the vehicle takes another positive sample, the vehicle commander repeats Step A.
    — Step C. If the new sample is positive, the driver turns 90 degrees again, now opposite the direction of travel, and then continues to bound and sample every 200 meters until taking a negative sample. If this movement takes the vehicle past the initial near side limit, the platoon leader or PSG adjusts the near side limit back through the new negative sample location. The vehicle then repeats Step A.

Figure B-3. Employing reconnaissance team to designate far side limit and adjust near side limit.

  • Once the wing vehicles reach the far side limit, they report to the platoon leader or PSG. The following actions take place:
    — Step A. The platoon leader or PSG projects a line from each wing vehicle location back to the near side limit and designates these as the initial left and right limits.
    — Step B. The platoon leader or PSG directs wing vehicles to turn 90 degrees back toward the baseline and sample every 200 meters along the initial far side limit until reaching the base vehicle.
    — Step C. If all samples are negative, the reconnaissance team has boxed in the contaminated area and the reconnaissance is complete. It skips steps D through J and begins the concluding process.
    — Step D. If a wing vehicle takes a positive sample, the vehicle commander backs up to his last negative sample location, turns 90 degrees back in the direction of travel, moves 200 meters, and samples.
    — Step E. If the sample is negative, the vehicle commander repeats steps B, C, and D until reaching the base vehicle. In this case, the base vehicle must also bound and sample in the direction of travel for each bound of the wing vehicles. The platoon then skips step F through J and begins the concluding process.
    — Step F. If the sample is positive, the vehicle commander directs his driver to turn 90 degrees away from the baseline, bounds, and samples every 200 meters until taking a negative sample.
    — Step G. The vehicle commander then directs the driver to turn 90 degrees back in the direction of travel, bounds 200 meters, and samples
    — Step H. If the new sample is negative, the vehicle commander repeats the process starting with Step B.
    — Step I. If the sample is positive, the vehicle commander repeats the process starting with step F.
    — Step J. The platoon leader or PSG adjusts the initial far side limit and the respective initial right or left limit farther out (not in) for every bound of the wing vehicles. This process continues until the contaminated area is boxed in. The adjustment process is illustrated in Figure B-4.
  • Concluding process. Once the contaminated area is located and its limits determined, the reconnaissance team takes the following actions:
    — The platoon leader or PSG sends a follow-up NBC-4 report, including type of agent, locations of the four box corners, and time.
    — The platoon leader or PSG recommends a suitable bypass to the commander.
    — The team marks the area and bypass with appropriate tactical markings or VS-17 panels. Chem lights can be used to mark the area during periods of limited visibility.
    — The team conducts operational decontamination, if required.
    — The team may be directed to conduct a screen mission for security or to provide guides to assist in the bypass of the contaminated area.
    — If no further tasks are required of the team, it can move to a thorough decontamination site, if required.

Figure B-4. Adjusting the limits of the contaminated area.

SECURITY OPERATIONS

Screen missions are not usually conducted in known contaminated areas; however, an area may become contaminated after the platoon has already occupied it. The enemy may contaminate an area with two general categories of chemicals: persistent or non-persistent.

The use of persistent chemicals may indicate that the enemy force does not plan to move through that area; this should prompt the platoon to reposition out of the contaminated area and to begin decontamination.

The use of non-persistent chemicals should trigger maximum alertness on the part of the scout platoon. Non-persistent chemicals may signal that the enemy is attempting to degrade friendly combat capability prior executing an offensive action. In addition, the enemy may use non-persistent chemicals to degrade the scouts’ performance during a screen mission.

To ensure maximum readiness, OPs must be positioned and occupied in such a way that they can react quickly to a chemical attack. These preparations include the following:

  • Position M8A1 alarms to cover both the OP site and the hide position.
  • Ensure that soldiers occupying the OP have complete MOPP equipment regardless of MOPP status.
  • Ensure that both the OP and supporting vehicles have a complete set of NBC equipment, to include M8 paper, M9 paper, M256 chemical agent detector kits, M8A1 alarms, M13 decontamination apparatus, M258A1 personal decontamination kit, and Mark I NAAKs.

These precautions are necessary for several reasons: the OP may be the first element to experience and react to a chemical attack; there may not be time to obtain needed equipment from the vehicles; and the tactical situation could cause the OP to become separated from its vehicles. In the event of a chemical attack, the following actions must occur at the OP:

  • All personnel go to MOPP 4.
  • All dismounted personnel, except OP teams, remount.
  • Vehicles button up and start.
  • Appropriate reports are sent to higher headquarters as quickly as possible.

The section leader must evaluate the situation and decide if it is appropriate to remount the OP team and move vehicles into observation positions as mounted OPs. He bases this decision on a number of factors. As a minimum, he must consider and evaluate the following:

  • What is the enemy situation? Is the OP currently in contact? Is it receiving indirect fire?
  • Is there effective cover and concealment for the vehicles?
  • What are the visibility conditions?

Once the section leader makes his decision, he reports the recommended COA to the platoon leader and continues to execute the screen mission in accordance with the platoon plan.

Bioterrorism, Pandemics and Emergency Preparedness

bioterrorism Martha McSally

U.S. Rep. Martha McSally (R-AZ), who chairs the subcommittee on emergency preparedness.

“The risk of a biological terrorist attack to America is an urgent and serious threat,” McSally said. “A bioattack could cause illness and even kill hundreds of thousands of people, overwhelm our public health capabilities, and create significant economic, societal and political consequences. Our nation’s capacity to prevent, respond to, and mitigate the impacts of biological terror incidents is a top national security priority. This hearing will highlight the threat of bioterrorism and ensure we’re taking the needed steps to prepare for and defend America against this threat.”

What can a family do to prepare for such an emergency?

bioterrorism1

Biological and Chemical weapons may be the most devastating and uncontrollable weapons ever rendered by man. Biological weapons are any man made weapon caused to disperse viruses, bacteria, or toxins derived from living organisms to cause death or disease within humans. Recent statistics claim that in the event of a future terrorist attack, the means in which the attack would be achieved would be through the use of bio-chemical weapons. This is not hard to believe, considering most bio-chemical agents can be created in ones own home with readily available materials. Due to the nature of biological and chemical weapons, the most widely predicted use for such weapons would be against the populace of a nation, where it may inflict massive fatalities and economic destruction. However this does not mean that a bio-chemical attack is unsurvivable, with proper knowledge and readiness it can very well be a crisis that one can overcome.

bioterrorism2

Don’t count on a vaccine being available. The flu vaccine that is currently used for seasonal flu will not work against any Chemical or Biological Attack. New strains of the virus require new vaccines, and these can take months or years to develop and even longer to produce and distribute on a large scale.

Stay informed. Should a pandemic of any kind flare up, the World Health Organization (WHO), the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), and other governmental and non-governmental organizations will provide information on the spread of the disease, as well as updates on vaccines or other medications, tips for keeping yourself safe, and travel advisories. The WHO and CDC, as well as various national governments, already have websites in place to provide useful planning information to the public. Newspapers and TV and radio broadcasts will also help disseminate critical warnings and advice.

Get your yearly flu vaccine shot. While the current vaccine won’t protect you from every flu or any other “new” strains of the virus, it can help you stay healthy (by protecting you some flu virus strains), which may in turn help your body to fight the virus better if you do become infected.

Get a pneumonia vaccine shot. In past Chemical or Biological pandemics, many victims succumbed to secondary pneumonia infection. While the pneumonia vaccine cannot protect against all types of pneumonia, it can improve your chances of surviving the pandemic. The vaccine is especially recommended for people over the age of 65 or those who have chronic illnesses such as diabetes or asthma.

bioterrorism3

Use anti-viral medications if advised to do so by a health professional or by the government. Two antiviral medications, Tamiflu and Relenza, have shown the potential to effectively prevent and treat avian flu. These are both available only by prescription and will probably be effective only if taken before infection or very shortly afterward. It should be noted that additional testing is necessary to determine how effective these drugs really are against avian flu. Furthermore, mutations in the avian flu virus may render them ineffective in time.

Use an alcohol-based disinfectant. Since it’s probably not feasible to wash your hands every time you touch something that may carry the virus, you should carry an alcohol-based hand cleaner with you at all times. These cleaners come in a variety of forms, and can be used any time you need a quick touch-up. Keep in mind, however, that the use of these cleaners is not a substitute for thoroughly washing your hands, and they should only be used to supplement hand washing.

Avoid exposure to infected. Right now, the only documented way to become infected with avian influenza is by coming into contact with infected birds or poultry products, and these routes of infection will continue even if the virus mutates so that human-to-human transmission becomes the greatest threat. Avoid handling any thing the infected has already touched, and try to prevent domestic animals (such as house cats/dogs) from coming into contact with Infected. If you work in proximity the dead or living infected, for example–take precautions such as wearing gloves, respirators, and safety aprons. Cook all foods thoroughly, to 165 °F (74 °C) throughout, and exercise proper food-handling techniques, as you would to protect yourself from other threats such as salmonella. Proper cooking kills the most virus.

Exercise social distancing. The most effective way to prevent becoming infected is to avoid exposure to infected people. Unfortunately, it’s not possible to determine who is infected and who is not–by the time symptoms appear, a person is already contagious. Social distancing, deliberately limiting contact with people (especially large groups of people), is a reasonable precaution to take in the event of a pandemic.

Stay home from work. If you’re sick or if others at your workplace have become sick, you should stay away from your workplace even in the absence of a pandemic. Given that people will generally be infected and contagious before they exhibit symptoms, however, during a pandemic it’s essential to stay away from places, such as work, where you have a high probability of being exposed to an infected person.

Try to work from home. A pandemic can last for months or even years, and waves of intense local outbreaks can last for weeks, so it’s not like you can just take a few sick days to protect yourself from workplace infection. If possible, try to arrange a work-from-home situation. A surprising variety of jobs can now be accomplished remotely, and employers will likely be willing–or even required–to try this out if a pandemic strikes.

Keep children home from school. Any parent knows that kids pick up all kinds of bugs at school. Avoid public transportation. Buses, planes, boats, and trains place large numbers of people in close quarters. Public transportation is the ideal vehicle for widespread spread of infectious disease.

Stay away from public events. During a pandemic, governments may cancel public events, but even if they don’t, you should probably stay away from them. Any large gathering of people in close proximity creates a high-risk situation.

bioterrorism4

Wear a respirator. The most virus can be spread through the air, so in the event of a pandemic it’s a good idea to protect yourself from inhalation of the virus if you’re out in public. While surgical masks only prevent the wearer from spreading germs, respirators (which often look like surgical masks) protect the wearer from inhaling germs. You can buy respirators that are designed for one-time use, or you can buy reusable ones with replaceable filters. Use only respirators labeled as “NIOSH certified,” “N95,” “N99,” or “N100,” as these help protect against inhalation of very small particles. Respirators only provide protection when worn properly, so be sure to follow the instructions exactly–they should cover the nose, and there should be no gaps between the mask and the side of the face.

Wear medical gloves. Gloves can prevent germs from getting on your hands, where they can be absorbed directly through open cuts or spread to other parts of your body. Latex or nitrile medical gloves or heavy-duty rubber gloves can be used to protect the hands. The gloves should be removed if torn or damaged, and hands should be thoroughly washed after removal of gloves.

Protect your eyes. Some Illnesses can be spread if contaminated droplets (from a sneeze, or spit, for example) and then enter the eyes or mouth. Wear glasses or goggles to prevent this from occurring, and avoid touching your eyes or mouth with your hands or with potentially contaminated materials.

Dispose of potentially contaminated materials properly. Gloves, masks, tissues, and other potential bio-hazards should be handled carefully and disposed of properly. Place these materials in approved bio-hazard containers or seal them in clearly marked plastic bags.

Prepare for disruption of services. If a pandemic strikes, many of the basic services we take for granted, such as electricity, phone, and mass transit, may be disrupted temporarily. Widespread employee absenteeism and massive death tolls can shut down everything from the corner store to hospitals.

cash

Keep cash on hand at all times as banks may close and ATMs may be out of service. Discuss emergency preparation with your family. Make a plan so that children will know what to do and where to go if you are incapacitated or killed, or if family members cannot communicate with each other.

h2o20-main-water-drop            Emergency Water Filter System

Stock up on necessities. In the developed world, at least, food shortages and disruption of services will likely not last more than a week or two at a time. Still, it’s essential to be prepared for such an event. Store a two-week supply of water for everyone in your household. Keep at least 1 gallon (3.8 L) per person per day in clear plastic containers.

Store a two-week supply of food. Opt for non-perishable foods that don’t need to be cooked and that don’t require a lot of water to prepare.

Make sure you have an adequate supply of essential medications.

Seek medical attention at the onset of symptoms. The effectiveness of antiviral medications decreases as the illness progresses, so prompt medical treatment is imperative. If someone with whom you have had close contact becomes infected, be sure to seek medical care even if you do not display symptoms.

bioterrorism5

Anthrax

  • Organism accountable (Type): Bacillus anthracis (Bacteria)
  • Method of Infection: Inhalation, Intestinal, Cutaneous (through the skin)
  • Incubation Period
    • Inhalation: 1-60 days
    • Intestinal: 3-7 days
    • Cutaneous: 1-2 days
  • Lethality
    • Inhalation: 90-100% untreated, 30-50% treated (this percentage rises the longer it takes to receive antibiotics.)
    • Intestinal: 50% untreated, 10-15% treated
    • Cutaneous: 20% untreated.
  • Treatment and Vaccine: Antibiotics such as Ciprofloxacin and Doxycycline are available through the centers for disease control, the sooner one receives treatments the higher the chance that they will survive.
  • Inhalation: Initial Flu like symptoms such as; fever, headaches, abdominal pain, chest pain, vomiting, and coughing, but with no nasal congestion. Eventually it will lead up to severe respiratory problems, where the victims will die of asphyxiation from the lungs filling up with blood and fluids.
  • Intestinal: Begins with abdominal pain, bloody diarrhea, nausea, vomiting, fever, sore throat and a painful ulcer at the base of the tongue.
  • Cutaneous: At first red itchy bumps begin to form all over the body, then they collapse into painful ulcers which later scab over.
  1. Cover your nose and mouth with fabric, wet fabric if possible, this will filter out a portion of the deadly spores.
  2. Leave area of attack immediately.
  3. Take shallow breaths or if possible, hold your breath until you leave the area of attack.
  4. Limit your movement from a contaminated area to a secure area. Constant movement will spread the deadly spores. Once you reach a safe area remove your exposed clothing and place them in sealed plastic bags.
  5. Take a cold (hot or warm water may open pores) shower as soon as possible with copious amounts of soap. Wash your eyes with a saline solution or just warm water.
  6. Await antibiotic treatment. The key to survival is early antibiotic treatment.

biotrrorism6

Glanders

  • Organism Responsible (Type): Burkholderia maller (Bacteria)
  • Method of Infection: Inhalation, Cutaneous/Mucous membranes
  • Incubation Period
    • Inhalation: 10-15 days
    • Cutaneous/Mucous membrane: 1-5 days
  • Lethality: Nearly 100% within 1 month, without any treatment. Rapid medical attention would likely decrease the chances, however little or no medical data is available.
  • Treatment and Vaccine: No vaccine available. Antibiotics like, combined Amoxicillin and Clavulanate, Bactrim, Ceftazidime, or Tetracycline must be consumed for 50-150 days to effectively purge the toxin.
  • Inhalation: Begins with fevers, chills, sweating, headaches, body aches, chest pain and congestion. Later the neck glands begin to swell and pneumonia will develop. Painful open sores start to develop along the internal organs and mucous membranes. Dark pus-filled rashes may also form.
  • Cutaneous/Mucous membranes: Painful ulcers along the point of entry, and swollen lymph nodes start to form. Increased mucous production from the nose and mouth.
  1. Cover your nose and mouth with fabric, wet fabric if possible, this will filter out a portion of the deadly spores.
  2. Leave area of attack immediately.
  3. Take shallow breaths or if possible, hold your breath until you leave the area of attack.
  4. Wash skin with soap and water.
  5. Run your eyes through warm running water for 10-15 minutes.
  6. Await medical treatment from response teams. If you begin developing a fever, seek medical attention immediately.

bioterrorism7

Ricin

  • Organism Responsible (Type): Ricinuss communis (Plant derived toxin)
  • Method of Infection: Inhalation, Intestinal, Injection
  • Incubation Period
    • Inhalation/Intestinal/Injection: 2-8 hours
  • Lethality: With a standard high dose, lethality becomes a devastating 97%. Most victims will die within 24-72 hours after the initial symptoms.
  • Treatment and Vaccine: No treatment available except activated charcoal for ingested Ricin. Vaccine is experimental at the moment.
  • Inhalation: Sudden onset of fever, cough, chest pain, and nausea. Then one begins to feel joint pain and a shortness of breath. Respiratory problems begin to get more severe as time passes.
  • Ingestion/Injection: Abdominal pain, nausea, bloody diarrhea, and vomiting.
  1. Cover your nose and mouth with fabric, wet fabric if possible, this will filter out a portion of the deadly spores.
  2. Leave area of attack immediately.
  3. Take shallow breaths or, if possible, hold your breath until you leave the area of attack.
  4. Wash your body, clothes and contaminated surfaces with soap and water, or a mild bleach solution if you have become directly exposed.
  5. Await instructions from medical response teams.

Gas Attacks

Gas attacks have been around since the 5th century BC, when they were used as chemical warfare.[1] Today, the release of toxic gas might also be the product of a terrorist attack or industrial accident.[2][3] While you should hope that you never have to experience this, knowing how to recognize and respond to such a threat could save your life.

bioterrorism9

Chlorine Gas

  1. Be aware of any yellow-green gas floating around with the strong smell of bleach. Some soldiers in WWI described it as pepper and pineapple. If you are exposed to chlorine gas, you may have trouble breathing or seeing and will feel a burning sensation.
  2. Move quickly into an area with clean air in order to minimize exposure to the gas.
    • If indoors, exit the building as quickly as possible.
    • If outdoors, move to the highest ground. Since chlorine gas is more dense than air, it will sink to the ground.
  3. Grab a cotton pad or any fabric and soak it in urine. Hold it up to your nose as a mask. The Canadian military survived the first large-scale chlorine gas attack in WWI by using urine instead of water, under the presumption that the urine crystallizes the gas.
  4. Remove all clothing that may have been exposed to the gas, being sure not to let the clothes touch your face or head. Cut the clothes off so that they don’t need to make additional contact with your skin as they’re peeled off. Seal the clothes in plastic bags.
  5. Clean your body thoroughly with a lot of soap and water. Rinse your eyes with water if your vision is blurred or your eyes burn; if you wear contact lenses, throw them away. However, water mixed with Chlorine gas can turn into Hydrochloric acid, so be careful.
  6. Call emergency services and wait for help to arrive.

bioterrorism8

Mustard Gas

  1. Be aware of a usually colorless gas that smells like mustard, garlic, or onions–but note it doesn’t always have an odor. If you are exposed to mustard gas, you may notice the following symptoms but they may not appear until 2 to 24 hours after exposure:
    • redness and itching of skin, eventually changes to yellow blistering
    • irritation of eyes; if exposure is severe, there may be light sensitivity, severe pain, or temporary blindness
    • irritation of respiratory tract (runny nose, sneezing, hoarseness, bloody nose, sinus pain, shortness of breath, and cough)
  2. Move from the area from where it was released onto higher ground, as mustard gas is heaver than air.
  3. Remove all clothing that may have been exposed to the gas, being sure not to let the clothes touch your face or head. Cut the clothes off so that they don’t need to make additional contact with your skin as they’re peeled off. Seal the clothes in plastic bags.
  4. Rinse any exposed parts of your body with plain water. Eyes should be flushed for 10-15 minutes. Don’t cover them with bandages; however, sunglasses or goggles are fine.
  5. Call emergency services and wait for help to arrive.

Tips

  • Purchase and use “Self Powered Radios” AND “Self Powered Flashlights”. In anyemergency, especially one of this magnitude, batteries will be unavailable. Get this equipment AHEAD of time. These devices will keep you informed and you’ll also have reliable lighting as well. The latest of these designs will also charge your cell phones as well.
  • Listen to qualified medical responders at all times, even if their instructions contradict this article. This article MAY NOT be 100% accurate, and medical responders probably know best.

Sources

SHTFandGO.COM