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Chemical Threat

A chemical attack could utilize chemicals specifically designed as weapons, such as nerve gas, or common commercial chemicals, such as chlorine.  The chemicals would most likely be gases or aerosols (that is, a mist of poisonous liquid).  If the attack is outdoors, the wind will spread the chemicals but will also quickly disperse them.  The key to surviving a chemical attack is to quickly get to a place where the air will remain clean. 

How to Identify a Chemical Attack

  • Some poisonous gases have an odor but many do not
  • Most will not be visible
  • The most likely first sign that you have been exposed to dangerous chemicals will be symptoms felt by you and others around you; depending on the chemical used, these symptoms may include:
    • Stinging eyes and throat
    • Running eyes
    • Coughing
    • Nausea
    • Loss of coordination

How to Prepare for a Chemical Attack

How to Respond to a Chemical Attack

  • You must find clean air quickly
  • If the attack is outside:
    • Stay indoors or instruct employees to go into the nearest building (unless you believe the poison gas is coming from that building)
    • Gather in an interior room and close the doors and windows
    • Cover air vents if possible
    • Upper floors will be safer than lower floors
    • Eventually, the poison gas outside will clear and it will be safer to go outside than to stay in the building;  if no one outside gives an all-clear, then carefully check through windows for outdoor activity before going outdoors again
  • Poison gas may be released inside a building. If you are inside and believe you are under chemical attack, the attack is most likely from inside your building
    • Look out a window; if people outside are behaving normally, the attack is from the inside
    • Instruct employees to open a window if they can do so and breathe fresh air
    • Instruct employees leave the building by the most direct route if windows are not accessible;  if it is faster to get to the roof than the street, evacuate to the roof
    • If you move into a section of the building where symptoms of others are worse than yours, you may be moving into an area of more concentrated poison gas; use another route
    • As soon as you have found clean air, call 9-1-1 to alert authorities of the attack

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