Chemical Attack

The possibility of a widespread chemical attack is relatively unlikely in the United States at the present time because dispersing chemical or biological agents over a very large area is inefficient, pretty hard to do, and because we have better prepared for the possibility of it happening.

While less likely to affect a large geographic area at any one time, any chemical attack using toxic agents is still a very serious deadly threat that could happen. We never know when we might experience a terrorist attack. Chemical and biological agents can be released into the air from an airplane, from an explosive or other device, into a water supply, or by other means.

You may be home, at work or elsewhere when an attack occurs. Remember that fleeing an area is not always the best thing to do. If you are at home, school, or work during a chemical or biological emergency, it may be safer to stay put.

Following the same emergency preparedness plan you have in place for natural disasters and other emergencies and having basic supplies on hand is the first step in your total preparedness plan.

Also take these things into consideration;

1) Be certain your family can contact one another at all times. Write down every family member's telephone numbers for school, work, home, and mobile phones on a blank index card. Include other family member's and neighbor’s numbers. Write down each person’s blood type and any other medical or health issues that you would want an emergency responder or Good Samaritan to know.

Explain to your kids and family members that you want them to carry this index card with them all the time and why. Have them keep one in their backpack and school locker. Everyone else keep one in your wallet or purse. Do this because most of us keep our friends and family’s phone numbers in the address book of our mobile device. If we lost our phone or the battery was dead, most of us wouldn’t remember everyone’s number, especially when we were in need of it the most such as during a chemical attack or other act of terrorism.

2) Program an entry in your mobile phone address book for “ICE”. This stands for “In case of emergency” contact. Emergency personnel know to look at your mobile phone’s address book and contacts for this information if you are in an accident. Program your nearest friend or family member's telephone number. Pick someone who will be most readily available to respond to your needs in case of an emergency.

3) Stay informed. Be sure to have a portable battery powered radio and also watch local television news for safety alerts and situation updates. If safe to do so, communicate with neighbors or others in or near your location.

4) Heed the advice and warnings of police and emergency personnel. Lives can be saved if we follow this advice. Remember that being prepared yourself and reducing the odds that you will need assistance means emergency personnel can devote their efforts to the people who are most in-need during any emergency situation.

5) In case of chemical attack or bioterrorism, have protective masks, plastic sheeting and duct tape to seal doors and windows. Do not go outdoors. Stay in an interior room away from outside walls. Do not let outside air enter your home. Keep doors and windows closed and sealed.

6) Turn off your furnace, air conditioning or other ventilation system, close fireplace dampers and seal around the fireplace opening if possible. Use duct tape to seal the kitchen exhaust fan if it vents outside the home. If you have a natural gas operated clothes dryer, keep the appliance door closed and tape around the door opening. If safe to go outside, tape off the vent at the outside wall.

7) In case of contamination to your local water supply by chemical attack turn off the supply valve to the home so contaminated water cannot enter your plumbing system. Use water in the water heater and plumbing for emergency use. See the Water instructions shown in the Supply List section.

8) In any mass emergency such as a terrorist act, it is best to stay where you are if you can be reasonably safe there. We are often better off staying put rather than trying to make it home or elsewhere. If you do decide to travel, be aware of any additional dangers or hazards you may encounter. Watch roadways for damage. Follow local emergency management personnel and law enforcement instructions.

Some consider a nuclear threat to be the greater worry for us now. Sam Nunn, a former chairman of the Senate Armed Services Committee says; "We are in a new arms race... between terrorist efforts to acquire nuclear, biological, and chemical weapons, and our efforts to stop them."

Some believe terrorists will eventually buy or steal one from Russia, which has been reported to have a stockpile of 22,000 warheads that it inherited upon the collapse of the former Soviet Union. Howard Baker who was President Ronald Reagan's chief of staff said Russian weapons were so "poorly controlled and poorly stored" that he was surprised "the world isn't in a near state of hysteria about the danger."

It's also been reported that Osama bin Laden and al Qaida had been trying to obtain nuclear material since 1993.

Iran's current regime and several others pose serious threats of nuclear danger so we continue to watch these situations carefully.

more to come on Chemical Attack and Terrorism