Prepare for a Chemical Threat

The threat of a chemical attack is enough to send even the most steady of people into a panic - various toxic substances that you know nothing about could very quickly disrupt your way of life if a dangerous chemical falls into the wrong hands.

History - US Renounces Chemical Weapons

In 1969, U.S. President Richard Nixon renounced the use of chemical weapons - and issued a decree that halted the production and the transportation of all chemical weapons. The weapons have been destroyed, and the United States has not used chemical weapons in war since.

While war zones remain brutal, the lingering effects of chemical weapons does not stain the area or people after the conflict is over.

History - BLM and Tear Gas

During peaceful protests for the Black Lives Matter movement in late July of 2020, police used tear gas - a chemical weapon that causes pain while stimulating the nerves of one's lacrimal gland to force tears forth - on those speaking out against police brutality.

The debate rages on whether or not to use tear gas as a crowd suppressant.

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Preparing for a Chemical Threats

It's important to be prepared for a chemical threat before a warning is issued - it pays to be prepared. Even if you think you may never need it.

Keep an eye on the news and listen to reliable sources. When a warning is issued, take it seriously, and act responsibly - even if you are under duress. Build an emergency kit for your home, and make sure your loved ones have the supplies they will need if they are caught in the middle of an attack.

During a poll, multiple participants recommended carrying a mask as well as protective eye gear with them at all times. They also found it incredibly helpful to know their local areas well to allow them to calculate the nearest and fastest route out of the main area of danger.

Chemical Threat Preparedness Plan - Activity List

There are many ways to prepare yourself and your family for a chemical threat - that includes creating a family emergency plan together.

If you are under a chemical threat, it's important that you stay calm and remember to take the proper steps to stay safe - pass your plan along to others in your area, if they are willing to listen.

  • Pinpoint where the chemical is coming from
  • Get away from the chemical or affected area immediately
  • Get out of the building if the chemical is coming from inside
  • Do not inhale any unidentified or otherwise toxic mists, sprays, or fumes
  • If you cannot exit the building without potentially passing through chemical vapors or other toxic threat, get as far away from the threat as possible and shelter in place

If you are trapped inside, there are various ways to shelter in place. Grab an emergency kit if you have access to one - if you don't, try to make do with what you have available.

Taking shelter during a chemical threat

If you have been instructed to stay inside, it is best to heed that warning and limit exposure to the outside world while under threat of a chemical attack. The following are some of the best tips for sheltering in place.

  • Take shelter in a room with emergency supplies
  • Bring everyone inside - never leave children or pets outside during an emergency
  • Close all doors and windows
  • Turn off all methods of ventilation - including vents, fans, furnaces, and air conditioners
  • Seal all openings in the room with plastic sheeting and duct tape
  • Await further instructions from authority figures - listen to a TV or radio while you wait

If you are at home, now is a good time to break out your at-home emergency kit - use your plastic sheeting and duct tape to seal cracks that may be under doors to prevent harmful fumes from entering your home. Some other supplies to have with you while you shelter in your home include the following.

  • A charged cell phone
  • Games to occupy you and your family
  • Tools (such as a wrench or pliers) to shut off utilities if needed
  • Masks and eye protection

In the aftermath of a chemical threat

After the threat has passed and you are able to get to safety, you should do so immediately. Seek medical attention if you believe you have been exposed to a dangerous chemical and follow the instructions of medical professionals. They may instruct you to decontaminate yourself - to properly decontaminate yourself, follow these steps.

  • Remove all clothing and items that have had general contact with your body - including glasses and jewelry
  • You may want to cut clothing that would normally go over your head to avoid any contact with your mouth, nose, and eyes
  • Put any potentially contaminated items in sealed plastic bags
  • Wash your hands with soap and water
  • Flush your eyes with water
  • Wash your entire body with soap and water
  • Seek further medical attention immediately after decontamination

Understand that the aftermath of a chemical threat can be a frightening and traumatizing event to live through. Keep this in mind if someone close to you shows signs of distress - offer your support, and don't be afraid to reach out to someone you trust for emotional support.

Emergency Gear to Prepare for Chemical Threats

The gear you'll need to survive. The gear you'll need for evacuation is exactly the same as what you might need when you're staying home to weather out the storm.

  1. 72-hour kit or go Bag - your individual kit should have clothing, gear and supplies for 3-10 days minium
  2. Food Storage - Take a long food from your long term food storage

We cannot stress enough the importance of building an emergency supply kit and keeping it somewhere accessible. You may even want to consider assembling and carrying smaller kits for emergencies on the go.

It's important to avoid panic-buying and hoarding - gather supplies that your family will need, and adjust your emergency kits to fit your family's needs.

It's best to revisit and update your kit every year to make sure your supplies match up with your family's needs - store your kit somewhere cool and dry that is easily accessible.

  • Non-perishable food items
  • Enough water for each member of your household
  • A can opener
  • Plastic sheeting
  • Duct tape
  • Masks for each member of your family
  • Extra batteries
  • A battery powered radio
  • Flashlights
  • Fully charged power banks
  • A phone charger
  • Any medications you or your family may take
  • Pet care supplies
  • Infant care supplies
  • Extra pads and tampons
  • Comfort items for you and your children
  • Local maps
  • A whistle
  • Cash

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3 Most reviews are based on personal experience from one of our content editors. Some are based on research and the opinions of other reviewers.


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