Chemical Threat

A chemical attack is the deliberate release of a toxic gas, liquid or solid that can poison people and the environment.

Before a Chemical Attack

  • Make sure that your Ready kit includes supplies that can be protective during a chemical attack, including:
    • A roll of duct tape and scissors.
    • Plastic for doors, windows and vents for the room in which you will shelter in place. To save critical time during an emergency, pre-measure and cut the plastic sheeting for each opening.

During a Chemical Attack

  • Possible signs of a chemical attack include:
    • Many people suffering from watery eyes, twitching, choking, having trouble breathing or losing coordination.
    • Many sick or dead birds, fish or small animals are also cause for suspicion.
  • If you see signs of chemical attack, find clean air quickly:
    • Try to define the impacted area or where the chemical is coming from, if possible.
    • Take immediate action to get away.
    • If the chemical is inside a building where you are, get out of the building without passing through the contaminated area, if possible.
    • If you can’t get out of the building or find clean air without passing through the area where you see signs of a chemical attack, it may be better to move as far away as possible and shelter-in-place.
    • If you are outside, quickly find the fastest way to find clean air. Consider getting out of the area or going inside the closest building to “shelter-in-place.”
  • If you are instructed to remain in your home or office building, you should:
    • Close doors and windows and turn off all ventilation, including furnaces, air conditioners, vents and fans.
    • Seek shelter in an internal room and take your Ready kit.
    • Seal the room with duct tape and plastic sheeting.
    • Listen to your radio for instructions from authorities.
  • If you think you may have been exposed to a chemical:
    • Remove clothing immediately.
    • Look for a hose, fountain, or any source of water. Wash with soap if possible, being sure not to scrub the chemical into your skin.
    • Seek emergency medical attention.
    • If your eyes are watering, your skin is stinging and you are having trouble breathing, you may have been exposed to a chemical.

For more information, see “Are you Ready?” from Federal Emergency Management Agency.