Chemical or Biological Attacks

Chemical warfare agents are poisonous vapors, aerosols, liquids or solids that have toxic effects on people, animals or plants. Some chemical agents may be odorless and tasteless. They can have an immediate effect (a few seconds to a few minutes) or a delayed effect (several hours to several days). Immediate symptoms of exposure to chemical agents may include blurred vision, eye irritation, difficulty breathing and nausea.

Biological agents are organisms or toxins that can kill or incapacitate people, livestock and crops. In many biological attacks, people will not know they have been exposed to an agent. In such situations, the first evidence of an attack may be when you notice symptoms by exposure or government authorities may inform you of potential exposure, in which case you should closely follow their instructions for testing and treatment.

If there is a chemical or biological attack:

  • Implement your company's shelter-in-place plan, unless you are instructed to evacuate the area.
  • You should not go outside the shelter until authorities announce it is safe to do so.
  • Tenants will have to account for their employees, as it may be necessary to know which ones were at work and therefore exposed, and which ones were out of the office.

If you are exposed to a chemical or biological attack:

  • If possible, seek immediate medical attention
  • Remove all clothing (with scissors, if possible, to avoid contact with the eyes, nose and mouth).
  • Gently wash your face, hair and hands and blot other contaminated areas with soap and water, then thoroughly rinse with water. DO NOT use hot water.
  • Remove eyeglasses and contact lenses.
  • Flush eyes with significant amounts of water.
  • Don't scrape or rub affected areas.
  • Place exposed clothing and shoes in tightly sealed container.
  • Change into loose fitting uncontaminated clothes (clothing stored in drawers or closets is likely to be uncontaminated).
  • Advise everyone who comes into contact with you that you may have been exposed to a toxic substance.
  • Use extreme caution when helping others who have been exposed to chemical agents.
  • Proceed to a medical facility for screening as soon as possible.

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