Tuesday, April 10, 2007

Chemical Defense Gear

Duct tape and plastic sheeting were hard to get a hold of there for awhile after 9-11. It’s like every Tom, Dick and Sally ran out to get their miracle terrorism mitigation device. When the terrorist struck their neighborhood, they planned to shelter in home made safe rooms. I guess it gave them peace of mind.

Some folks go further. Some folks purchase complete chemical warfare suits to include masks, over garments, boots and gloves. As with most things, many of these folks buy it, stick it in a box or duffle bag and then “call it good”. They are now prepared for some Al-Qaeda terrorist attack.

Folks would do well to spend more time evaluating the threat. The actual threat to themselves. If terrorists use chemical weapons, to get “more bang for the buck”, they will use them in a crowded place – probably not your home. They do not have an unlimited supply. This stuff has to be fairly concentrated to work – in other words, they won’t let a cloud of nerve gas go over Nowheresville, South Dakota.


But it doesn’t have to be bad guys. It could be a train derailment or chemical plant fire just upwind from you. It could be a crashed chemical tanker truck on the highway on which you are traveling.

Something else to consider: when it is effective, it works pretty fast. In other words, you won’t have a lot of time to get away from it or into some type of protection like the suits or shelters mentioned above. You won’t always need charcoal impregnated, camouflaged military suits though. There are substitutes that could be used in a pinch depending on what the threat is.

And let me just say right here that I am not going to go into a dissertation on various forms of chemical hazards and warfare. Nor am I going to go into detail concerning the ins and out of NBC defense – if you are truly interested, this info is widely available on the web. I am merely, as always, trying to generate thought followed by action.

A cheap plastic poncho, perhaps combined with a shower cap, sunglasses and a bandanna would be much better than nothing in some scenarios. Tyvek is cheap and effective against many things. Surplus military chem suits will work against many threats - but for some threats, not for very long. They have a shelf life, a life when opened and removed from their package and a life depending on what gets on/in them.

Israeli masks are cheap but work - not well. But well enough for many threats and situations. Heck, an industrial face mask will work against a lot of threats. Rubber boots and gloves are easy to get.

So I am not pooh-poohing those who buy chemical protective gear. I’m just back on my soapbox crying out that merely having stuff is not sufficient.

Some things to think about before relying on "stuff":

1. You gotta know when it's time to don it (warning system)
2. You have to know HOW to properly don it and wear it
3. You probably need a plan to escape the area while geared up
a. Where are you going?
b. What are you using for a vehicle?
c. How are you getting there? (Routes)
d. Speed will probably be very important - and you may not ever be able to return...so you will need bug out gear too.
4. You have to know how to operate (drive, shoot, urinate, eat, sleep, walk, etc) in your gear
5. You have to know how to properly decontaminate and remove your dirty gear (and bugout vehicle, etc, etc)
6. You are probably gonna have to know good first aid
Gear is important but...
It's more than gear
Think it through
If you have any comments I’d love to hear them. If they really interest me, I may even post them. You can reach me at vikingservices@hotmail.com
Prepared Americans for a Strong America


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