How to React in Case of a Chemical Attack


Having a family and people that rely on you for their protection and safety gives you a different outlook on life and your responsibilities. After seeing the shocking news about the chemical attacks in Syria many parents asked themselves “What if this happened here?” and the answer is: “We really don’t know”. That’s when, being a mother of three, I decided to take a closer look at my options in case of such an eventuality.  What can I do to protect my family from a chemical attack? I can be prepared and being prepared means knowing the facts.  From the ones I’ve gathered, this is the plan I’ve put in place for my family.

At Home

Can I seal my home so chemical gases can’t penetrate my family’s living space? Yes I can. My first step is to make sure that my home is protected from intruders who could, potentially, disrupt the seal and allow the lethal chemical to enter my home.

  • A good option for this is to install a home security system such as offered by ADT Security Systems in Phoenix, Arizona. This is a good idea in any case. There are a lot of bad people out there and nobody wants them in their home.
  • Designate a room in your home as the safe room. It should be on the upper level of your home and as far to the center of the building as it can be. The room should have as few windows as possible, having none at all would be better. If there is an adjacent bathroom that is great, but the same rules apply about windows and location.
  • If there is no bathroom nearby, have a camping toilet ready to use. This, together with dry food supplies, flashlight, battery-operated radio, water and hand sanitizer should always be stored in the designated room.
  • You can also get gasmasks or, even better, hazmat suits in case the chemical that was used lingers and you have to leave your home.  If you have a land-line, have a phone installed in your safe room, if you only use a cellphone make sure to have a spare charger stocked with the rest of your survival gear. In case of a chemical emergency you probably won’t have time to get these things.
  •  In case disaster strikes turn off all heaters and air-conditioners, arm your alarm and take your family to the safe room.
  •  You can use plastic and duct-tape to seal the doors from the inside, covering all seams between door and wall. Don’t forget the door knob.

Being isolated in a room from the outside world can be your ticket to survival and you should only leave when you know for sure that the danger has passed. Various chemicals have various dissipation times and act in different ways. That’s why it’s important you listen to the radio for updates on the situation and use your phone to call emergency responders to find out what the status is.

In the Car

You can’t seal your car like you could a home but you can make do with what you have and hope for the best. If you are aware of a chemical attack taking place in vicinity of where you are;

  • close your windows,
  •  turn off the air-conditioner
  • Keep your radio tuned
  • Drive as far away from the area that’s compromised in an orderly fashion, don’t speed or run traffic lights, you’re trying to survive not kill yourself in another way.
  • Stay in your car until you  are positive that you are no longer in range of the chemical
  • Listen for indications of what kind of chemical was used and how it dissipates, you don’t want to get away only to find that you’ve brought the chemical with you on your car’s surface.
  • When you exit your car don’t touch any outside parts of it before you’re sure the chemical doesn’t harm on contact.


Most chemicals are created to attack your body through the airways; however, some can be absorbed through the skin as well. If you are outside and a chemical attack takes place your best options are to;

  • Run away from the source as quickly as you can
  • Breathe through anything you have at hand to filter the air, your t-shirt, your sweater, your jacket or scarf. Anything is better than inhaling the pure chemical and it could at least limit the amount of chemicals you inhale.
  • Find shelter – running behind a building that blocks the chemical for a little bit can make all the difference
  • Look for emergency responders to indicate where you should go, there may be facilities in your vicinity to wait out the chemical attack
  • Once you’ve reached safety remove your clothing, this is no time to be modest. Your clothes may have traces of the chemical on them and still harm you.

Above all else, always be aware of your surroundings and trust your instincts. If it doesn’t look right it probably isn’t right. Keep up with the news. You want to know what’s going on in the world so you can be prepared to defend yourself and your loved ones against the dangers the world, unfortunately, has in store for us. To some it may sound like the paranoid ramblings of a mother hen, but I know there are others who feel exactly the same and would do anything to keep their families safe.  Heads up and masks on y’all!

naomi-broderickAbout the author:

Naomi Broderick is the mother of three and a professional writer. When she’s not wrestling with kids, writing or prepping for disasters, she’s resting from all of it. Phew!

Author: Damian Brindle

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