CBRN – The chemical part

urbangasPeople may associate CBRN as being totally focused on warfare or terrorist attack. This is incorrect as chemicals are a common feature of the modern world so industrial accidents and natural incidents can put large quantities of toxic gas or material into the atmosphere or into the ground water.

Most of us have no access to the military graded CBRN protection which includes detection and identification of the agents, clothing (MOPP), filtration (cleansing water and air), and most importantly the drugs, antidotes, or treatment facilities needed to treat exposure.

So is it all a one way trip to hell for the “humble civilian”?
Not necessarily but whatever actions you take need to be quick, robust, SELFISH, and heavily enforced.

You need to think very hard about that for a moment.
In all cases there will be no time for sentiment, friendship, or moral “weakness”.

You MUST sort you out first!

Long Article warning.
Stop here and make coffee!

Types of contamination. (Note this is no way a complete list)
I mentioned natural incidents and in the UK that could include the release of “Sewer type gases” which may include hydrogen sulfide, ammonia, methane, carbon dioxide, sulfur dioxide, and natural methane. A LETHAL explosive, choking mix of gases.

Clean water in survival is everything but water contamination in the UK has included:-
Sewage (frost or land disruption of pipework) and flood waters overwhelming protection or spilling into reservoirs.
Aluminum sulphate was a notable industrial incident in Camelford UK, 1988, when 20 tonnes was dumped into the water supply.

Traces of arsenic, radium, aluminum, copper, lead, mercury, cadmium, barium, zinc are often found in water supplies
Various Hormones, Nitrates, and Pesticides occur too.
Even in minute quantities they can cause some harm.
All this and not one  mention of chemical warfare!

From the infrastructure and modern living:-
Sewer gas again
Carbon monoxide (CO) from poor combustion in a confined space.
Gas Leaks (methane CH4) from your domestic gas supply,
Bottled gas leaks, butane, propane.
Gasoline fumes from vehicles and fuel storage.

Not CBRN? You’d be wrong if you are thinking that.
Domestic Gas and other fumes can shut you down as fast as chemicals and thus need to be considered.

From industry you’ve got industrial contaminants affecting land, water, and the air.
From farming, their constant cycles of spraying of pesticides and agricultural chemicals and fertilizers. The over spray draining into drainage ditches or carried on the air. (Plenty of personal experience of that in Lincolnshire).

I’m stopping here because you should be getting the idea that contamination can occur from anywhere.

Looking at this brief list, common contaminants fall into three main ‘delivery’ groups. Liquid, Airborne, or waterborne contaminates in droplet, aerosol, or pure gaseous form. EXACTLY the same way MILITARY AGENTS can get to you.

Yet lets not go military yet, what about UK law enforcement?
They use CS Spray, PAVA. (aka Captor), and OC (pepper spray).

From the EU or US you might come across Mace (CN).
Yet there are three other ‘non lethal’ groups which are included for completeness.

Vomiting agents.
Basically they cause sneezing, coughing, headache, salivation, and vomiting.
Adamsite (DM), Diphenylchloroarsine (DA), and Diphenylcyanoarsine (DC)

A “famous” one created by the Israeli’s is SKUNK.
It smells like sewage and rotting substances.

Psychological Agents
BZ (aka Buzz), SN (aka PCP), K (aka LSD or Acid)

All designed to make your life hell in a riot control scenario but even if you aren’t involved, you may be a victim of their use as they spread to the winds.

OK, time to go military / terrorist sort of thing.
All banned by international law / treaty. (Which basically means jack sh#t).
There are four types of agents in “common” use.
Nerve, Blister, Blood, and choking agents.

Nerve Agents can basically shut your bodies functions down
Examples include:-
Sarin GB (inhalation).
Tabun GA, Soman GD (inhalation or skin contact)
Cyclohexyl methylphosphonofluoridate GF (skin contact and inhalation)
VX, a persistent nasty substance (skin contact and inhalation)

Sarin and VX are odorless, I don’t know about the rest of them.
All need drugs not readily available in a high street pharmacy.
You need that military grade auto-injector and the pre-emptive chem pack !

Blister Agents injure skin, eyes, and airways.
Examples include Mustard and Lewisite.
Mustard smells of garlic or mustard
Lewisite smells like Geraniums (a flower)
Both need you to wash the stuff off, don’t inhale it, and cover your eyes.

Blood Agents cause your blood to malfunction and cause heart problems.
Examples include Hydrogen Cyanide and Cyanogen Chloride
Both smell like burnt Almonds
First aid is a nightmare without a cyanide kit, oxygen, heck a full resuscitation suite may be needed for bad contamination!

Choking Agents. Are much more severe than riot gases!
Examples include Chlorine and Phosgene.
Chlorine smells of bleach, phosgene like freshly mown hay
First aid is get contaminated clothing off and supportive care i.e. oxygen.

Halfway Point!
Refill Coffee

Scared the poo out of you yet?
In the services it scared the poo out of me!
Add all the ‘preventative’ chems they said you needed to take and the effects of some of that? All I can say is I’m glad I was never exposed to the various soups and gases on offer (apart from CS and OC)

Lets now talk about a sensible no frills approach to helping yourself.
Don a mask, protect your eyes, and don’t TOUCH or let it touch you i.e cover up and don gloves!

Don a mask, but what sort?
The best you can afford (provided it can cope with everything).
Full face is best IMO except ultimately it’s down to that filter cartridge (and what you can afford).
Standards, ratings, and coding on filters vary from manufacturer to manufacturer (not unsurprisingly) and military rated masks not a standard high street item.

Hows about military surplus?
It’s an option yet all filters have a shelf life and over time the older masks may degrade thus lose their effectiveness.

I know you want a single recommendation but I’m not giving one.
Why? Because there is so much choice.

Protect your eyes, the windows to your soul.
Maybe they are but they are a permanently damp thin “skinned” organ and gunk sticks to damp. Besides if chems get into eyes you could be blinded!
The best thing is goggles sealing in your eyes. Swimming syle works with CS gas (unless you wear glasses).
You can see why I like full face respirators now.

Controversially I also was advised to pull a LARGE clear plastic bag over your head IF ALL ELSE FAILS AND YOU HAVE NOTHING ELSE. Thus you can see out, and air can get in the bottom.
Something on the lines of a fire hood.
p.s. Don’t tape it round or secure it any other way tightly to your neck, you’ll suffocate!

Is that a good idea though?
I tried it when burning leaves and it sort of worked.
As said, better than nothing I suppose.
The one advantage I could see was sometimes the contaminate is in droplet form.
A plastic bagged head would help to keep the gunk off your head out of your hair and covers your neck. I’ll come back to that in a moment.

Cover up.
Even if it’s a gas it’s still likely to bond with damp and sweaty skin is “damp”.
If it’s in droplet or even as a fluid, keeping it off your skin is a good thing.

So, a hooded impermeable cover is great!
Note that word, it doesn’t mean shower proof and breathable!
PVC waterproof tops and leggings come to mind.
It’s funny though, in the middle of summer not something a lot of people carry round with them.

A DIY solution
Dustbin (trash can) liners are great. Just bag you!
Only think about it, sealing yourself in too tightly in summer will be akin to boil in the bag.

As with the “protect your eyes”, a clear plastic bag may help.
So that’s your head, arms, torso, and legs remembering to seal the covering OVER your shoes.
Umm and don’t forget your shoes!
Duct tape anyone?
Probably a bit too tough that tape but carrying a roll of low tack decorators masking tape is a bit much (or is it?)

Touching things is not wise so wear gloves.
Impermeable gloves i.e. waterproof.
Leather or wool are not good enough!
Dish washing rubber ones, nitride coated work types, and medical inspection gloves.

Immediate action drills.
There are loads of these on government web sites (except in the UK). Basically they all say the same things.

If you are inside and gas is released ‘in house’.
Get out or find clean air. Don’t forget some gases and aerosols are heavier than air so down might not be a bright idea. Could going up onto the roof work for you?

If you can’t leave quickly seal the room you are in blocking any internal vents, turning off fans and air conditioning.
Consider opening a window to let clean air in IF THE OUTSIDE IS NOT CONTAMINATED!

Wash yourself down with cool / cold water and soap.
Why cool / cold?
Hot water opens the skin pores and can increase the effectiveness of the stuff you are trying to wash off.

If you start to feel the effects, get medical help if possible.
If you see blisters, don’t break them, don’t apply greasy ointments, you may just be trapping the gunk causing the blistering.

If you are outside and gas is released.
Look for any gas plume and avoid it by walking UP WIND from it.
If you can smell it you are already in the mire!
Having said that, note the smell for identification.

Immediately don your mask.
Get inside.
Seal the room you are in turning off air conditioning, and forced air heating systems. Plastic and duct tape time folks, seal you in!

Wash yourself (preferably shower) down with cool / cold water and soap.
Why cool / cold?
Hot water opens the skin pores and can increase the effectiveness of the stuff you are trying to wash off.

Then don the full PPE gear.
Note: if you were wearing a disposable FFP3 mask outside, dump it  AFTER YOUR WASH and put on a clean one. Why don full PPE? Just because you are inside doesn’t mean you are totally safe and the poison could still seap in.

If you start to feel the effects, get medical help TO YOU if possible.
Don’t go out and seek it, that’s where the poison is and it may have persistence i.e. last a long time and coat everything you may need to touch.

If you see blisters, don’t break them, don’t apply greasy ointments, you may just be trapping the gunk causing the blistering.

Evacuation Procedures.
In all cases don’t evacuate until you are told it is safe to do so by the authorities.
Listen to your radio or watch the TV for information.
After all they should know when it is safe to do so!


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4 Responses to CBRN – The chemical part

  1. gamegetterII says:

    Good info-stuff everyone should be aware of.
    Something to consider re Russia/war.
    NATO-(mostly due to the U.S.)-is doing a whole lot of stupid things that could lead to war with Russia.
    Putin’s not stupid-Obama is playing checkers while Putin is playing chess.
    Putin has been making quite a few deals with the Chinese,many to undermine the U.S. petrodollar in an effort to replace the dollar with the Renminbi-(Yuan)- as the world’s #1 trade currency.
    Putin is also making a lot of trade deals with China-deals that would insure that Russia would be immune to U.S./E.U. sanctions-and insure Russia a steady,uninterrupted supply of fuel and materials should war break out.
    Putin wants to restore Russia to “superpower” status,which is why he’s making deals and allies.
    The Chinese have been building their fleet of submarines up steadily-to the point that the U.S. navy is concerned.
    Team bear Dragon just might be able to kick the U.S./Nato’s ass.
    U.S./E.U./NATO’s “technological superiority” doesn’t really mean all that much-a bunch of uneducated goat herders did a pretty good job of holding their own against the “greatest military the world has ever seen”.

  2. gamegetterII says:

    **Chinese have been building their fleet of submarines up steadily**

    That should be have been building their fleet of submarines,ships,and planes up steadily…
    I’ll be paying close attention to team Bear Dragon-Putin’s not playing games-he’s serious.

    • Compared to the rest of the world’s armed forces, our nations defenses are laughable, Trident or not.
      After all what good is a WMD system against terrorists or even the Russians?
      How exactly would it be deployed to stop landing craft on our beaches?
      Even if it was deployed, the MAD scenario would kick in and the UK would end up as a footnote in a history book.
      Still, we do churn out some pretty good mercs.
      Highly skilled troops, now redundant, with nothing to gain from staying in the sinking ship “HMS UK”.

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