Thanks to Syrian President Bashar al-Assad, chemical weapons are back in the news, and not in a good way. The Sicko of Syria, who has recently been getting his rear end handed to him by a rebel uprising, decided (allegedly) to bombard a few Damascus neighborhoods with sarin-tipped mortar shells. That’s where the rebels were hiding and, like any other self-respecting mentally defective megalomaniac, poisoning women, children, and other civilians was an acceptable side effect.
All of this unpleasantness begs the question that Jason Hartman has been asking: What should you do in the event of a poison gas attack? Chances are it will be coming to our shores eventually. After all, we used to think that Israel was the only democracy that had to deal with terrorist attacks up front and personal. 9/11 showed us the price of complacency. But when it comes to chemical warfare, here’s what we’re dealing with.
Tear gas – used by the police to disperse riots, it’ll burn your eyes, throat, nose, and skin but probably won’t leave lasting effects.
Chlorine gas – first used by those wacky Germans during World War I, chlorine gas smells like pepper and pineapples, sometimes bleach, and can be seen as a yellow-green mist. Deadly? Yep.
Mustard gas – another chemical used by the Germans in World War I, mustard gas often takes hours to show any effects, which leaves victims open to massive exposures. Deadly? Yep.
Exposure to any of these substances requires a quick response.
1. Move quickly into a clean area. Seek high ground. Mustard and chlorine gas are heavier than air and will sink.
2. Soak any fabric in urine and cover your nose with it. Urine works better than water at crystalizing the gas, especially chlorine.
3. Remove all clothing and seal them in plastic bags. Cut them off, rather than peeling, to limit exposure to the skin.
4. Rinse yourself thoroughly with plain water. BE CAREFUL, THOUGH! Water and chlorine turn into hydrochloric acid, which will leave you in even worse shape than the original exposure.
Tear, mustard, and chlorine gas seem almost quaint, however, compared to Assad’s chemical of choice – sarin. This bad boy is 26 times more deadly than cyanide and can kill in as little as one minute. Exposure begins with difficulty breathing and proceeds to loss of bodily functions – vomiting, defecating, urinating – and eventually ends with a series of convulsive spasms. Even very low doses can result in permanent brain damage.
Nice work, Bashar. You and Putin deserve each other. (Top image: Flickr |
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The Holistic Survival Team