Emergency Management

Grant County Hazard


Biological Threat

A biological attack is the deliberate release of germs or other biological substances that can make you sick. Many agents must be inhaled, enter through a cut in the skin or be eaten to make you sick. Some biological agents, such as anthrax, do not cause contagious diseases. Others, like the smallpox virus, can result in diseases you can catch from other people.


If there is a Biological Threat


Unlike an explosion, a biological attack may or may not be immediately obvious. While it is possible that you will see signs of a biological attack, as was sometimes the case with the anthrax mailings, it is perhaps more likely that local health care workers will report a pattern of unusual illness or there will be a wave of sick people seeking emergency medical attention. You will probably learn of the danger through an emergency radio or TV broadcast, or some other signal used in your community. You might get a telephone call or emergency response workers may come to your door.


In the event of a biological attack, public health officials may not immediately be able to provide information on what you should do. It will take time to determine exactly what the illness is, how it should be treated, and who is in danger. However, you should watch TV, listen to the radio, or check the Internet for official news including the following: 

  • Are you in the group or area authorities consider in danger? 

  • What are the signs and symptoms of the disease? 

  • Are medications or vaccines being distributed? 

  • Where? Who should get them? 

  • Where should you seek emergency medical care if you become sick?

During a declared biological emergency: 

  • If a family member becomes sick, it is important to be suspicious. 

  • Do not assume, however, that you should go to a hospital emergency room or that any illness is the result of the biological attack. Symptoms of many common illnesses may overlap. 

  • Use common sense, practice good hygiene and cleanliness to avoid spreading germs, and seek medical advice. 

  • Consider if you are in the group or area authorities believe to be in danger. 

  • If your symptoms match those described and you are in the group considered at risk, immediately seek emergency medical attention.

If you are potentially exposed:

  • Follow instructions of doctors and other public health officials. 

  • If the disease is contagious expect to receive medical evaluation and treatment. You may be advised to stay away from others or even deliberately quarantined. 

  • For non-contagious diseases, expect to receive medical evaluation and treatment.

If you become aware of an unusual and suspicious substance nearby: 

  • Quickly get away. 

  • Protect yourself. Cover your mouth and nose with layers of fabric that can filter the air but still allow breathing. Examples include two to three layers of cotton such as a t-shirt, handkerchief or towel. Otherwise, several layers of tissue or paper towels may help. 

  • Wash with soap and water. 

  • Contact authorities. 

  • Watch TV, listen to the radio, or check the Internet for official news and information including what the signs and symptoms of the disease are, if medications or vaccinations are being distributed and where you should seek medical attention if you become sick.

  • If you become sick seek emergency medical attention.


Chemical Threat 


A chemical attack is the deliberate release of a toxic gas, liquid or solid that can poison people and the environment.


Possible Signs of Chemical Threat 

  • Many people suffering from watery eyes, twitching, choking, having trouble breathing or losing coordination.

  • Many sick or dead birds, fish or small animals are also cause for suspicion.

If You See Signs of Chemical Attack: 

  • Find Clean Air Quickly

  • Quickly try to define the impacted area or where the chemical is coming from, if possible.

  • Take immediate action to get away.

  • If the chemical is inside a building where you are, get out of the building without passing through the contaminated area, if possible.

  • If you can't get out of the building or find clean air without passing through the area where you see signs of a chemical attack, it may be better to move as far away as possible and shelter-in-place..

  • If you are outside, quickly decide what is the fastest way to find clean air. Consider if you can get out of the area or if you should go inside the closest building and "shelter-in-place."

  • If You Think You Have Been Exposed to a Chemical

  • If your eyes are watering, your skin is stinging, and you are having trouble breathing, you may have been exposed to a chemical.

If you think you may have been exposed to a chemical, strip immediately and wash.

  • Look for a hose, fountain, or any source of water, and wash with soap if possible, being sure not to scrub the chemical into your skin.

  • Seek emergency medical attention.




If There is an Explosion:

  • Take shelter against your desk or a sturdy table. 

  • Exit the building ASAP. 

  • Do not use elevators. 

  • Check for fire and other hazards. 

  • Take your emergency supply kit if time allows.

If There is a Fire: 

  • Exit the building ASAP. 

  • Crawl low if there is smoke 

  • Use a wet cloth, if possible, to cover your nose and mouth. 

  • Use the back of your hand to feel the upper, lower, and middle parts of closed doors. 

  • If the door is not hot, brace yourself against it and open slowly. 

  • If the door is hot, do not open it. Look for another way out. 

  • Do not use elevators 

  • If you catch fire, do not run. Stop-drop-and-roll to put out the fire. 

  • If you are at home, go to a previously designated meeting place. 

  • Account for your family members and carefully supervise small children. 

  • Never go back into a burning building.

If You Are Trapped in Debris: 

  • If possible, use a flashlight to signal your location to rescuers.

  • Avoid unnecessary movement so that you don't kick up dust.  

  • Cover your nose and mouth with anything you have on hand. (Dense-weave cotton material can act as a good filter. Try to breathe through the material.) 

  • Tap on a pipe or wall so that rescuers can hear where you are. 

  • If possible, use a whistle to signal rescuers. 

  • Shout only as a last resort. Shouting can cause a person to inhale dangerous amounts of dust.


Nuclear Threat 


A nuclear blast is an explosion with intense light and heat, a damaging pressure wave and widespread radioactive material that can contaminate the air, water and ground surfaces for miles around. During a nuclear incident, it is important to avoid radioactive material, if possible. While experts may predict at this time that a nuclear attack is less likely than other types, terrorism by its nature is unpredictable.


If there is advanced warning of an attack:

  • Take cover immediately, as far below ground as possible, though any shield or shelter will help protect you from the immediate effects of the blast and the pressure wave.

If there is no warning: 

  • Quickly assess the situation.

  • Consider if you can get out of the area or if it would be better to go inside a building to limit the amount of radioactive material you are exposed to.

  • If you take shelter go as far below ground as possible, close windows and doors, turn off air conditioners, heaters or other ventilation systems. Stay where you are, watch TV, listen to the radio, or check the Internet for official news as it becomes available.

  • To limit the amount of radiation you are exposed to, think about shielding, distance and time.

    • Shielding: If you have a thick shield between yourself and the radioactive materials more of the radiation will be absorbed, and you will be exposed to less.

    • Distance: The farther away you are away from the blast and the fallout the lower your exposure.

    • Time: Minimizing time spent exposed will also reduce your risk.

  • Use available information to assess the situation. If there is a significant radiation threat, health care authorities may or may not advise you to take potassium iodide. Potassium iodide is the same stuff added to your table salt to make it iodized. It may or may not protect your thyroid gland, which is particularly vulnerable, from radioactive iodine exposure. Plan to speak with your health care provider in advance about what makes sense for your family.


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