What You Should Do

Biological Attack

Get medical aid and minimize further exposure to agents.

What You Will Experience

You are likely to learn about a biological attack only days later when people develop symptoms of the disease and public health officials inform the public of the attack.

Response Actions

  • If symptomatic, immediately go to a medical provider specified by public health officials for medical treatment.
  • If informed by public health officials of being potentially exposed, follow their guidance.
  • For contagious diseases, expect to receive medical evaluation, surveillance, or quarantine.
  • If in contact with persons symptomatic with smallpox, obtain vaccination immediately.
  • For noncontagious diseases, expect to receive medical evaluation.
  • For anthrax, obtain appropriate antibiotics quickly.
  • For all others, monitor for symptoms and, for contagious diseases, minimize contact with others.
  • Leave anthrax-affected area once on antibiotics if advised to do so by public health officials.

Chemical Attack

Find clean air very quickly.

What You Will Experience

You will know that you are in a chemical attack because you will see many people who are nauseous, have blurred vision, and have difficulty breathing or because you may see many sick or dead animals.

Response Actions

  • If attack is outdoors and you are outdoors, take shelter quickly in the closest building, close all windows/doors and shut off the flow of air. If inside, stay inside. Then, to the extent possible move upstairs, find an interior room, and seal the room. Remain inside until told it is safe to leave, and then ventilate and vacate the shelter immediately.
  • If attack is indoors, follow chemical attack plans specific to your building. If these are not available, open windows and breathe fresh air. If open windows are not accessible, evacuate (using escape hood if available) by stairs to street or roof.
  • Once protected from chemical agent exposure, decontaminate by removing clothes and showering.
  • When conditions are safe to move about freely, seek medical treatment.

Nuclear Attack

Avoid radioactive fallout. Evacuate the fallout zone quickly, if not possible, seek best available shelter.

What You Will Experience

You will know that you are in a nuclear attack by the bright flash, loud explosion, widespread destruction, intense heat, strong winds, and the rising of a mushroom cloud.

Response Actions

  • Move out of the path of the radioactive fallout cloud as quickly as possible (less than 10 minutes when in immediate blast zone) and then find medical care immediately.
  • If it is not possible to move out of the path of the radioactive fallout cloud, take shelter as far underground as possible or if underground shelter is not available, seek shelter in the upper floors of a multistory building.
  • Find ways to cover skin, nose, and mouth if it does not impede either evacuating the area or taking shelter.
  • Decontaminate as soon as possible, once protected from the fallout.
  • If outside the radioactive fallout area, still take shelter to avoid any residual radiation.

Radiological Attack

Avoid inhaling dust that could be radioactive.

What You Will Experience

You will know that an explosion has occurred by the blast and damage to buildings, but you will not know immediately whether it involves radioactive contamination.

Response Actions

  • If an explosion occurs outdoors or you are informed of an outside release of radiation and you are outside, cover nose and mouth and seek indoor shelter. If you are inside an undamaged building, stay there. Close windows and doors and shut down ventilation systems. Exit shelter when told it is safe.
  • If an explosion occurs inside your building or you are informed of a release of radiation, cover nose and mouth and go outside immediately.
  • Decontaminate by removing clothing and showering.
  • Relocate outside the contaminated zone, only if instructed to do so by public health officials.

This information was gained from "Individual Preparedness Response to Chemical, Radiological, Nuclear, and Biological Terrorist Attacks: A Quick Guide". Lynn E. Davis, Tom LaTourrette, David E. Mosher, Lois M. Davis, David R. Howell. Published through Rand Corporation.

Public Health Emergency
In the event of a public health emergency such as a disease outbreak, it may be necessary to take medications to protect yourself. In this circumstance we would set up access points to pick up your medication. In this type of event, you could print out the form below and have the information filled out when you come to pick up your medication. The NAPH form stands for Name-Address-Phone-Health History.
NAPH_English (PDF)
NAPH_Spanish (PDF)