How to protect yourself in contaminated environment (17)

Release of dangerous chemicals (DC) into the environment may seriously endanger your health as well as your life! The Fire Rescue Service of the South Moravian Region in partnership with the Police of the Czech Republic - the city police headquarters of Brno and Diocesan Charity of Brno offers you some basic information about how to protect yourself from such danger.


How_to_protect_yourself_in_contamined_environment.pdf How_to_protect_yourself_in_contamined_environment.pdf (236,84 KB)


When shall we use improvised protection?

We can use some improvised protection in case of release of DC into the environment. This may happen if the operator makes a mistake, if there is a technological failure of output, due to unsuitable storage or transport of DC. In case of chemical accident you will be warn by sirens (general warning - namely: What to do when you hear the sound of siren?). Then you will make particular steps (namely: Improvised shelter).

If you have to get through a contaminated area, or if evacuation from a contaminated area has been ordered, you can protect yourself in the next two ways:

1. by using the means of individual protection

  • e.g. a protective mask, protective clothes and suchlike
  • nowadays, however, citizens are not expected to be distributed these means in case of a chemical accident
  • nevertheless, you can buy them in specialized shops

2. by using the means of improvised protection

  • this is the most likely means of protection of airways and your body surface
  • this means of protection will be discussed in detail

What are the means of improvised protection?

They are practically all the parts of clothes and means which are available in every household. Basic means to be used will be described next including all steps while putting them on.

1. Airways' protection

First of all you have to protect your airways (which is your nose and mouth). You will use:

  • a piece of damp cloth (a folded handkerchief, towel, tea towel, and suchlike).

What to use to dampen it:

  • tap water
  • in case of ammonia release add vinegar (1tbs vinegar / 1l water)
  • in case of acid DC add sodium bicarbonate (2tbs soda / 1l water)

Put the damp cloth over your nose and mouth and fix it with a scarf in your nape.

2. Eye protection

Airways' protection should be followed by eye protection.

You will use:

  • tight goggles (goggles for skiing, diving, swimming, motorbike riding)
  • if there are air holes, block them with a tape
  • if you have no such or similar goggles at home, you can use a common transparent plastic bag - pull it over your head and tighten it with a lace or elastic band around your cheekbone (above your nose)

3. Head protection

What to use to protect your head:

  • a cap, balaclava, scarf, hat, shawl, and suchlike
  • make sure your hair gets all covered while putting it on
  • the same rule applies to your forehead, neck and ears

4. Body protection

What to use to protect your body:

  • overall, trousers, tracksuit, etc.
  • as a top layer use e.g. a raincoat, or long coat
  • tighten all these clothes at your neck (e.g. with a scarf), sleeves and trousers (tighten them with a lace or an elastic band)

5. Hand and feet protection

Recommended hand protection:

  • gloves (rubber or leather)

Recommended feet protection:

  • high boots if possible (ladies' boots, Wellington boots)

Basic rules for using the means of improvised protection

  • all the body surface must be covered, no space can stay uncovered
  • tighten the goggles and other safety means as much as possible, tighten the sleeves and trousers with a lace or elastic band
  • the more layers of safety clothes you have, the higher your protection is

What to do after you come back from the contaminated environment

  • leave all the top clothes including all safety means you have used in the corridor or hallway
  • put everything into a plastic bag and tighten it
  • if possible, take a shower, dry up and put on clean clothes
  • do not forget to clean your ears, nose, and wash out your eyes

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