Things to Consider
Examples of airborne contamination include mold from flooding, fine debris from an explosion and/or germs inhaled or absorbed through open cuts from a biological attack.
Nose and Mouth Protection
- Face masks or dense-weave cotton material that snugly covers your nose and mouth and is specifically fit for each member of the family. Do whatever you can to make the best fit possible for children.
- It is very important that most of the air you breathe comes through the mask or cloth, not around it.
- You can find a variety of face masks readily available in hardware stores that are rated based on how small a particle they can filter in an industrial setting.
- Limiting how much foreign matter is inhaled may impact whether or not you get sick or develop disease.
There are circumstances when staying put and creating a barrier between yourself and potentially contaminated air outside, a process known as “shelter-in-place,” is a matter of survival.
To seal an area, you will need materials such as:
- Heavyweight plastic garbage bags or plastic sheeting
- Duct tape
- You can use these materials to tape up windows, doors and air vents if you need to seal off a room from outside contamination.
- Consider precutting and labeling these materials. Anything you can do in advance will save time when it counts.
HEPA (High Efficiency Particulate Air Filtration)
- Once you have sealed a room with plastic sheeting and duct tape you may have created a better barrier between you and any outside contaminants. However, no seal is perfect and some leakage is likely or you may be in a space already contaminated to some degree.
- Consider a portable air purifier, with a HEPA filter, to help remove contaminants from the room where you are sheltering
- These highly efficient filters have small sieves that can capture very tiny particles, including some biological agents. Once trapped within a HEPA filter contaminants cannot get into your body and make you sick.
- While these filters are excellent at filtering dander, dust, molds, smoke, biological agents and other contaminants, they will not stop chemical gases.