Fallout and other radiological fun

Confed Sailor

New Member
So as my father and I were contemplating life, the universe, and everything over a pint of Harp at Madra Rua the conversation turned to preparedness. Now 9/11 was a world changing event, but the S did not HTF. We contemplated a terror attack, I.E a WMD event in charleston harbor. The detonation of a Nuclear weapon would leave our survival chances at slim to nil, naturally depending on the devices yield. However the possiblity of survival still exists if a dirty bomb, a Radiological Device, is detonated. The large explosive charge would be used to scatter radioactive material over a city. This would leave large areas with surface contamination and the potential for airborne contamination.
I am of the opinion that perhaps an investment in gas masks or some other form of respiratory protection should be made. Also Tyvek painters suits and gloves of any sort should be procured. Military issue gas masks, i.e. the MCU2P are effective against particulates up to 100 times the safe limit, this is due to a 99% effectiveness rating for particulates. They also provide protection against poison gasses and Biological agents. However, the filters expire, and the masks may not be available during a crisis. However, the respirators sold at lowes are also an option. The home project level masks sold there are OV/P100. The P100 rating means the masks remove 99.97% of particulate (http://www.cdc.gov/niosh/npptl/topics/r ... disp_part/). OV means the mask blocks Organic Vapors, i.e. paint fumes. Full face is better but even the half mask will prevent inhalation of airborne contaminates. Also if movement out of the danger zone is required, Tyvek suits, rubber gloves, and galoshes will also prevent exposure to surface contamination, and can help with Chemical and Biological attack.

Also the CDC published this- http://www.cdc.gov/niosh/npptl/topics/r ... pfact.html

Im not saying we all need to go buy MOPP suits and leave them in the car and home, but a simple particulate mask could make quite the difference. And thats why i have the one the Navy issued me at home.

John
 

PCShogun

Member
I would bet an expired filter is better than no filter at all.

www.centuryarms.com frequently sells masks with NATO spec filters still sealed in bags. I think the newest are around $50. Do not get the Belgian masks as they are very old. The Romanian masks were made around 1970 and still look great. I have one and it still has the instructions (In Romanian) and cleaning chemicals in the bag along with a filter, all for about $20

If anyone has access to some CS, we can test them out.
 

Confed Sailor

New Member
Well, from a radiological standpoint, the particulate filtering ability would only degrade from use. Same for Biological agents. If the activated carbon in the filters is expired, the protection from chemical weapons would be suspect, as the carbon would not be able to absorb the agent.

Chemical- depending on agent, full face, possibly suit/gloves/booties. Cartridges would have to be in periodicity, and swapped IAW a schedule. Safe areas with decon equipment would have to be set up (boiling water, TSP). To be honest, the objective should be to don gear and exit affected area asap, if you must shelter in place, duct tape and plastic sheeting would provide some protection, but the problem would be fully sealing the home, any drafts could be fatal, Also detection and determiniation of agent of concern would require special gear, from simple patches to a full blown drager tester.

Biological-depending on agent, full face, probably not suit, definately gloves and booties, Cartridge dates are not as critical but must be swapped IAW schedule. Again Safe areas with serious decon gear needed (bleach is your good buddy). Better chance of shelter in place, most biological agents are not as persistant or as insidious as chemical agents. Detection of attack, and agent of concern is....for lack of a nice word, imposible. Well, impossible until symptoms arrive, and then you're buggered anyways.

Radiological- Anything to filter particulate, a full face P100 mask/ MilSpec Gas Mask is best, a half face P100 is acceptable (what our Radiological Controls Techs wore in Japan during the Fukushima incident), even a wet hankie is better than nothing, booties and gloves highly desired. Decon is far easier, as PPE would simply be double bagged, and any skin contamination could be dealt with by tape presses or waterless hand cleaners.

Recovery from any of the above incidents would be a slow process; i.e. even if you sealed your home, any leakage into the HVAC ducts would lead to possible persistant deposits being disturbed when restarting the system. Any surfaces exposed would have to be decon'ed and surveyed to allow release.

Unlike the C and B, the R is a slow killer, constant ingestion or inhalation of the contamination will give a cumulative dose to the body leading to illness. Primary danger is not an acute dose leading to radiation sickness, but a deep whole body dose leading to cancer.
 

11B3XCIB

Member
Confed Sailor, if you want a decontamination option that isn't bleach, how about a regular decon. mitt? They come in sealed, single unit packs. Would you be interested in that? They are slightly more expensive than bleach but a lot less messy and purpose built. PM me if you want more info.
 

kg4kpg

Member
The second and third phases of my Advanced Leadership Course I have in May will focus on the Radiological Operations part of CBRN, I can't wait. Estimating yield, tracking fallout, good stuff. My Phase 1 is this November where I'll get my HazMat Ops and Tech certification. I love my MOS.

I have M-40 masks at home, not bad but I used an M-50 last year at a nerve agent facility and it was a whole lot more comfortable. Tried a similar face-piece at a CBRN trade show that had the filters in a small, fan powered unit that went on your back. First mask I ever wore that I didn't have to suck air in, it was sweet.

I certainly hope we never really need all of this crap, but with the radicals around the world these days you never know.
 

Parhams0508

New Member
You know, after reading the Army field manual's information on NBC threats, I am much less worried about the nuclear than the biological and chemical agents. B & C seem to be much more pertinent (therefore worse IMO) than nuclear threats.
 

PCShogun

Member
There was a film called "Special Report" about a nuclear device that detonates in Charleston harbor back in the early 80's(?)

The good thing about a chemical attack is that if you survive the initial few hours, you should be OK as most nerve gases are not persistent for long periods, except in depressions or places with poor circulation. Japanese terrorists released Sarin gas, a nerve agent, in the Tokyo subway and while it was bad, it killed relatively few people due to the air circulation; 8 died, 275 were severely injured.

Regarding a radiation event, you should stock iodine tablets. By drinking water purified with iodine, or taking the iodine tablets, you will fill the thyroid with clean iodine so that radioactive iodine will not stay within your system. I think Tyvek suits are a great idea. It will not protect you from radiation, but can be disposed of easily after going outside to prevent contamination from entering your dwelling space.

I bought two masks and some Tyvek myself. I bought extra filters with the masks. I justified it to the wife by saying it was a halloween costume. I wear one each year. It allows me to get used to the mask (you will get a headache as breathing is not effortless) and no one thinks I am crazy by wearing it any other times of the year.

A word to the wise. Before putting on the mask, remove the little air stopper from the bottom of the filter. Otherwise you cannot breath and you may not be able to get the mask off in a hurry. Not saying I did that, Not saying I did either. :oops:
 

Shrapnel762

New Member
I gotta agree with parhams. when I went through NBC training the pictures and descriptions of chemical agents (and ease of deployment) scared me more than PFCs handling grenades.

I don't know how widely known it is, but a small percentage of people can have a severe reaction to iodine go into anaphylactic shock
 

Regulis7

New Member
I worked in the chemical industry for 12 years and almost as long working with hazmat in the military, two things you do not go cheap 1) eye sight and 2) lungs. Full face is the only way to go when it comes to respirators for protecting your life and sight. Radiological contamination is long lasting but not immediately lethal unless you happen to be at ground zero or downwind of ground zero during the immediate release. Suite up in full MOP, or as close as you can get to full MOP and bug out upwind avoiding the effected area, decontaminate and hope you outlive the cancer risk.

Chemical agents are almost always immediate, lethal or crippling. Something as simple as a train wreck or semi tanker wreck carrying ammonia, acids or certain organics will render you dead or blind in less than a minute if you can not get to a respirator that has effective cartridges and fits properly. SC is home to a LOT of chemical plants, our rail lines and highways are always chugging along with tons of hazmat on an hourly basis.

Couple tips on storing and using respirators/gas mask...

1: Store mask in a plastic bag that has a zip lock or cinch seal
2: Clean the mast with a mild solution of soap/water or betadine/water and rinse and let air dry before storage. Alcohol will speed up the deterioration of the mask rendering it useless when you need it the most.
3: Opened cartridges have very limited shelf life depending on environment and humidity. Typical opened and unused cartridge life is 6 months or less.
4: Once you start breathing thru a cartridge, it typically has about 8 hours of effectiveness. I have had to change them out on an hourly basis depending on how high the contamination was where I was working.

Beards and respirators/gas mask are a no go because there is no way you can get or maintain a perfect seal with facial hair between the skin and rubber mask.

Respirator fit is absolute.. It fits you live, No fit you die. You gain/loose more than 10 lbs of weight you need a refit, get some teeth pulled you need a refit, get dentures need a refit.
 

11B3XCIB

Member
Hah, that link was funny.

That's one of the many reasons we're required to shave. Although, I'm not sure how soldiers in units with relaxed grooming standards (IE Special Forces, Rangers) would properly seal a gas mask, unless they have some fancy high speed system regular Army doesn't have.
 

Regulis7

New Member
JSOG guys are not often in an area where they will need NBC gear, so blending in with the local bearded populace is more important than needing a mask which is most likely hundreds of miles away with the rest of the gear. In places like Afghanistan where beards=status its more effective to have your guys bearded up.

The US Navy banned beards in 84 early 85, the mask seal issue was one of the biggest reasons they provided when everyone was ranting about having to shave. Every sailor onboard ship is a Damage Control Firefighter no matter what their regular job is, so getting a positive mask seal when you are soaking wet with sweat, salt water or FFF Foam is more important that looking good with a beard while on liberty.. LOL.
 
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