The Preparedness Papers
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Our main topic in this article will be the factors involved in the design/fabrication of the shelter itself. We will not be including a detailed discussion of the agents (CW) and microorganisms (BW) also called "germs". However, we will list them and touch on them briefly. (If you want details see Duncan Longs book "Surviving major chemical accidents and Chemical/Biological Warfare"). Likewise, we will not be going into the details of individual survival outside of the shelter (such as gas masks, protective suiting, antidotes, etc.), but will touch on items that relate to the shelter design such as collective protectors, which is the big gas mask and things like wind, location, etc.).
As you are probably aware BW/CW information is very scarce due to security reasons and only about 10% is available to us (those trying to survive who are not government employees). I have used every tactic I know of to glean what I have (including, finally, registered letters to the government BW/CW warfare people and with some success!). Because of this security problem I want you to know where I got the information I am putting in this article. It includes:
The chemicals used in chemical warfare are called agents. They include nerve, blister, blood and harassing agents (like tear gas, vomiting/choking gas and even LSD and other hallucinatory chemicals).
The biological microorganisms include bacteria, rickettsiae, viruses, fungi, protozoa and toxins (made both by plant and animal). A great advantage of biological weapons is the fact that once you get the disease going it is often self-sustaining. A good example is AIDS (what better way to spread it than by using the second most human drive... that of sex). I have no idea where AIDS originated but you can see how disease that can not....so far... be cured or vaccinated against, can easily spread. You can also see how hopeless it would be during a war to do the work necessary to stop such a plague! The only solution is DON'T GET IT IN THE FIRST PLACE.
Many factors are involved in BW/CW war. These may also affect shelter design. Here are some of the factors:
Temperature: The higher the temperature the greater the evaporation of liquid chemicals and hence the persistence of the gas. This will also give you a clue as to enemy intent to launch an attack. If it is very hot they won't have a lot of luck.
Temperature gradient: This is a valuable tool for you, as well as the enemy. All it really means is: does the temperature go up, down or remain constant as you go up in height (close to the earth's surface)? Unstable air causes high vertical air currents and can disperse gas very rapidly. Targeting people must have this data. You can measure it by taking the temperature (°F) at the one foot level and at the six foot level. The value at one foot is then subtracted from that at the six foot level. This is a number and it can be plus, minus or zero. The arithmetic sign is important. As an example, if the temperature at six feet was 38° and at the one foot level it was 40°, the number would be a minus two. Three conditions are possible. The first condition is the NEUTRAL situation where the temperatures are about the same, (if the two measurements are not more plus/minus two degrees apart, then the neutral condition exists). This is normally found on heavily overcast days or nights. It also sometimes prevails an hour or two before or after sunrise or sunset. The most unstable condition is when the temperature gets colder as you go up in altitude; this is known as the LAPSE condition. If the gradient number is more than minus two, the LAPSE condition exists. It is usually found on clear or nearly clear days. The final condition is known as a TEMPERATURE INVERSION and this condition exists when the gradient is more than PLUS two. It is found on clear or nearly clear nights and early in the morning, until about an hour after sunrise. In this condition very little convection air currents exist and this is the most stable condition. Figure 1 lists the three conditions.
|CONDITION||TEMPERTURE ° F / GRADIENT||STABILITY|
|NEUTRAL||2 to -2||FAIR|
|LAPSE||-2 or more||UNSTABLE|
|INVERSION||+2 or more||STABLE|
Figure 1 – Vertical temperature gradient conditions.
Wind: Wind is important in that it can blow anywhere (even back on the enemy!). Note that wind here is the ground wind and not the high altitude wind as in a NUDET scenario.
Humidity: Human bodies absorb more gas in a high humidity condition. We hope your BW/CW shelter has no leaks (discussed later), but if it does, a high ET or THI (see Nuclear shelter info, for story on Effective Temp., or Temperature-Humidity Index....we hope to have an article on this later), conditions will be worse. High ET is a Nuke shelter problem and will make a BW/CW shelter combined with a Nuclear Shelter worse if it has a small leak.
Precipitation: Rain can wash chemicals away, but if non-hydrolyzing it (hydrolyzing means to form compounds in water) concentrates the chemical, be careful of water concentrations when you leave the shelter. Ice and snow can keep the chemicals concentrated as they slow evaporation.
Cloud cover: This keeps the sun's heat away and slows evaporation.
Terrain: Both the shape and the vegetation can effect dispersion; figures 2 and 3 show terrain effect.
Figure 2 – Toxic clouds flow to low places
LEVEL AND UNBROKEN
HILLY OR BROKEN
BRUSH AND WOODS
Figure 3 – Toxic clouds follow the contour of the terrain.
Figure 4 – Toxic liquids contaminate personnel more effectively if dispersed on vegetated areas rather than on bare ground.
If you happen to be outside be sure to stay away from vegetation because the chemicals will stick to plants, etc.; see Figure 4.
It would be helpful to know if an attack had taken place (double check for shelter operation, etc.). We will be looking at BW clues a little later in this article and some of those also apply for CW attack clues. The military uses two detection schemes. The first is called the subjective. It includes such things as visual evidence like a porous surface like brick, dry roads, etc., that only show oily spots while on a slick surface there may be an iridescent film). A hard surface (metal, etc.) may actually contain liquid drops. Gases can also produce a "smokey" look in the air. Of course, if you are outside you can get body irritations (eyes, nose and all mucous glands) from even very small doses (we will have to leave dosage to another article, but it doesn't take much for most of the "modern" war gases). Likewise tightness in the chest and dimmed vision (of course love can produce these last two so beware!).
The objective scheme (opposed to the subjective), uses a measurement system. One standard way to do this is by noting the change in color in certain chemicals when combined with the war gases. Military field kits are available to do this (they change with time but 3 known types are the M9A2, M-15 and M-18). The caution, I always give on surplus, is to be sure to check for expiration dates. You would almost need a chemist in the group to know if a kit was good. The ultimate is the auto alarm which detects the gas and sounds an alarm.
Most of you are aware of the Nuclear Shelter problem. Two new requirements show up with the BW/CW shelter. First, you must always keep a slight positive pressure in the shelter so that NO chemicals or bio germs can enter. This means that some form of power will be needed at all times when an attack is under way. Secondly, you will need a "big gas mask" (BW/CW filter) to filter the entering air so no gases or germs can enter (more on filters a little later). If you have an underground (dirt covered) FALLOUT Shelter, you are partway there. If you have a Blast shelter, you are much closer to what you will need (the dirt cover and underground aspect helps to get rid of cracks through which agents and germs can enter). If you are having to "make do" with some other structure, you are not in as good a position. Such an "unventilated" shelter might get you by if the attack was light and you didn't see much and/or had some mask and suit protection. A large, sealed cavern (with existing air supply) might be useful, especially if you could seal the entrance. If the wind is high and you have some cracks, the gases can creep into almost any shelter. Figure 5 shows some wind design considerations when locating the shelter entrance. Be sure you know the prevailing wind conditions of your probable refuge so you can arrange the "best possible" situation for the most time
Figure 5 – BW/CW wind/entrance considerations
As in a Nuclear shelter it is important to have some right angles (in a Nuclear shelter one is usually sufficient for radiation but in a BW/CW shelter many are better to deflect the gases). The entrance runway should also be sloped UPWARD so no heavier-than-air gases will continue up the runway. A lot of baffles (walls) are good to help break up and lengthen the path of the gas. Figure 6 shows this scheme.
Figure 6 - Baffle walls in a BW/CW shelter are used to extend and break up the gas travel path A baffle scheme can also be achieved by using curtains as shown in Figure 7 (military dimensions are also shown).
Figure 7 - Protective curtains as baffles in a BW/CW shelter
We will see how these protective curtains work when we look at "air locks" next. As people enter (and leave) the shelter it is necessary to have an air lock to prevent gases from entering the main shelter (this also helps prevent loss of pressure). Either doors, with air tight rubber seals or gas proof curtains, can be used. For Military use, the curtains are 7 feet long and 35 inches wide. They consist of two layers of cloth. The first is the inside layer and is a cotton blanket while the outside layer is impermeable cotton cloth. Wood strips are nailed horizontally to the front and back of the curtain. Additionally, each curtain has grommets along the sides to attach weights to help keep it in place. Figure 8 shows a typical air lock (we will get to the anti backdraft valve and the pressure regulator design a little later herein).
Figure 8 – A typical air lock system
If the facility is to include stretcher cases (personnel retrieved from the scene) then it will be necessary to include an air lock with stretcher admission. Figure 9 shows how this is done.
Figure 9 – Air lock configured to admit a stretcher
When personnel are brought into the shelter and they are contaminated, it will be necessary to decontaminate them. The facilities to do this are shown in Figure 10.
Figure 10 – Decontamination room in a ventilated shelter
We noted the need for anti-backdraft valves, pressure regulators and air deflectors earlier (in previous diagrams). They are not hard to make (home-made) so you get a break here.
A and B, 12 and 13 show these 3 items of hardware. Note that if you expect to get some blast (conventional), you need a blast plate. For a combined Nuke/BW/CW shelter in a blast zone, you would also need the nuclear blast valves (See Directions July 1987 for a discussion on Nuclear Blast valves).
Figure - 11A – Anti-backdraft valve
Figure - 11B – Blast plate for anti-back draft valve
The purpose of this valve is to control the static pressure. It lets air out of the shelter (at a controlled rate) and is the means of scavenging the air out of the air locks and shelter auxiliary rooms. The duct is 8" on each side and is mounted 20° off of the vertical. The rod and counterweight can be adjusted to control the pressure. This valve should be mounted 30" from the floor.
As noted in the text, if you expect conventional blast you need a blast plate to protect the valve. This plate is then mounted over the duct opening for the anti-backdraft valve. The area that is covered with holes should be about 1.2 times the area of the hole opening in the anti backdraft valve (a little extra). No dimensions were given for the hole size, but small was the word used!
The air pressure must also be controlled between the various sections of the shelters (rooms). The air pressure regulator is shown in Figure 12. This one is 13 X 17 inches and is made of steel. It has a sliding panel so you can vary the size of the opening. It is bolted to the wall and a gasket is used for a good seal (felt, rubber or what have you).
Finally we have the air deflector as shown in Figure 13. The purpose is to deflect air around the shelter and auxiliary rooms so there are no dead spots. You can best check this using smoke (I hate to say cigarette smoke as you can't smoke in shelters because it makes carbon monoxide, but it might be the easiest way to make smoke prior to the actual attack). My suggestion is for everyone to quit smoking while you can handle it NOW; not in the middle of a disaster when your nerves will be shot for other reasons.
Next we come to the "big gas mask" or a s the military calls them " the collective protector" as opposed to the "individual protector"; gas mask. Figure 14 shows one of these units. It consists of a canister (a huge one), a powered blower motor, and an inlet and outlet hose. The one shown in the figure is 34" long, 24" wide and 39" high and weighs 675 lbs. It can pump 300 CFM of purified air. The air hoses are 5" in diameter with the inlet being 10 feet long and the outlet at 20 feet. The electric motor is 1 HP and the gasoline 1 ½ HP. The canister is classified, but is made up of 7 sections (attached in parallel) and includes three air manifolds, two particulate filters and two charcoal filters. Your odds of having a collect-protector are not very high, but we will look at how filters work and some substitute methods later.
Figure - 14 – The collective protector
If you were lucky, you might liberate one from a military unit that was blasted by nukes, but which was such that the collective protector or at least some spare filters might be OK.
Before moving on lets take a look at filters. This information may help you do some improvising if you can t get the real thing. The first stage of a filter is usually mechanical (you will notice that the collective protector had "particulate filters" first). These take out very small chunks of solids or liquids (particulates of Nuclear, BW or CW warfare), but still allow the air to pass. Materials that have been used include impregnated wool felt, mineral wool, asbestos and paper. The chemical filter is next and you need to learn a new word. It is adsorbent (to absorb means to soak up like a sponge where the water is sucked up into the void spaces in the sponge). The adsorbing process is a molecular one and involves clinging or adhering at the surface of the adsorbing material. Thus, we need a lot of surface area. How well this works depends upon the material capacity, the rate of adsorption and the amount present. The task of the chemical filter is tremendous and includes:
The best thing found so far has been small granules of high grade carbon (in the form of charcoal). It is usually made from wood or wood-like products including cocoanut shells, peach pits and sugar. Although this works great for war gases and some others it will also allow things like carbon dioxide, carbon monoxide, ammonia and commercial fuels to pass right through. (The dept. of mines has had a large campaign going for many years to advise people NOT to use war gas masks when exploring mines and caves, thinking that they are going to get oxygen). A gas mask does not make oxygen. It only takes out the bad gases in air (and not all of those) and if the air does not contain a full complement of oxygen (loaded with foul air) the mask can not give you a full shot of clean air. This campaign was brought on by a lot of deaths due to exploring caves/mines with govt. surplus masks thinking they would keep you breathing!!
It would be difficult for you to make a war gas filter (if you had the base carbon material you probably could if you were exceedingly careful). There are places to buy the filters and materials. There are also some "make-do" things you can try. "If it is do or die, you better DO! - That's Survival", Duncan Long's book, quoted, at the beginning of this article, provides some of these answers, and I won't repeat all of that here.
Figure 15 shows an "in-the side-of-a-hill" military shelter using some of the principles we have discussed. Notice the right angle entry, air lock and escape tunnel (which we did not mention earlier) and the location of the collective protector (with two intakes and an access area for maintenance, fueling, etc.).
Figure - 15 – A military BW/CW shelter in the side of a hill
Maybe you are faced with a situation where you have some buildings for fallout shelters and the government Civil Service has "upgraded" them by piling dirt on for radiation protection. The government has looked into how to make these into BW/CW shelters, too (in this case the govt. is the military and not CD as they have made no allowance in Civil Defense for either BW or CW warfare protection. All they have considered is fallout shelters for civilians (no blast shelters), so if you end up in one you will have to show them how to make it work for BW/CW!
Figure 16 shows an existing building so "rigged up".
Figure – 16 - A building rigged for "make-do" BW/CW shelter (assumes that dirt has bean piled on for radiation protection; fallout zone only).
Air flow in such a building is very important and Figure 17 illustrates one such flow. A major problem would be sealing up all the cracks (chimneys, electric/plumbing pipes, electrical outlets, windows, doors etc.).
Figure – 17 - Showing the airflow in the building illustrated in Figure 16.
Use of the 300 CFM collective protector we saw earlier would be OK, but it would take several to do the job here (the advantage of several is that if one goes off line you still have some operating but the disadvantage is in the inefficient operation). The govt. has larger sizes including 600, 1200, 2500 and 5,000 CFM units.
In this large a shelter, pressure has to be balanced pretty close and you would need a draft gauge or manometer. Once again, testing for flow is usually done with smoke. Smoke is released outside (tear gas is good) and those inside check for odor. Smoke is also released inside and leaks checked outside. Smoke is best used for flow distribution and the appropriate deflectors installed. Pressure differentials, in this particular installation, should be about 0.3 inches of water for the outer air lock, 0.4 for inner air lock, 0.5 for the shower room and 0.6 for the main enclosure.
Finally, lets take a quick look at ways of dissemination of BW/CW weapons, clues for BW warfare at work (you can not use any of your senses of smell, sight, taste, hearing or touch) to detect the actual germs) and the best way to protect from the BW warfare. Figure 18 shows some of the dissemination schemes.
Figure – 20 – BW protective measures
This is a large subject and we won't have room for it all here but let me give you a few thoughts.
CW Decon: Weathering is one solution. Evaporation and decomposition will eventually get rid of the threat.
Aeration: This means to force air through the chemicals It may be hard to do.
High Temperature and Fire: You already know how temperature works. If the chemical is in grass, vegetation, etc.; you don't want to save, you can bum it (STAY OUT OF THE SMOKE.).
Moisture and water: For those that hydrolyze you can make new substances that are less harmful or not harmful. It is a slow process but rain will help (if the chemical does hydrolyze). Bright sunlight works two ways. First, the higher temperature causes evaporation. Secondly, sun radiation can cause chlorine to split from chlorinated organic compounds (war gases).
Steam and hot water: Increases the hydrolyzing action and volatility.
Chemicals: These can be very _ effective but are also DANGEROUS! Chlorinated bleach is good but you must be protected (special clothing, mask etc.). If you are in the disaster, with swimming pool bleach, hang onto it (good for DECON and even water purification). For mustard liquid you need dry bleach mixed with sand. Bleach slurry (made with water and chlorine in suspension) and bleach paste (this is made adding bleach SLOWLY to water until a paste is made) are good to apply to ceilings. There are several more but you get the idea.
BW Decon: Both personal and area decon is required. For personal it is mainly washing; (use a good soap and wash extra long especially in the hair areas). Brush teeth, gums, roof of mouth and tongue. There is no "best" compound for killing germs. The war lords may give all sorts of immunity to their genetically invented germs. In the past, four good compounds were: Formalin (37% formaldehyde in water with some methanol), ethylene oxide, chlorine (slurry as for CW) and lye in solution (if we get to soap making we will show you how to make your own lye).