In an uncertain world, be prepared for a Nuclear Disaster. Buy our book on Amazon.com.
The past few months have shown that the threat from Nuclear Terrorism or a Nuclear Attack is real. Prepare your family and community with our book Nuclear Terrorism, by Jim Poesl.
September is Disaster Preparedness Month, we are posting periodic reminders this month to encourage people to prepare for disaster's in their community.
September 12, 2017
In our ongoing series of posts for Disaster Preparation month, here is one on respirators.
Primer Respiratory Protection for a Community Emergency Response Team (CERT) Member
By Jim Poesl
Note: This is not an official government document, Jim Poesl or JCP Technical make no warranty or guarantee to its applicability to your situation. This information is for general use, your specific situation might be significantly different and require great protection. Avoid chemical exposure. Use this information at your own risk. Also, the government’s official courses on Respirator usage are 3-5 days at a minimum so don’t think that you can read this Primer and be an expert. Read all manufacturer’s instructions prior to use.
JCP Technical does give respirator training, please contact us. The best training for a respirator is still hands-on.
When disaster strikes there is a lot of debate and misinformation on respirators and respirator usage. Untrained or desperate people will grab the first respirator available and use it. This leads to well-intentioned people having a false sense of security and heading into a situation that is dangerous or deadly thinking that they are safe. Probably the best thing to do if you are exposed to a respiratory hazard if from a dirty bomb, chemical exposure, building debris, mold, or anything else is to evacuate or leave, rather than look for a respirator. After reading this, you should have a better idea why.
Background Information on Respirators
Before you use a respirator you should be asking the following:
1. Am I healthy enough to wear a respirator? If you have any questions you should go for a medical evaluation, with the OSHA Respirator Questionnaire in hand. If you have a heart condition, neck issues, back issues, cancer, immunodeficiency, or any other medical condition you might not be able to wear a respirator because it might kill you or hurt you.
2. Do I have facial hair (beard) that might interfere with a respirator? This applies to men and women. Respirators (other than hood type) do not work with facial hair.
3. Do I have the correct respirator for the perceived hazard?
4. Is this respirator in good shape?
If you answered NO to any of those questions do not wear a respirator.
Respirators are divided into two groups, air supplied respirators (that supply air from a source) or air purifying (chemically clean or filter the air).
Supplied air respirators (SAR). These respirators get air from an outside source, they can either be supplied from a special air compressor with filters or air bottles. Usually used when you are dealing with an unknown chemical or high concentration.
Air Purifying respirator (APR). These rely on a cartridge to filter the air or chemically clean them. Dust cartridges (are usually made out of cloth and used to be called HEPA cartridges, now they have several different types. If they are chemically cleaning the air they may have activated charcoal (charcoal treated and ground up) that chemically cleans the air.
Limitations of SAR’s: They are heavy, bulky, need practice putting them on, have a high protection factor, very difficult to store, and are very expensive. Depending on the set up, they have a very limited air supply, and the air might not be clean unless you test it.
Advantages of SAR’s. These respirators protect you from 1000 to 10,000 times the exposure limit depending on the type you use.
Limitations of APR’s: APR’s are easily stored, widely available, portable and less bulky. The major limitation is that you need to know what you are dealing with, in what concentration, for how long, and if it has a warning property (smell or taste)—if you smell it in your respirator something is wrong. The cartridges do go bad and the cartridges are only good for what they are rated for. Specific protection factors apply to specific respirators (see below). THEY DO NOT SUPPLY OXYGEN AND SHOULD NOT BE USED IN LIFE THREATENING SITUATIONS.
Advantages of APR: They are widely available, affordable, and easily stored.
The limitations of both of them are that in industry you need to have physicals because there is stress to the body when wearing a respirator. People have been known to suffer from claustrophobia or cardiac arrest. If you have a heart condition or other health issue you may not be able to wear a respirator at all.
Basic Science Behind Respirators
The maximum use concentration of respirators are calculated by taking the assigned protection factor (ANSI protection Factor) multiplied by an exposure limit.
There are several exposure limits available to use these include:
· OSHA Permissible Exposure Limit (PEL)
· American Conference of Governmental Industrial Hygienists Threshold Limit Value (TLV)
· National Institute of Occupational Safety and Health (NIOSH) Recommended Exposure Limits (REL)
· Plus a whole alphabet soup of acronyms and levels from various organizations.
These limits are almost always based on workplace exposures that are based on an 8-hour work day, and 40-hour workweek. A free resource to get some of these exposure limits is on the NIOSH website for free (a division of the CDC) under the NIOSH Guide to Chemical Hazards. The unofficial unscientific rule of thumb for public health officials is that in lieu of a specific health standard for the public use 10% of the lowest occupational standard.
Something to remember is that there are less than 10,000 published occupational exposure limits for more than 80,000 chemicals in the workplace, this does not include the what the general public can be exposed to. Many carcinogens (cancer causing chemicals) have a zero threshold (no exposure allowable).
Published exposure limits are only for those chemicals only, what happens when there is a combination of chemicals? There is a calculation that assumes an additive effect of the chemicals and you lower the exposure limit (see whattheheckaretheydoing.com). For example, in a situation like 9-11 in NYC the exposure limits should be near zero, meaning the air was not safe to breath in any amount. Furthermore, biologicals like mold, bacteria and fungi have a zero threshold exposure limit (no level is safe). The reason for this is that different people have different health situations and everyone’s immune system is different.
Assigned Protection Factor (APF) means the work- place level of respiratory protection that a respirator or class of respirators is expected to provide.
Common protection factors are as follows:
· Dust mask: 0**
· Filtering Facepiece Respirator (Dust mask with NIOSH rating, normally two headstraps): 10**
· For a ½ facepiece APR: 10
· For a full facepiece APR:50
· Supplied air anywhere from 25 to 1,000
· Self-contained breathing apparatus (aka firemen’s) anywhere from 10 to 10,000
Surplus “gas masks” are suspect and should not be trusted without investigation, to protect you against anything, some of them available online are decades old.
The protection factors multiplied by the exposure limit give you the Maximum Use concentration. Generally speaking, you won’t be able to make these calculations in the field so the best bet is to leave.
**The Assigned Protection Factor for a Filtering Facepiece Respirator is 10, however I do not recommend using it for toxic or hazardous atmospheres. A Dust mask (also called comfort mask) is not rated for anything, including dusts. In my profession experience these give people a false sense of security and people put themselves in more hazardous situations thinking they are protected.
Respirator Cartridges. Every manufacturer has slightly different colors and different uses for respirators. For a respirator to be a “respirator” it must have a NIOSH Approval (it is on the mask) anything else is suspect and may not protect you. READ the Label’s and Instructions.
One of the first rules of emergency response is “Don’t make the problem worse”. You becoming hurt causes the problem to become worse. The government often gets it wrong when it comes with the safety of the air at disaster sites, and often OSHA regulations are rescinded during an emergency. So a little bit of training and looking out for yourself goes a long way.
Hopefully this clears up some confusion on respirators. Before you use one, make sure you have the correct training and knowledge. If you are a CERT team member thank you for volunteering, but attend a respirator training class before you put one on, hopefully one given by JCP Technical Services.
September 7, 2017
Three types of Preparation By Jim Poesl
Hurricane Harvey’s attack on Texas and the Gulf Coast is being followed up by Hurricane Irma on the East Coast of Florida. Right now they are not sure when it will hit.
I list disasters in three different categories. From short-term to long-term. Fortunately most of us will only deal with short term from a fire, medical emergency, or weather event. These disasters, seem to resolve themselves quickly and have significantly different requirements than a long term disaster situation.
It is important to differentiate the category you are in if you are in charge of making emergency preparations for yourself, your family, or your business. I’ll discuss all three, all three are fluid, there are gray areas between all three.
Category 1: Emergency Response, Short Term Emergencies, and Short Term Military Operations. 0 to 96 hours
The Federal Emergency Management Agency has repeatedly stated that we should all be prepared for up to 96 hours without outside sources of food, fuel, and electricity. If you are in areas with specific disasters like tornadoes, earthquakes, or wildfires, then you should absolutely be prepared for those instances. How do you prepare? Simply have enough “stuff” for each person to last four days. Do an Assessment, Analyze and Act. These types of disasters could also be called emergencies and could range from knowing where the fire exits are to what to do if you are stranded at work or school for 4 days.
Category 2: The Transition from Emergency Response, to Short Term Disruption. Weeks to Months
This time period lasts from the time of the original response, to about 3 months. During Superstorm Sandy, most people in the impact area were out of electricity and drinkable water for 10 or more days.
This type of disaster is the most you can reasonably prepare yourself for. Unless you have a major facility for storage you probably will not be able to store enough food, water, and other supplies for anything longer than 3 months. Remember for a family of four this uses 1 gallon of water per day per person. For 90 days that means you need 360 gallons just for drinking, and it may last that long if you are extremely disciplined in using it, and do not live in a hot environment.
Category 3: Primitive Living.
This is one step beyond “Living Off the Grid”. Primitive Living is exactly that, you do not have food, water, or other supplies on hand and need to generate it in the field. Basically pre-industrial revolution. This would be a huge societal disruption to say the least.
Some estimates by official government sources list the death toll in the 10’s to hundreds of millions within 12 months if we need to transition back to primitive living. What would cause this? Regional to National Emergencies including nuclear attack, massive volcanic eruptions, Electro Magnetic Pulse (EMP) events, famine, massive public health emergencies like a pandemic flu, massive crop failure, drought, government disruptions, civil war, social upheavals, and any other emergency that may cause widespread problems.
Preparations for this type of situation for Americans and Western Europeans would mean society re-learning how to live off the land, collect water, hunt, fish, grow your food, and yes, defend your family with force if necessary. NBC’s cancelled series Revolution is probably the best example of this type of TV show, however it is a work of fiction (or is the government trying to disclose something?).
September 5, 2017
With hurricane Irma in the Caribbean and possibly impacting Florida later this week, let’s make sure that people in the path are prepared for impacts of the storm. Don’t forget to assess the needs of all your family/household members. Elderly/handicapped people may have significantly different needs from infants or children. Under the best of circumstances it may take two weeks to fully prepare for a disaster, with short notice make sure you prioritize what you need to do.
September 3, 2017
September is Disaster Preparedness Month.
The US is recovering from the current disaster of Hurricane Harvey in Houston, Texas. Brave volunteers, national guardsman, emergency responders, and neighbors are responding to the emergency. dHere in the NY area there are still lingering recovery efforts to the infrastructure and some shore communities. We really don’t need too much more persuasion in getting prepared for disasters.
The Department of Homeland Security recommends all Americans have an emergency kit with a minimum of 96 hours’ worth of supplies.
Everyone’s needs during an emergency are different. What should you consider? Here are a few things:
- What are the likely emergencies/disasters you may face?
- How many people are you responsible for?
- Age. Do you have young children; do you have elderly or people with health needs?
- What do you need? From flashlights, to diapers and first aid kits. ATM’s will be down so you will need cash.
- How much food, supplies, etc.? You need 1 gallon of drinking water for every person. A family of four would need 28 gallons just for drinking water for a week. This does not include sanitation. Do you have food? Is it food that everyone can or will eat during the disaster? How will you prepare it?
- What are your storage requirements? Are you living in a house, apartment, or condo?
- What kind of paperwork do you need? Insurance policies, retirement fund information, banking info, etc.?
- Where are your evacuation locations? Do we go to a friend or relatives house? Is there a local community gathering area?
- What is your budget for the situation? How much money do you have to spend? If you know what your budget limits are you can better prioritize what to get and when well before any emergency. Clean water should always be a priority.
Remember the three A’s of safety are also for disaster preparedness.
- Assess your situation
- Analyze your situation
- Act appropriately.
Opinions whether you should prepare for disaster range from “Don’t worry about it” to “you should be very worried and be prepared for primitive living on a long-term” basis. Preparing for a four-day disaster it may take up to two weeks.
Ultimately this is not a one-time “get ready” event, disaster preparations should be ongoing. Just by preparing a little each week could keep you within budget and your means.
September 2, 2017
This morning we woke up to the announcement by North Korea that they now have a hydrogen bomb and an ICBM to deliver it. I was planning on just making this my standard Disaster Response series. But I don’t think that may be totally possible.
The worst-case scenario FEMA has prepared for are three 10 kiloton nuclear blasts on the same day. This would be the most likely scenario from terrorists. We should also be aware of kicking us when we are down and attacking when there are other disasters like Hurricane Harvey, the largest California wildfires in history, and large scale civilian unrest. Anything else might be an overload to the system.
I only hope this is only more rhetoric in the ongoing media war between Korea, Trump, the main stream media, and a cadre of others vying for attention.
Several years ago we published a book. Nuclear Terrorism, A Family Response Manual. Please pick up your copy today.
May 2, 2017
The crisis on the Korean Peninsula doesn't appear to be getting any better. Let's remember that it takes about 2 weeks to prepare for a nuclear event. So you can start by buying our book.
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From the Associated Press, April 14, 2017.
Hawaii panel asks state to prepare for North Korea Attack
HONOLULU (AP) - Hawaii lawmakers want state officials to update plans for coping with a nuclear attack as North Korea develops nuclear weapons and ballistic missiles that can reach the islands
For the complete story click here: http://www.hawaiinewsnow.com/story/35152446/hawaii-panel-asks-state-to-prepare-for-north-korea-attack
March 22, 2016
Our prayers go out to the people of Belgium this morning as they respond to the terrorist attacks. As of right now we are still receving details. As always we cannot control what other people do, so it is incumbent on us to be ever vigilant and prepare our family and communities for the likely tough days ahead.
November 15, 2015
Here at JCP Technical our hearts and prayers go out to the victims of the recent terrorists attacks in Paris, and the Russian airliner that was destroyed in Egypt. We cannot control what foreign policy decisions our government makes, however we can control our preparation, attitude, and our own actions. This is why I wrote “Nuclear Terrorism. A Family Response Guide.” Unfortunately, we are closer now to a Nuclear Armageddon than during the cold war. We were dealing with reasonable people (The Soviet Union), not a bunch of religious extremists on a “Mission from God”. Our government has known since the late 1990’s that the likely worst case scenario we would be facing are three nuclear attacks from terrorist with a 10 KT device on the same day. According to main stream news the government has thwarted several of these attacks as well as a number similar to the attacks in Paris.
The government for political reasons may not consider us at war. However, that doesn’t mean we shouldn’t consider ourselves at war. The front line is our neighborhood and our families. So I would continue to prepare from our family level, then our neighborhood, our community, and finally nationally. The easiest place to start is in your local house of worship or other civic group. If your community has a Community Emergency Response Team, JOIN IT. I joined mine.
September 1, 2015
Book Review: How to be a Hobo, by Brooke Willet 5 out of 5 stars
My father once told me: “Don’t be so hard on the homeless and hobo’s because you can easily be in their position; don’t change or take a shower for a week and you’ll be just like they are.” How to be a Hobo by Brooke Willett is a necessary book in the Disaster Response/Survival genre. Ms. Willett wrote this book after having a crisis in her life, her response was to give up everything and go on the road with her beloved dog Cloud.
Over the year or so she was in this situation, she wrote about how to get by on the streets and in many ways thrive. She briefly discusses most aspects of how to survive from dumpster diving, to where to sleep safely. The realization for the reader is that you truly don’t need much. She ends the book with how to get off the streets. This book does not romanticize this lifestyle, but successfully gives a first person point of view of people in this situation.
I think a lot of folks have gone through a rough period in their life when we realize things aren’t as we were told. Most of us will never do something as extreme as Brooke, but it was her way of dealing with it. One paragraph I believe sums up what she learned from being on the road perfectly:
“Life is a journey. Don’t forget to stop and enjoy it once in a while, don’t get so caught up in life’s pleasures that you destroy what is truly important here. What is truly important? Creating the life you want to live. A life of fulfillment, happiness and purpose. Be your own author.”
The book is available at Amazon.com just click here.
June 27, 2014
Anthrax at CDC, Don't Take It Home
It didn’t make big national news, but this week the Centers for Disease Control admitted that up to 80 of their lab workers were exposed to Anthrax and were receiving treatment. We should revisit some of the “lessons” learned from the Anthrax cleanups that I was involved in back in 2001 and 2002. Some of the lessons learned:
- If you have a letter, package or other parcel delivered to your home and office and it has suspicious markings, is leaking or is from someone or a company you don’t know, don’t bring it in your home or business. If you open it, open it outside, because any contamination of your house may lead to everything being disposed of because no one will take the chance of declaring anything “clean and safe”.
- If you do open a package and it there is a spill or suspect material. Leave it in place, and leave the room/building. Moving it from space to space will only spread contamination.
- If you find yourself in the middle of a large public spectacle or media event and are a victim, realize that there will be competing interests like security, not causing a public panic, among other things. So you really need to be your best advocate, look out for your own interests, often the victims get “left behind”. The interviews that I did with the impacted people from the cleanups all indicated that this was one of their feelings.
- Realize that you may suffer from post-traumatic stress syndrome if you are involved in a disaster (even if it is a personal one), please seek counseling from either a good friend, clergy, or even a professional therapist if necessary.
The reality is that most of us will not be involved in a terrorism related incident, but in our work environment we should remember proper hygiene, either launder contaminated clothing at work under proper controls, and not bring anything contaminated home. Not only can it impact your family (especially if you have small children) by spreading contamination, but it can also lead to your entire house needing a cleanup.
Jim Poesl is the Corporate Safety Director for West Virginia Paint, he was the assistant to the Sr. Science Advisor for CBS and NBC during the Anthrax Cleanups in 2001, and co-wrote the initial cleanup guidelines.
September 30, 2013
JCP Technical Services just concluded its Disaster Preparation Tips for the month of September, check them out at www.JCPTechnical.com.
September 6, 2013
‘Graham: Nukes In Hands Of Terrorists Could Result In Bomb Coming To Charleston Harbor’
South Carolina U.S. Sen. Lindsey Graham says he’s convinced that Syrian President Assad used chemical weapons on his own people.
Graham told reporters in Goose Creek on Tuesday that taking action against Syria in response to the situation is not a question of yes or no, but rather a question of bad or worse choices.
He says if there is no U.S. response, Iran will not believe America’s resolve to block Iran from developing nuclear weapons. Graham also says those nuclear weapons in the hands of terrorists could result in a bomb coming to Charleston Harbor.
April 15, 2013
Deb and I would like to extend our condolences and prayers to the victims of the attack in Boston today.
April 4, 2013
With North Korea threatening to start a nuclear war, now more than ever you should prepare your family and community for nuclear disasters. Pick up you rcopy today.
January 1, 2013
Now Available at https://www.createspace.com/4025741 and
Are nuclear threats from terrorists real? Should I believe the hype?
Is the information the government giving me pertinent? Do I get ALL the information?
What can I do to prepare? How can my community prepare?
Where is America Headed? WHO DO WE TURN TO FOR SOLUTIONS?
These and other questions are answered by Jim Poesl in, Nuclear Terrorism, A Family Response Guide. This book was written for the average person to understand nuclear issues in a reasonable amount of time. This is not a book of checklists. This book is a must read for Disaster Response Workers, Hazardous Waste Site Personnel, and anyone interested in protecting their Community and Family.
Jim has 20 years of unique hands-on experience in the environmental field. His education includes a Bachelor of Science Degree in Environmental Studies from Stockton State College, Pomona, NJ, a Graduate Certificate in Environmental Management and Infrastructure, and a Master of Science Degree in Environmental Policy Studies from NJIT. Jim is a Certified Indoor Environmentalist, and an Authorized OSHA Outreach Trainer for Disaster Response Workers.
The Foreword was written by Dr. Norman J. Van Houten. Dr. Van Houten has extensive experience in Health & Safety, Industrial Hygiene, Environmental Science, Security, and Disaster Response. He has been involved with teaching or managing Health & Safety Programs for over 30 years for facilities and government institutions. His degrees include an Associates degree in Chemical Technology, a Bachelors degree in Criminal Justice, Safety, Security and Fire Administration, with a Minor in Chemistry, a Masters degree in Environmental Science from the New Jersey Institute of Technology, and a Doctor of Philosophy in Environmental Science, Industrial Hygiene, and Toxicology.
JCP Technical Services will hold disaster response seminars for select groups to present the information in this book and disaster response Contact Jim at 201-984-5625 for an interview or hosting a seminar.