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Indiana Department of Homeland Security

IDHS > About IDHS > Get Prepared > Family & Personal Preparedness > Be Informed > Chemical Chemical

Chemical attacks are a deliberate release of toxic solids, liquids, or gases. These are very harmful not only to people, but the environment as well. If exposed to a chemical attack contact your local emergency personnel immediately.

Things to Know:

Chemical Weapons: Are man-made and come in a liquid or gas form. They affect a person's nervous system, blood, skin, or lungs. They cause blistering, inability to breathe, vomiting, loss of bodily control, and possibly death.

Chemical Agents: Can be used as a weapon - are hazardous chemicals that have serious effects on people who are exposed. Examples are bombs, aerosol devices, or even crop-dusting airplanes.


Common symptoms of exposure to chemicals weapons include:

  • Watery eyes
  • Twitching
  • Choking
  • Having problems breathing
  • Loss of coordination

What to do:

  • Find clean air.
  • Do NOT be downwind of the contamination.
  • Move as far away as possible from the contamination.
  • Remove clothing by cutting it off. Do NOT pull contaminated clothing over your head. Then put into a plastic bags and put it far away from other persons.
  • Decontaminate by taking a shower with lots of soap and water. Be sure to NOT scrub the chemical into your skin. You want to wash it off of you instead.
  • If you are stuck in a building and can't get out without going past the chemical agent/material, find clean air or start to barricade yourself as far away as possible.  Contact authorities as soon as possible.