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The page below is a sample from the LabCE course Bioterrorism: The Laboratory's Role and Response. Access the complete course and earn ASCLS P.A.C.E.-approved continuing education credits by subscribing online.

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In Case of a Dirty Bomb Attack

  • Stay inside or get inside quickly. Find a “Shelter-in-place”. To “shelter in” is a way to make the building you are in safe as possible to protect yourself until help arrives. You should not try to “shelter in” in a vehicle unless you have no other choice. The best room to use is one with as few windows and doors as possible. Be sure to close all windows and doors, and turn off the furnace, air conditioners, and exhaust systems. As best as possible, seal all openings in windows and doors.
  • Monitor your radio for instructions from authorities.
  • If you believe you’ve been exposed and you can’t get to a hospital, shed all your clothes as quickly as possible. Don’t take the clothes inside because you may spread contamination. Go straight to the shower and thoroughly wash all body parts with a coarse soap.
  • It is important not to ingest radiation by eating contaminated food or even chewing on contaminated fingernails. Also, certain types of radioactivity can be flushed from the body by drinking large amounts of water.
  • After an attack don’t travel through heavily contaminated areas. If you can get out of the general area through an uncontaminated route, do so—otherwise, stay indoors until assistance arrives.