Wednesday, September 08, 2004

A Little Serious Training

In reading this post please remember that these events don't happen to everyone, nor do they happen very often at all. You do, however, have to train for the worst.

Today was focused mostly on refresher training on a few different tasks. The most important and the one that has always scared me the most was NBC training. That's Nuclear Biological and Chemical. That's the stuff you see in the movies when they gas people or expose them to nerve agents or different chemicals. We went over the care and maintenance of the gas mask. How to decontaminate your skin and your equipment if you were ever in a chemically contaminated environment. We went over the different signs and symptoms of exposure to nerve gas and chemical agents. The part that always makes me cringe is when we go over the self administration of the antidote injections. There is a series of injections you give yourself if you're exposed to nerve gas. Picture holding a big magic marker in your hand and jabbing it into your thigh. There's a spring loaded needle that pops out and administers the medicine. These are done in sets of two as many as three times. So here is what would happen if you were attacked with a chemical agent.

First, close your eyes, hold your breath, and find your gas mask which should be in it's case around your waist. Look at the pictures of the guys in Iraq and the green square case on their hip is their gas mask. Then you put your mask on.

Next yell Gas Gas Gas as you wave your arms. This sight alone, in a real situation, would pump your adrenaline through the roof. This lets everyone else know what's going on, as if the convulsing rendition of the kickin' chicken brought on by the nerve agent isn't enough.

Then you decontaminate your hands and face and put the rest of your chemical suit on.

Now, I believe that even though loss of bowl and bladder control is a sign of nerve agent, I would have passed that stage right when I saw someone wearing their gas mask yelling GAS GAS GAS.

At this point if you believe you've been exposed because you have signs and symptoms you administer the injections. I am not sure if I'd be able to remember the order the shots are supposed to go in, and that I am supposed to hold them for ten seconds each. I am going to find everything that even remotely looks like a needle and stick it in my thigh.

I think I would rather be wounded by a bullet. You can look down and say" hey, that's a bullet in my leg. I know it's a bullet because I heard the shot and I see the hole." With chemicals you have no idea. Was somebody just trying on their mask to adjust the straps and someone saw it? They thought there was agent in the air and yelled GAS GAS GAS? Now my adrenaline is pumping and maybe I imagine the symptoms. You know how your skin doesn't itch until someone talks about their skin itching. Now I'm so scared I just give myself the injections.
Now you know the way to tell if there is no more agent in the air if you can't get a hold of anyone with the test equipment?............You find the lowest ranking person and tell them to take their mask off. Not really, but how do you know when it's safe? And even when they give the all clear I think I'm going to wait a few minutes and see what happens to everyone else.

With bullets you just know.

Now that my wife is worried I'm going to get chemically attacked I should mention that it has not happened in Iraq and if it was going to I think it would have already. I just posted this because every time I have training on this it sort of gives me the creeps.

We also talked about sucking chest wounds in first aid but I'll save that for another time. I will give you a little insight though. Duct tape and your ID card.


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