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Information about the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA)

FEMA Regional Districts
Are You Prepared?
Be Informed
Biological Terrorism
Chemical Weapons
Consider Your Pets
Emergency Kit
Emergency Money
Family Communication Plan
Fire Safety
If You Have To Evacuate
Important Documents
Information Management
Get Involved
Make A Plan
Medical Supplies
Personal Support Network
Stay Or Go
The Elderly and Disabled
Vehicle Emergency Kit
Working Together


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Chemical and Biological Weapons

Chemical and Biological Weapons: Chemical and biological terrorist ("bio terrorists") use diseases and chemicals to sicken or kill people. If biological or chemical weapons are used in a large metropolitan are, the number of casualties could be enormous. It would cause mass panic and mayhem, not just where the attack occurs, but throughout the country.

Bio terrorists attack by introducing rare diseases. Doctors may never have seen these diseases. They could have a hard time diagnosing a person quickly. A disease could spread without anyone being aware of it. The attack might not be obvious for days or week.

A chemical attack would be obvious quickly. Some people would be affected immediately if they were at the site of the attack. Chances are, emergency instructions would reach you by radio or television in time for you to get into a protected place.

Biological Weapons: Biological weapons are categorized by availability and severity.

(1) Category A diseases like anthrax, plague, and smallpox are considered the easiest to "weaponize," but they are very difficult to spread effectively. Anthrax and plague can be cured if caught immediately. Any odd powder in a piece of mail or spread about a work area should be investigated. Sudden, severe, flu-like symptoms or cough should be examined by a doctor.

(2) Category B and C diseases, like Q fever, hanta virus, and tick borne hemorrhagic fever, are even more difficult for terrorists to obtain and spread.

Chemical Agents: Chemical weapons burn, poison, and make people ill. Hundreds of chemicals could be made into weapons. Some are ordinary agents, others are more rare. They include agents that cause nerve damage, bleeding, blistering, or lung damage. Others are heavy metals, pesticides, explosives, poisons, and flammable gases and liquids.


(1) Learn about emergency plans in your area.

(2) Stay alert for signs of rare disease or unusual events.

(3) Contact health or law enforcement agencies if you have any information to share.

Don't Panic: The best thing you can do is to remain calm and try not to worry. Government officials are on high alert. People who overreact may do more harm than good.

You do need to remain alert. If you have questions or concerns, contact your local or state health department, federal health agency, or law enforcement agency.

This guide outlines common sense measures to start preparing for emergencies before they happen.

Listed below are talking points developed by FEMA that will help you in making you and your family as prepared as possible if there is a disaster in the area in which you live.

(1) Are you prepared?

(2) Be informed

(3) Chemical and biological terrorism

(4) Chemical and biological weapons

(5) Consider your pets

(6) Create a personal support network

(7) Develop a family communication plan

(8) Emergency Information Management

(9) Emergency kit

(10) Emergency money

(11) Fire safety

(12) Get involved

(13) If you have to evacuate

(14) Important documents

(15) Make a plan

(16) Medical supplies

(17) Shelter-in-place

(18) Stay or go

(19) The elderly and the disabled

(20) Vehicle emergency kit

(21) Working together

Preparing Makes Sense. Get Ready Now.

Information was developed by the U.S. Department of Homeland Security in consultation with AARP, the American Red Cross and the National Organization on Disability.

For more information contact:


Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC)

1-800-311-3435 www.cdc.gov

U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (DHHS) 1-877-696-6775 www.os.dhhs.gov

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