If a chemical agent gets on the skin or protective equipment, it must be removed immediately. Some agents are quick-acting and can incapacitate within a matter of minutes. The degree of injury caused by a chemical agent increases the longer it remains on the skin. The military issues special personnel decontamination kits, called M291 and M295 individual decontamination kits. They are the most effective method of removing chemical agents from the skin. In the absence of a personal decontamination kit, military personnel can use a 5 percent chlorine bleach solution to remove the chemical agent from equipment and a 0.5 percent solution to remove agents from the skin. The eyes are very vulnerable when exposed to nerve and blister agents. If one of these agents gets in the eyes, military personnel are trained to irrigate them with water. U.S. Military personnel are also issued nerve agent antidotes, and taught to use them, if necessary.
Decontamination Powder.Decontamination powder is intended by the military for decontaminating soldiers skin and personal equipment from liquid NBC agents. The powder is usually finely ground to give it a larger surface area, making it an extremely effective adsorbent. Generally the main ingredients are chloride of lime and magnesium oxide which provide both absorption and neutralisation properties.
Chemical Detection Paper.Chemical detection paper can detect and identify airborne chemical warfare agents. The paper is attached as patches to the chemical-defense overgarment using either an adhesive backing or Velcro like bonding material. The paper is impregnated with dyes sensitive to different types of chemical warfare agent, and will indicate which type of agent is present by its corresponding pigment signal.
Nerve Agent Antidote. Medical representatives issue nerve agent antidotes and pretreatment during increased readiness. The primary nerve agent antidote is an intra-muscular injector with a cocktail of oxime and atropine. Additionally, medical representatives will issue pyridostigmine bromide tablets if the appropriate type of nerve agent is expected to be employed. Military members take these tablets, in advance of an attack, when directed by by higher headquarters. These tablets, when combined with the antidote, limits the effect of certain types of nerve agent poisoning.
Biological agents are living micro-organisms that cause disease in people, animals, or plants, or cause materials to deteriorate. These agents can be used directly to cause diseases such as anthrax, cholera, plague, or diphtheria, or indirectly to infect crops and reduce food supplies. These diseases spread in a variety of ways including ingesting the infected plants or animals, bites from infected animals and insects, or inhaling the micro-organisms. Micro-organisms used in biological warfare include bacteria, rickettsiae, fungi, and viruses (commonly referred to as germs). They enter the body, reproduce, and overcome the body's defenses. Biological agents and chemical agents are generally disseminated in the same way. </P >
The mask can provide protection against some airborne biological agents. One of the best defenses against biological agents is the body's resistance to illness. Staying in top physical condition and observing a high standard of personal cleanliness helps military members help reduce the spread of disease. Military members are routinely vaccinated during (and after) basic training for a variety of diseases. Additionally, military members who deploy to areas that are considered "high threat" for biological agents, receive the anthrax vaccine and the smallpox vaccine.