Guides for Emergency Response: Chemical Agent or Weapon: Nerve Agent Sarin (GB)
Guides for Emergency Response: Chemical Agent or Weapon: Nerve Agent Sarin (GB) Introduction: Nerve agents are organophosphate ester derivatives of phosphoric acid. Some general practices, procedures, and methods can be applied to a number of diff erent toxic chemical agents. Chemical weapons can work at maximum eff ectiveness when used against untrained people and unprotected targets. Chemical warfare attacks, by their very nature and history, can seriously make psychological warfare a reality through combat stress, poor morale, and general ineffi ciency. In this chapter we deal only with chemical agents designed to kill or seriously injure; that is, we do not deal with riot control agents, incendiary agents, noxious chemicals, temporary incapacitating weapons, or smoke agents. Chemical agents can be inhaled, absorbed through the skin/wounds/abrasions/eyes, or consumed through food and/or drink. Th ey includes blister agents, nerve agents, pulmonary (choking) agents, and blood agents; they can be distributed by spray devices, bombs, aircraft , rockets, missiles, mines, water supplies/reservoirs, and other methods. Some signs that a toxic chemical agent has been released might include an unexplained runny nose, an obvious attack using spray from an aircraft , dead birds/insects/animals/fi sh, mass casualties, distribution of victims in a pattern suggesting a particular plan for dissemination, similar symptoms among casualties, smoke/mist/fumes/clouds of unknown origin, laughter or strange behavior in other persons, slurred speech, diffi culty in breathing, eyesight problems, an oily fi lm on ground or leaves, or unexplained vectors (hosts), or discolored grass or bushes.