The recent and continuing terrorist attacks in London have left Americans shaken and nervous. Where is the best place to go to avoid the effects of terrorism, especially if terrorists hit chemical plants, releasing dangerous gases? The answer is not to run?you're safest if you stay at home.In the first specific study of how to protect yourself from incidents that release dangerous air pollution, researchers in the UK compared the effects of both sheltering and evacuation on the local population during a fire at a Devon plastics factory which resulted in hazardous chemicals released into the surrounding environment. During the first six hours, many of the local residents were evacuated, but then it was decided that remaining residents should stay in their homes. Later, researchers compared the symptoms of both groups and found that the evacuated group had twice as much lung trouble as the people who stayed at home.
The effects of severe chemical air pollution are similar to those of respiratory illness, producing a severe cough and runny eyes. On Dreamland, we have interviewed disaster experts who say that you should always keep duct tape on hand, since if you seal your windows with it, it can even keep out the radiation from an atomic bomb.
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