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Health Department EH Mobile Site

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Dirty Bomb Attack Immediate Action Guidance

At the blast site:

  • Follow instructions of the emergency personnel.

  • Stay calm, you have time, decontamination does not need to begin immediately.

  • Remain in the area until released by emergency personnel.

  • Cover your mouth and nose with a handkerchief.

Near the blast site:

  • Stay calm, you have time, decontamination does not need to begin immediately.

  • Cover you mouth and nose with a handkerchief or other material.

  • Proceed on foot away from the area.

  • Do not take public transport, so you do not contaminate buses, subways, railcars, etc.

  • If you drive your car or truck, do not use the air conditioner or heater.

  • At home, remove clothing outside and place in plastic bag.

  • Shower twice, wash all hair thoroughly.

  • News broadcasts will instruct you on how to discard contaminated clothing and how to clean your car or truck.


  • Symptoms depend on amount of radiation received.

  • Radiation doses are referred to as the number of rem, just like temperature is referred to as the number of degrees.

  • A chest x-ray is about 1/100th rem.

  • An exposure of 5 - 75 rem produces few observable symptoms.

  • An exposure of 75 - 200 rem causes vomiting, fatigue, and appetite loss - recovery takes a few weeks.

  • An exposure of more than 600 rem causes hair loss and an inability to fight infections - it is usually fatal.

Treatment if exposed:

  • Treatments are available for some types of radiation exposure.

  • Wash any open wound several times with soap and water.

  • Anti nausea drugs and painkillers can relieve some symptoms.

  • Antibiotics can fight secondary infections.

  • Blood transfusions may be needed.

This is a scaled down version
of our main environmental health site. For more detailed information please visit our main site at http://www.doh.state.fl.us/chd/volusia/EH/index.html