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We know that the technology to make weapons out of disease-spreading organisms and toxins is potentially available to people who might be willing to use it. Because the consequences of such an attack could be severe, we need to be prepared to respond as quickly and effectively as possible.

The Centers for Disease Control (CDC) provides up-to-date information for professionals and the general public on specific bioterrorism agents including fact sheets, case definitions and communicating in the first hours.

The following is a list of bioterrorism agents for which fact sheets are available. For a comprehensive list of bioterrorism agent information on this website, please see the Bioterrorism Agents [external link] page.

Info for the General Public

Radiation Emergencies

Radiation emergencies may be intentional (terrorism) or unintentional. A nuclear power plant accident [external link], a nuclear explosion [external link] or a dirty bomb [external link] are examples of radiation emergencies [external link]. If a radiation emergency occurs, then you need to take action.

Below are some examples of different types of radiation emergencies. Go to the CDC’s website [external link] for more information.

  • Nuclear Emergencies
  • Dirty Bomb or Radiological Dispersal Device (RDD)
  • Radiological Exposure Device (RED)
  • Nuclear Power Plant Accident
  • Transportation Accidents
  • Occupational Accidents

Take Action

  1. Get Inside
  2. Stay Inside
  3. Stay Tuned

Get inside [external link] immediately and take shelter for a period of time instead of leaving. The walls of your home, office or other buildings can block much of the harmful radiation. Because radioactive materials become weaker over time, staying inside for at least 24 hours can protect you and your family until it is safe to leave the area. Getting inside of a building and staying there is called "sheltering in place." 

  • If you are in a car, bus or other vehicle during a radiation emergency, get inside a building right away. Cars do not provide good protection from radioactive material.
  • If you have loved ones in schools, daycares, hospitals, nursing homes or other places during a radiation emergency, stay where you are. These facilities have emergency plans in place to keep people safe at the facility.
  • Bring pets inside immediately and any supplies needed to sustain them for 24 hours, this includes going to the bathroom, toys, and food.
  • Provide shelter for others can save their life without endangering your own. Have the person remove their outer layer of clothing before entering the building. Wash all body parts that were uncovered when the radiation emergency occurred.