EFFECTS OF NERVE AGENTS. You should
consider nerve agents to be the most dangerous
because of their ability, even in small amounts,
to cause casualties. Their detection by the senses
is unlikely since they are colorless, tasteless, and
virtually odorless, They cause no irritation on
initial contact or on entry into the body. Nerve
agents can cause casualties almost immediately
when vapor is inhaled, when liquid is absorbed
by the eyes or wounds, or when you consume
contaminanted food and water. Speed, both in
donning your mask and in removing of con-
tamination from exposed skin, is imperative. You
can inhale a lethal dose in 5 to 10 seconds.
Symptoms will occur in about 1 minute, in-
capacitation in 1 1/2 minutes, and death in about
At the first sign of a NERVE AGENT in the
atmosphere, stop breathing and put on your
protective mask immediately. If possible, hold
your breath until the mask is on and properly
adjusted. Wear the mask constantly until you are
sure no nerve agent is present in the air and the
all-clear signal is given.
NOTE: The MCU-2/P gas mask is replacing
the Mk5. This new mask provides an improved
field of vision, better voice communications,
lower breathing resistance, and is more comfort-
able to wear than the Mk5 gas mask.
If a liquid nerve or blister agent gets on the
skin, you should remove it at once using the
M-258A1 decontamination kit. Information on
how to use the M-258A1 kit can be found in Basic
Military Requirements, NAVEDTRA 12043.
After decontaminating the affected area, continue
with your combat duties. You should examine the
contaminated area occasionally for local sweating
and muscular twitching. If none develops in the
next half hour and you have no tightness in your
chest, your self-aid was successful and you can
forget it. However, if these symptoms do occur,
inject one atropine injection and one 2-PAM
chloride injection in the outer thigh at once. Wait
10 minutes; if symptoms persist, administer
another atropine injection and another 2-PAM
chloride injection. Wait 10 minutes; if symptoms
persist, administer another atropine injection
only. You cannot give more than three injections
unless under the direct supervision of medical
personnel. However, under realistic conditions
this may not be possible, so the senior person on
the scene must make a decision.
If a drop or splash of liquid nerve agent should
get into your eyes, instant action is necessary to
avoid serious injury.
Do not use the M-258A1 kit to decon-
taminate the eyes, wounds, or mouth as
the decontaminating agent is poisonous
and a caustic hazard.
Quickly open a container of uncontaminated
water, tilt your head back so the eyes look straight
upward, and slowly pour the water into the eyes
so the irrigation will last not less than 30 seconds.
This irrigation must be done in spite of the
presence of nerve agent vapor. Hold your breath
as much as possible during this procedure. If you
cannot hold your breath long enough to complete
rinsing the eyes with water for 30 seconds, rinse
as long as possible and put on your mask before
breathing. After taking several breathes with the
mask on, remove the mask and complete the
decontamination, As soon as the irrigation is
completed, put on the protective mask at once.
Watch the pupil of the contaminated eye during
the next minute, using a mirror if one is available;
or else have someone nearby watch it for you. If
the pupil rapidly gets smaller, inject one atropine
and one 2-PAM chloride injection at once into
the outer thigh. If the pupil does not get smaller,
there is no nerve agent contamination. Do not use
the antidote until you are sure the symptoms are
those of nerve agent poisoning.
MCU-2/P protective mask.