Secure Buildings: Pre-Event – Long-Term Advice
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Last Updated
April 27, 2005

Pre-Event – Long-Term Advice

This is a list of some of the actions that can help make a building safer in the event of a chemical or biological release. Which of these should be performed for a particular building, if any, depends on the costs and the level of threat.

  1. Ensure building operators can quickly manipulate HVAC systems to respond to different types of attack.

Manipulating the HVAC system can help slow the spread of a chem/bio agent or can rapidly clear a chemical agent out of a building. Rapid response could save lives. (More)

  1. Upgrade HVAC filters and seal gaps to prevent air bypass

Particle filters can remove biological agents (such as anthrax) from the air handling system. However, the tighter the filter, the more air will try to leak around it. (More)

  1. Establish internal and external safe zones for people to use during a toxic release.

By manipulating (and perhaps modifying) the building's HVAC system, safe areas can be created inside the building when there is an outdoor hazardous release. Also, some external areas near a building will be safer than others during an indoor release. (More)

  1. Provide separate air exhaust systems for mail rooms and other high-risk locations

Some areas are likely targets for introducing a chem/bio agent into a building. Isolating the air handling systems from these areas can prevent the agent from spreading throughout the building. (More)

  1. "Weatherize" the building by sealing cracks around doors and windows.

Gaps around windows and doors, and holes in the building shell, allow conditioned air to escape the building, and outdoor air to enter. Sealing these gaps can reduce the amount of outdoor contamination that enters the building. (More)

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