Friday, April 27, 2012

“Duct Tape Alert” and Stay Put Kit

In February 10, 2003 the U.S. Department of Homeland Security recommended that Americans should prepare for a biological, chemical, or radiological terrorist attack by assembling a “disaster supply kit”, including duct tape and plastic sheath, three days worth of food and water, a radio with fresh batteries and emergency kits both for the home and vehicle.
The warning was made because of recent intelligence reports explaining the risk of a terrorist attack. Of course, the following day stores all across America saw a surge in sales of these items. Because Duct Tape sold out in many places, the incident became known as the “Duct Tape Alert”.


“The Duct Tape Alert” was essentially a recommendation so that people would have the materials needed for a Shelter in Place strategy.
What Shelter in Place basically means is that due to a NBC attack or other disaster you find a room with no windows or small ones, maybe a bathroom, walk in closet or large pantry, and you seal it as well as possible using duct tape and plastic sheet. The plastic would be used for windows and doors that would be harder to seal using duct tape alone. AC, electric sockets and ventilations should be sealed as well.  You are supposed to stay put listening to the radio until told its safe to leave the shelter. In theory, you shelter in place for just a few hours until the threat is over.
How effective is this strategy? Based on several reports that I’ve read I’d say its of marginal efficiency, and it will strongly depend on how effectively sealed the room was, but it is still better than nothing.

Stay Put Kit

Besides Sheltering in Place there’s other reasons why a kit for when staying home makes sense. Expanding the kit just a bit makes it applicable for various other scenarios, many of them much more probable than an NBC terrorist attack.  Thinking of tornado and earthquakes, your home may suffer structural damage which you would need to patch up as well as you can until proper repairs can be made. Having plywood pre-cut for windows before storms hit is common practice for many in tornado country. In sieged Sarajevo, plastic sheet was used to shut windows that had been blasted after the city was shelled. What if a tree smashed through the living room leaving a huge gap opened or you have to pull someone out of the rubble after a quake?
The suggested kit does not include obvious tools most people already have, like screwdrivers, hammer, a saw, or even better for those in wooded areas, a gasoline chainsaw.
A SP Kit should include:

Duct Tape:

3M 2245 Scotch Heavy Duty All-Weather Duct Tape, 1.88-Inch x 45-Yard, 1-Pack
We all know how useful it is so you probably have some already. I’ve mentioned how Gorilla tape is probably the best tape on the market, but you may want to buy some more rolls of cheaper common gray duct tape because Gorilla tae is probably overkill for sealing a door. Don’t go too cheap though, some of the cheapest stuff hardly sticks at all to surfaces and easily comes off on its own. So as to have an accurate estimate, choose in which room you would shelter in place and add up the necessary linear yards to seal the chosen room. Add to that 20% as a margin of error and waste and keep that duct tape apart to be used only when sheltering in place.

Plastic Sheet:

Clear Plastic Poly Sheeting 10′ x 100′ 6 mil
Another common multi-purpose item. Can be used for everything from sealing openings, making shelter or collecting rain water, just to mention a couple of the many uses it has. It helps a lot that it can be found dirt cheap sometimes in hardware stores. Here in Ireland, I’ll tape a large plastic sheet with me when hiking in case I have to improvise shelter.

Staple Gun:

Stanley TR45K Light Duty Staple Gun Kit
Havent seen this one mention often. It will not seal of course like duct tape would, but it makes for much more solid shelter construction. If a section of your house is destroyed or a window broken, folding over the edge of the plastic sheet two or three times and then stapling it will make a better improvised window or wall. A nail gun would be perfect to use in combination with plywood.
If you are ever left with nothing, but you manage to salvage some plywood, some 2x4s, plastic sheet, duct tape, staple gun, a hammer and some nails, you can make a pretty acceptable shelter until you find something better. People in third world countries and now tent cities in first world ones do it all the time.


Stanley 55-136 36-Inch Forged Hexagonal Steel Ripping Bar
A big one. For some tasks such as removing wreckage, a prybay can be priceless. The typical cheaper ones have hexagonal shapes, but sometimes you can find better ones, I shaped,  for slightly more money. I like the ones that have a 90º angle, or as close to it as possible, these you can sometimes hammer into places before levering.  Little Tip: If you have a length of metal tube, it can be used along with the crowbar to get even more leverage force.
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Penny Pincher said...

You can also add a squirrel cage fan with a HEPA filter, there are plans on

Anonymous said...

besides the expensive hooligan
fire-rescue tool, there's the
Fat Max:

Anonymous said...

+1 on the fatmax. We got one to rip down walls during a remodel. The jaw grabs studs perfectly. It's also a hammer and pry bar.

Be careful when taping a room. A family in Israel suffocated a few years back when they did too good of a job sealing their room.

N95 masks are a good bet - keep a box in the house for these occasions.

Anonymous said...

This strategy was based on the terrorists exploding a chlorine tank at a water company. The gas would drift through a heavily populated area, killing or injuring many.

Anonymous said...

An advice when using length of pipe for additional leverage.
With longer pipes you can produce A LOT of force and if you're not careful you might end up bending the crowbar, ruined mine that way.