Suffocate for Safety


It's full of lots of that science that even Rocket Men don't understand, but here is some interesting speculation on the likely dire fate awaiting those attempting to follow Code Orange advice floating around about plastic sheeting and sealed rooms. It's not just the oxygen–it's the carbon dioxide, stupid.

NEXT: Digital Genes

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  1. I was just going to put a bread bag over my head and melt it into place with a lighter. So much for that idea!

  2. I was talking with a friend in Israel yesterday who said that all businesses and public buildings had to have a plastic room for people to go to in case of chemical attack. I guess they didn’t get the memo.

  3. Lefty, I’m guessing those Israeli plastic rooms are a little better engineered than plastic and duct tape.

  4. And the nominees for this years Darwin award?

  5. Do we need to put a sign on the house that says “Do not allow children to play with this house, it may cause suffocation”?

    This goes down in the category of “No shit…ya THINK?”

  6. Well, something tells me that people who would actually go out and buy duct tape and plastic in the hopes that it would save them from a biological or chemical attack aren’t exactly the brightest people in the world.

  7. In fact, these are the types of people we need to cull from the herd. If they do it by their own hand, PERFECT!

  8. I lived in England during the Chernobyl disaster, and I can remember that we were told to stay indoors as much as possible and not to eat locally grown food by the USAF. The staying indoors part seemed a little silly, but we followed the food advice. (Not hard since we got all our food from the BX anyway).

    The British governemnt was telling everyone not to worry though, so who knows what the truth was.

  9. And, Lefty, they put the proper cover sheets on the tps reports, too… 🙂

    one story that’s been on the news here (chicago) is how people downstate (to be said with the similar tone as nyc people say “upstate”, or how people from ohio say “cincy”) have been duct taping and plasticing away. if they get some, then we’re all in trouble. sheesh! it’s like civil defense in maybery…

    but Jim, we could all go out and play “invisible man” with our plastic bags on!

  10. In my Environmental Systems class, the instructor told us that a building must have at least one air-change per hour, to prevent the build-up of dry heat (from people, lights, equipment), latent heat (from bathrooms and people sweating), and odors (bathrooms, sweat, chemical cleaners). Almost everyone has been in a room where the air has been very warm, stuffy, “moist”, and had that not-so-fresh smell. One important thing that he said was that most residential houses leak air so badly that worrying about air-changes is pointless. Another thing is that buildings had ought be to designed so that is “positively-pressured”. That is, the air pressure in the building should be a bit higher that the (typical?) outside air pressure, so that unheated/uncooled air doesn’t enter. This is a bit of a problem in warm areas, where heat follows the path to cooler air.

    Duct taping your window isn’t going to work unless you duct tape your supply-air ducts vents and your return-air ducts. Also, doors leak air too (test yours with a cigarette lighter, or a dollar bill). If your attic is ventilated, and the door to the attic is unsealed, there’s an air-leak there.

    Essentially, the duct-tape recommendation is bogus, not necessarily due to suffocation (unless your house/building has above average insulatory properties and you shut off the HVAC system), but because it wouldn’t work anyway UNLESS you had a situation that would prompt the use O2 tanks.

    Speaking of which, wouldn’t it be more effective to buy gas masks and/or Scuba O2 tanks?

  11. Plastic and duct tape is about as useful as the shuttle escape system was.

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