Enhancing our domestic preparedness has become a national priority. The TPCN plays an important role in our preparedness. We can help recognize and detect threats and ensure appropriate treatment should an event occur.

Our specially trained staff of doctors, nurses, and pharmacists can respond to calls about medications, human exposures, bioterrorism, chemical spills, or other events involving hazardous materials.

Bioterrorism is the intentional release of germs or other biological substances such as toxins that cause illness or death among people.

Biological agents, such as anthrax, do not cause contagious diseases. Others, such as the smallpox virus, can lead to diseases that can pass from person to person. In some cases, biological agents may not result in immediate symptoms or the symptoms may be similar to naturally occurring illnesses such as a cold or influenza.

Chemical Agents can be inhaled, ingested, or absorbed through the skin. These chemicals can come from contaminated food, water, or air. Symptoms may be immediate and range from a mild irritant to painful skin or lung injury.

For more information about biological and chemical agents, visit: www.dshs.state.tx.us/preparedness/bioterrorism

The action you take depends on the following:

If you are inside, and the event is outside:

  • If indoors, stay indoors and turn off all ventilation, close windows and doors.
  • Monitor situation through new channels.

If you are inside, and the event is inside:

  • If you hear a building or fire alarm, move quickly outside.
  • Cover all exposed skin.
  • Cover your mouth with a cloth.

If you are outside, and the event is outside:

  • Cover all exposed skin.
  • Cover your mouth and nose with a cloth
  • Call 9-1-1 if an individual is unconscious or not breathing

To order our brochure, “Texas Poison Center Network and Terrorism”, contact your poison center at 1-800-222-1222 or click on Order Materials.

How to prepare your family

Each family should have a family plan for emergencies, whether they are natural or man-made. For a sample disaster kit, visit the American Red Cross website at: http://www.redcross.org under Disaster Services.

Educate your family so they will know the plan.

Volunteer your services in your community and be trained to help. Consider volunteering to PROTECT TEXAS.  To learn more, visit http://www.dshs.state.tx.us/comprep. Click on PROTECT TEXAS Volunteers.

What should the public do for a suspected biological or chemical poisoning?

  • Monitor the situation through local radio and television broadcasts.
  • Listen for and follow instructions from public health and safety agencies.
  • Call the Poison Center at 1-800-222-1222 for treatment or other information.
  • Call 9-1-1 if an individual is unconscious or not breathing.

For more information or to schedule a presentation for your friends or community groups, contact a poison center educator at1-800-222-1222.