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Shelter-in-place kits distributed as chemical weapons are destroyed, funding becomes available

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Posted at 5:07 PM, Dec 23, 2019

MADISON COUNTY, Ky. (LEX 18) — Madison County Emergency Management has distributed shelter-in-place kits to 33,000 homes and businesses in the county.

They were passed out in the event of a "chemical release" from the Bluegrass Army Depot, which is currently destroying chemical weapons.

While the stockpile is shrinking, there is still a risk of chemical exposure to the public. However, Madison County Emergency Management said the likelihood of any incident that would put people in danger is extremely low.

"The precautions that the chemical activity take and those that the pilot plant take are very extreme," MCEM Director Dustin Heiser said. "There are a lot of precautions if there ever is a release, but we also have to prepare ourselves if there ever is one so we can protect the community as needed."

Heiser tells LEX18 that the kits were also passed out because $1.3 million in funding recently became available through the Army.

He said this is the first time in more than 10 years that the kits have been disseminated to the public.

To prepare in the event of a chemical release, Heiser said people should choose a room where they would seek shelter. The room should on the first or second floor and not in the basement.

According to Heiser, a bathroom is an ideal space. Then, you should pre-cut the plastic in your kit to fit around every door, window, outlet and vent in the room.

He said you should label each piece depending on what it will cover. Therefore, in the event of an emergency they will be easy to identify.

Here are instructions on how to cover each surface.

The county would alert the public through outdoor weather sirens, indoor advisory alert radios, wireless emergency alert systems via cellphones, TV and radio in the event of a release.

Each 'zone' would receive different instructions depending on the situation. You can find out which zone you are here.