composed of phosphorus pentoxide particles. While field concentrations of the smoke may cause temporary irritation to the eyes, nose, and throat, casualties from the smoke have not occurred in combat operations. No treatment is necessary and spontaneous recovery is rapid.
If burning particles of WP embed in the skin, they must be covered with water, a wet cloth, or mud. A freshly mixed 0.5 percent solution of copper sulfate, which produces an airproof black coating of copper phosphide, may be used as a rinse but must not be used as a dressing. The phosphorus particles must be removed surgically.
The effects of radiation must be understood to apply this knowledge intelligently to the sorting of casualties. The special procedures for nuclear first aid are important, and you must become familiar with them to function effectively as a hospital corpsman.
If there is sufficient warning in advance of an attack, head as quickly as possible for the best shelter available. If you are on duty, your action must be determined by the circumstances existing at the time. In general, this will be the same as for an attack by ordinary high-explosive bombs. At the sound of the alarm, get your protective mask ready. Proceed to your station or to a shelter as ordered. If you are ordered to a shelter, remain there until the all clear signal is given.
In the absence of specially constructed shelters during a nuclear explosion ashore, you can get some protection in a foxhole, a dugout, or on the lowest floor or basement of a reinforced concrete or steel framed building. Generally, the safest place is in the basement near walls. The next best place is on the lowest floor in an interior room, passageway, or hall, away from the windows and, if possible, near a supporting column. Avoid wooden buildings if at all possible. If you have no choice, take shelter under a table or bed rather than go out into the open. If you have time, draw the shades and blinds to keep out most of the heat from the blast. Only those people in the direct line of sight of thermal emission will be burn casualties; that is, anything that casts a shadow will afford protection. Tunnels, storm drains, and subways provide effective shelter except in the case of a nearby underground explosion.
In the event of a surprise attack, no matter where you are, out in the open on the deck of a ship, in a ship compartment, out in the open ashore, or inside a building, drop to a prone position in a doorway or against a bulkhead or wall. If you have a protective mask with you, put it on. Otherwise, hold or tie a handkerchief over your mouth and nose. Cover yourself with anything at hand, being especially sure to cover the exposed portions of the skin, such as the face, neck, and hands. If this can be done within a second of seeing the bright light of a nuclear explosion, some of the heat radiation may be avoided. Ducking under a table, desk, or bench indoors, or into a trench, ditch, or vehicle outdoors, with the face away from the light, will provide added protection.
The injuries to personnel resulting from a nuclear explosion may be divided into three broad classes:
1. Blast and shock injuries
3. Ionizing radiation effects
Apart from the ionizing radiation effects, most of the injuries suffered in a nuclear weapon explosion will not differ greatly from those caused by ordinary high explosives and incendiary bombs. An important aspect of injuries in nuclear explosions is the combined effect; that is, a combination of all three types of injuries. For example, a person within the effective range of a weapon may suffer blast injury, burns, and also from the effects of nuclear radiation. In this respect, radiation injury may be a complicating factor, since it is combined with injuries due to other sources.
Injuries caused by blast can be divided into:
1. Primary (direct) blast injuries
2. Secondary (indirect) blast injuries
Primary blast injuries are those that result from the direct action of the air shock wave on the human body. These injuries will be confined to a zone where fatal secondary blast and thermal