Survive In Place

The Ultimate Step-By-Step guide to creating your Urban Survival Plan

This came to me from my bio-weapons expert who studied under Ken Alibek.  It is a basic procedure for how to go into and out of your safe room in the event of a bio event.

I’ve considered the possibility that I may have to get OUT of that safe room to perhaps retrieve medicine, shut off utilities, or heaven-forbid, draw someone away from my family.

My method consists of the following.  After building the safe room, sealing it, and getting everyone inside, I divide the remaing space into a larger living zone, and a smaller ‘warm’ zone.  The warm zone should be easy to seal to facilitate access.

Everything outside the room is a ‘hot zone’.  To be more specific, think of an airlock in a spaceship.  You want to do a space walk and need to get out.  The inside of the ship is the cold zone which leads to a sealed door which opens onto the warm zone.

Once inside, the cold door is re-sealed behind you and at that point you open the door to the outside .  In this chamber, you have your Tyvek suit, HANGING UP, for reasons I’ll explain in a moment, your gas mask, a bottle of bleach solution in a spray bottle, roll of duct tape, box of latex (or nitrile) gloves, and an extra gallon of bleach and water to mix it.

Going out, all you have to do is put on the suit, gas mask, and latex gloves, duct tape your wrists and ankles, and place the duct tape roll on one wrist.  The reason you do this is so that if you tear your suit while in the hot zone, you can instantly re-seal it.

Coming back in, this procedure must be followed exactly:  Both latex gloves come off and you don’t touch anything except the bleach bottle.  If you didn’t use latex gloves, you’ll contaminate your bottle.  You take the spray bottle and start at the top of your suit on the hood.  This works easier if two people go out, so that you can get hard to reach spots, but in a pinch it can be done alone.  Working down, you saturate and make sure that no part of your suit is dry, remembering the bottoms or your feet.  Once, done, you unzip the suit, let it fall to your ankles, step out, and hang it up with the back towards you, and without touching the back because this part is still ‘hot’.  Now you can spray the back.  You are almost done.

Retake the spray bottle and mist over the walls and floor and then, making sure the door to the hot zone is closed and sprayed, you open your inner door, enter, and then re-seal it.  No door shoud ever be open without the one preceding it being shut and sealed.

This antechamber is also important in that you can use it to decon other occupants if they’ve been exposed, and also decon people who come in from the outside after you’re already in there.  It must be insisted upon that those entering remove all clothing and be sprayed with bleach and then rinsed off.  Modesty is trivial in this situation and a pair of scrubs will fit just about anyone.  These need to be kept in the cold zone so people will just have to turn away while they dress.  As for the bleach bath, it need not irritate the skin, because a 10 to 1 water to bleach ratio is extremely effective.

Note from David:

The same concept of “hot”, “warm”, and “cold” areas can be used for a chlorine gas incident or other non-weaponized chemical incidents, except you do not need to use bleach.  Depending on the chemical agent, it may or may not make sense to do this.  If you have specific chemical threats in your area, you will want to find out the concentrations that are lethal, what kind of mask you need to filter the chemical out, and what you need to have on hand in your “warm” area to neutralize it.


Love this info?  Hate it?  Either way, let me know you’re alive by commenting below 🙂

If you’re reading this post and you’re not already a Survive In Place student, you need to go to right now and sign up.  It’s a 12 week course on surviving disasters in an urban environment.  We cover logistics and responses that will help you in the event of natural disasters, terrorist attacks, accidents, breakdowns in civil order, economic collapse, and even flu pandemics.


David Morris

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239 Responses to “Tyvek Suits and Gas Masks”

  • Daniel says:

    Have a look on Transport Canada’s website for this interesting guidebook.

    CANUTEC’s ERGO 2008 (a software version of the 2008 Emergency Response Guidebook).

  • russ says:

    Good info keep up the good work Thanks

  • Morris says:

    very useful information in an orderly fashion, makes the complex simple. Why didn’t I think of that. mb

  • Allen Lee Runyon Sr. says:

    Great info Thank You. Keep the good info coming.

  • Tim says:

    Great information,its something we all should take serious in times like these.

  • Marie Alberti-Thomson says:

    Thanks so much for such valuable information. I had never thought about this other than the information regarding astronauts. Blessings, Marie

  • Scott says:

    Good information – if you have a safe room. How do you go about making one in the first place?

  • RuthL says:

    Very helpful. Hope we never need it.

  • Robin Pickerill says:

    Having a tool or kmowledge you do not need is BETTER than needing same and NOT having it! Thank you, R.K.Pickerill

  • Keith P. says:

    Dave, great article! As a HAZMAT & WMD Technician, I have to say you have presented this in a very understandable way for the average person. Bleach is probably the best off the shelf product to use for most biologicals. Of course like he stated, things can vary greatly in the chemicals world. One tip about the duct tape if it wasn’t covered further in the comments. Leave your self a tab (or loop)of tape hanging and folded back on itself as you are sealing gloves and boots. This will give you something to grab onto when doffing the protective gear. Ever try pealing duct tape without the end sticking up? While wearing latex gloves? Don’t bother trying. It sucks. Thanks Dave!

  • Charles Cutshaw says:

    I bought Israeli made gas maske and spare filters for my wife and I several years ago. They are as good as US military issue. Don’t know if they are still available or not, but given the world we live in, MILSPEC gas masks are a major item that should be on everyone’s list of “must haves.”

  • Rick S says:

    Very thought provoking and educational. Even though I was in the military for 20 years it has been a long time and I haven’t thought about some of this since then.

  • Nancy Kosling says:

    In trying to relate this knowledge with availablity, there is disparity. The biggest room with air security is my bathroom roll-in shower. I keep the spray bottles of bleach in the bathroom anyway to hit the toilet bowl after use. Plastic painters drop cloths and duck tape I have but as a short statured person who usually resides in a wheelchair, even standing totally upright for a few seconds will not get me tall enough to reach the top of the door edging with tape. Having a paid handyman tape up the plastic for year round use isn’t so handy either. My whole open-plan duplex is a warehouse for survival foods and all the stuff I need if the world goes to h…. in handbasket. The saferoom sounds good on paper, but lacks day-to-day practicality. And yes, I’m still here and reading the column.

  • Nick F says:

    Thanks for the tip about the 10/1 dis-infecting solution, been water:10 and bleach:1: 10/1=solution to clean skin of exposed contaminations of chemicals,.

    I didn’t know that but now I do. Do you have more fundamental ways of using a gas mask, what if somoene can’t get one, what about ways like urinating on a cloath then covering airways (Historic episode: ww1 trenches against mustard gas: Canadian corp defence resulting from surprise of the mustard gas: see ww1 history)

    This online site is like a (www) of ‘Les stroud: survivor man’, thanks and keep these updates coming, 🙂

  • Loreneok. says:

    Very good information, I am making a lit of things to get now. Thanks, please keep them coming.

  • Nick M. says:

    Thank you so much for this valuable info. I thought of a safe area, but
    not of a way in or out of it.
    I should have done so, being I worked in Nuclear Security at a power facility for three years in the past.
    This is very valuable info for those who are interested in what we face
    in our very near future. Heck it is already here, check daily reports
    you will find on the Internet. NO, do not rely on the media for any semblance of good intel.
    I will be addressing this entry, exit for my safe area, STAT.

  • Pat says:

    Thank you for the detailed how-to.

  • Tina Eddy says:

    I love this article. My husband and I were just talking the other night about going to the army surplus to buy some masks. I wonder if I have time to get ready. Things seem to be moving at a very rapid speed. Thankyou for this site and for helping me as well as others to get prepared.

  • Norman says:

    I hope you give out a shopping list,and a description of where safe room should be.Your info is very interesting,but need to know where to procure a gas mask though,too bad us military retirees couldn’t just cozy up to a military base and hold up there!I fear they will shut the internet down and thats when all hell will break loose much like in Mad max!Well if I go someone’s going with me!

  • Beej says:

    Thanks for the info. I live alone so everything is just one person so knowing how to the backs of things is excellant.

  • Laura says:

    Great info–thanks. Could you give instructions for readying a safe room.

  • Debbie says:

    Please share with some of us on how to seal off rooms,I know to use plastic and duck tape but do you tape it to walls and use different rooms in the house? Is this air born? And where to get the suit? Thank You.

  • Carol says:

    So, why not divulge what other chemicals would likely be used on us and what will neutrialize them, such as parts per water etc. etc. so we can get these supplies and be prepared ? How does one know where to purchase a mask, I’m presuming these are not N95 masks ? Also, how do we know for certain the masks we purchase will suffice, and are not also geared to exterminate us while using them ? Thanks again.

  • FLOYD says:


  • Harry says:

    This info should be available to everyone. Thank you.

  • Kitty says:

    For the vertically challenged lady who cannot reach the top of the door to her safe room to tape it, or any other door she needs to tape, may I suggest dutch doors. That is, cut off the doors at a height she can get under in her wheel chair, and leave the top part taped all the time.

  • John McDonald says:

    Good. I recommend a 10% bleach solution.

  • Ric says:

    Thanks keep them coming Im going to get in on your course in a few days

  • Leah says:

    Great info. Thanks so very much! How do you make a safe room though?

  • Buck Crosby says:

    Are there substitutes for bleach ? Would something like listerine be effective ? Listerine can be hhad in an aerosole spray , can bleach ?

  • Rene says:

    Thank you much, keep them coming. I’m going into your course soon.

  • Bob says:

    Before I retired I worked over 20 years in Hazmat and in addition to “Bleach” we found that plain everyday “Dawn” dishwashing soap is a neutralizer to be used on many chemicals. Everyone needs a chemical/hazmat book that truckers hauling hazardous chems must have. Most truck stops have them on their shelves. They are in everyday language most people can understand.

  • Bob Morton says:

    For those looking for suppliers of gas masks/filters, go to
    They also have a good selection of other survival equipment, but shop around, because no one has everything.
    Be sure your bleach is without additives (scent, etc.) so that you can also use it to sterilize water. Tastes like s**t, but it works. Filter it through coffee filters first.

  • Sarah says:

    Thanks so much for all the helpful information!

  • Ken says:

    Something that you did not cover in this article is the idea of air filtration in the “clean” room. It is highly unlikely that any room in any home in this country is hermetically sealed. I would highly suggest that anyone wanting to survive a CBR attack stay in as much deon equipment as possible until the “all clear” has been sounded by those that have the monitoring gear to detect the threat. That means 24/7. And I highly doubt that a Tyvek (paper) suit would offer adequate protection from a nerve agent.

    I’m just relying on 40 year old CBR (Chemical, Biological and Radiological) training that I got in the Army, maybe things could not get as bas as they were when the Soviets were the threat du jour.

  • drue says:

    good article as far as it goes. the need seems obvious but the how to information from what supplies go into the room, how to prepare a room in a home you have to live in day to work or how to prepare one quickly in an emergency. what is a tyvek suit and where to get such? i suspect an ebook could be written on this subject. is one already available and if so, where? thought provoking. thanks

  • PJtiger says:

    Hello. Dave ! Still here. This is a good plan,but sounds expensive and where would you even Find such things? We may already be getting radiation from the several ‘in trouble ” power plants. I noticed that
    in just a couple of days a few plants are just curlimg up and others are pale and lost half their branches.
    You will all be glad Everything is Just Fine !!…as usual.
    You say you want to hear from us…I hope you were serious.

  • FLB says:

    Well, todays lesson just gave me some fantastic ideas!! “Safe room” is just across the hall from the large master bath, and by adding one door-way at the bedroom hall I have a “tunnel” from safe room to bath with shower, tub, and LOTS of storage space. The tunnel will need to be either cold or warm which I’ll figure out as I go. I also have a closet outside one wall of the Safe where I’ve been storing canned foods, dry foods, drinks, etc, but it is presently “hot”. Need to do something about that as I could just cut thru that wall for food. Also, in case of hurricane winds or tornado I would LIKE to cover walls and ceiling with AT LEAST half inch plywood, but better yet Kevlar. Then remember to seal up incoming air ducts and put in a bottle of Oxygen. Wow! I have lots of good ideas, and very little money. This is ALL expensive, and prices keep rising. Also have a 500 gallon wooden hot-tub on the patio in case we run out of water. Also use a DISTILLER for ALL our drinking water with a pinch of Sea Salt for taste and minerals, (per gallon).
    Alive and thinking!! Enjoying the heck out of your articles!

  • FLB says:

    For all you wonderful brother and sister Christians out there: LORD says “FEAR NOT!”. I too believe HE will come soon and rapture us out of here.
    Until then, we are to go about our daily lives. Have you yet seen Him Rapture someone who drives off the road and drowns in the lake? He says “hold what you have”, and that includes your life. We MAY need to go through some of this while we wait for His imminent return. God Bless you all, and hope it never comes to what we must prepare for. Consider Israel.

  • Lee says:

    I liked your article!

  • I’m glad Ken mentioned air filtration. You’d not want to be in there long or you’d suffocate. Sounds great for those who are game, but count me out. I’m a very small woman in upper 60’s, widow with limited means and partially disabled. I could not build such a unit nor pay someone else to do it. If I had to live like a mole, forget it. Quality of life is more important to me than staying alive. And the chlorine bleach? I can’t even swim in a chlorinated pool. Too sensitive to it. That’s why I filter it out of my drinking water and shower. The stuff is toxic for crying out loud. Why do I want it on my skin? Maybe better than some other chemical, eh? I’ll do other stuff, but this “bomb shelter” mentality is going too far for me. I’ve got a better place to be after I die anyway 🙂

  • Scott says:

    good info on bleach mix and use never thought of how to get in and out of safe room thanks for bringing it up it could make a big differance

  • Rol Farrar says:

    Keep it up, and Thanks.

  • Eileen says:

    I agree that bleach fumes and claustrophobia are worse than going home to Yeshuah: )

  • Dennis Oakes says:

    Has any one considered that if you totally seal a room and have many refugees living in such a cramped, small space due to the necessity of such a crisis, that you will probably die of asphyxiation, from using up all of the oxygen? Without constant airflow, both in and out, this would happen in short order. Would it not be better to move from the urban deathtrap now, before it’s too late, to a rural setting far from “ground-zero,” or to at least have a rural retreat with bug-out bags packed and transportation ready, including spare fuel and bicycles packed, with well rehearsed plans to leave immediately, with alternate routes included, along with water, weapons and food?

  • Dale says:

    Alive and kicking, thanks for sharing!

  • Travis says:

    Amen Dennis Oakes!!! Good, useful info. Please don’t stop. It keeps us all thinking. I can see both sides as far as the opinions and I can agree with both, but I’m a fighter, I want to live, I will do what I can to make that happen as well as take care of my family and the friends I trust that have taken the necessary steps to prepare themselves and not just rely on others to do the work and then tag along. Failure to prepare is preparing to fail!

  • Juan says:

    So glad I stumbled upon you. I’ve begun assessing my home to determine how best to implement your advice.

  • Hank says:

    I’ll be 96 next year and having memory troubles. No, actually 95. So what was your question again?

  • Bill says:

    Aive and well . . . so far! Thanks for the information.

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