Gasproof Shelters

In war, especially in stabilized situations, large areas may be sul>-jected to harassing or lethal concentrations of gas for long periods, possibly for several days at a time. Under such conditions, provision must Ik* made for troops to eat, rest, and sleep without wearing gas masks. Placcs where work can be carried on without the encumbrance of the mask are also necessary, or at least most desirable, for headquarter*, medical dressing stations, telephone and signal stations, observation posts, etc. In rear areas subject to shelling and bombing, offices and sleeping quarters for Lines of Communication personnel must likewise be made habitable under gas-attack conditions. The answer to these requirements is the gasproof shelter. Such a shelter is any enclosed space, dugout, part of a trench, a tent, building or room which is rendered gastight. It may be u simple nonventilated enclosure designed for only limited use or it may be an elaborate installation with a ventilating system enubling it to be occupied indefinitely.

A'onventilaUd shelters are for limited use only in the protection of ]personnel. Frequently they may be all that it is practicable to provide for front-line troops except in stabilized situations. Such shelters are merely enclosed spaces rendered as gastight as conditions and facilities


The primary principle involved in the location or construction of a 11011 ventilated shelter is the elimination of drafts. Insofar as practicable, such shelters should be protected from the wind, thus the lee side of a hill is preferable to the top or the windward side. Such shelters should always lie provided with air-lock doorways, as described below.

Iirnonventilated shelters no fires can be allowed, since fires quickly consume the oxygen of the enclosed air and cause air from the outside to be drawn in through cracks and crevices and even through ordinary walls, Chimneys and all openings should be plugged up to render them as airtight as possible. The shelter should be located as high up as practicable, considering also other safety requirements. In the field, ravines, valleys, and wooded patches, where the concentration and persistency of gas are likely to be greatest, should be avoided. In buildings, the upper floors will be safer as regards gas concentration than the lower floor and cellar.

The air-lock doorway is an enclosed passageway with a door at each end, the passage being deep enough so that a man on entering or leaving cannot handle both doors at once. For medical dressing stations the passage must be sufficiently ch*ep to accommodate two men carrying a stretcher. The doors hang on slanting frames and consist of weighted

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