- The Washington Times - Thursday, February 20, 2003

WASHINGTON, Feb. 20 (UPI) — The Pentagon expects next week to begin distributing more than 80,000 emergency hoods to the almost 25,000 Defense Department employees, journalists and service personnel who work in the 46 Defense Department buildings around Washington, D.C., defense officials announced Thursday at a "town hall" meeting.

The hoods will protect victims' breathing in the event of a gas attack for only about an hour — long enough to escape the building, but not close to the protection offered by the gas masks issued to troops in the field.

The emergency hoods are called Survivair Quick 2000, and they sell for about $180 each. They are also stashed at the White House and on Capitol Hill.

There will be enough hoods to outfit all Defense Department employees, plus contract workers, journalists and visitors.

They will be handed out in increments of 500 hoods, beginning Monday.

With the threat of a terrorist attack officially raised last week, Pentagon police handed out a new "what to do in case of emergency" flier at the entrances. A new computer emergency network and public address system will tell Pentagon inhabitants whether to evacuate, stay at their desks or move to safe areas within the Pentagon reservation.

One-hundred twenty-five Pentagon employees died Sept. 11, 2001, when a hijacked plane slammed into the southwest side of the building. An additional 64 people perished aboard the plane.

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