Wailing best describes the sound of sirens or a high pitched screech that climbs in decibels as time passes. 1 second passes. But this was no time to think, training kicks in and his body starts to go though the motions that would possibly save his life.
His world goes dark as his eyes snap shut and he cuts off breathing, holding his breath as trained. His left hand swiftly slides down the side of his body and grasps the flap of his chemical mask bag in a death grip. 2 seconds pass.
With his left hand, he rips open the bad and his right hand plunges inside and seizes the alien shaped face mask and wrenches it free. 3 seconds pass.
The straps and the cover falls forward and free from the mask as his right hand glides it into place over his face. 4 seconds pass.
With all the power in his lungs, he blows and empties his last good lungful of air into his mask, squeezing out the contaminated air from the sides of his face mask. His lungs are empty. 5 seconds pass.
His left hand glides back up the side of his body to the top of his head and tugs a handful of scraps down the back of his head. Fingers work franticly to pull and tighten each individual scrap that seats his mask in place on his face. 6 seconds pass.
His hands make a crisscross motion in front of his body, securing the last to scrapes in place and he takes his first rapid breath and quickly exhales hard again into the mask to check his seal. 7 seconds pass.
His eye lenses are all fogged up from his breath and will be slow to clear, but he can see enough to locate his buddy. 8 seconds pass.
They turn to each other and start to check one another’s scraps, covers, and placement of their gas mask; making adjustments as necessary. 9 seconds pass. In less than a minute they will know if their training has saved their lives.
If you are fortuned enough today to pass by a veteran, it would be nice to thank them for their service and sacrifice; because in my opinion, they have defiantly earned a few seconds of our time.