You’ve survived catastrophic disasters in previous episodes like tsunamis, landslides, and hurricanes. But this time, the entire world is at stake. An all out nuclear war has erupted. Countries are launching attacks and others are retaliating.
What should you do to get out of this world-ending scenario? Get inside, because here’s how to survive a nuclear apocalypse.
Right now, nine countries are in possession of nuclear weapons. If any one of them launched even one of the almost 15,000 nuclear warheads in the world, it would cause a wave of chaos and destruction.
A blast from a one-megaton warhead would vaporize anything within one km (0.6 mi) from its center. All of the buildings within 7 km (4 mi) would collapse from a blast of air. Anything in a 12 km (7 mi) radius would be hit by a thermal blast, hot enough to cause third degree burns, ouch.
And you better look away, because everything within 20 km (12 mi) would be hit by a flash of light. It isn’t too dangerous, but it could cause you to go blind for a few minutes.
What should you do when you hear the sirens? Why would fleeing be a bad idea? And how could you survive the fallout?
I know, surviving a nuclear apocalypse may sound like a daunting, impossible task. But here’s a few tips on how to get though the initial blasts, and the aftermath.
Step 1: Hide
The sirens are blaring, and everyone’s in a panic. Better act fast, because you could only have a few minutes before impact. Your first instinct might be to evacuate and get as far away as possible. Hate your Monday morning commute? Well, imagine that but much, much worse.
The roads will likely be jammed with everyone trying to get out. This is a traffic jam that you wouldn’t want to be caught in. You’ll be a bunch of sitting ducks, and you can probably picture the rest.
Your best bet is to hunker down and find some shelter. If you or a neighbor have a bomb shelter, well, you don’t need me to tell you where to go. If there are any underground subways nearby, go there. They’re some of the safest places to withstand an incoming nuke.
But if there aren’t any subways nearby, try to find the largest cement building. In the best case scenario, go to the basement. If it doesn’t have one, get to the center of the building.
Hiding in a building will help to shield you from the blast. Going as deep as you can underground will protect you when the radiation hits. Today is your lucky day. You find a basement to hide in. Everything around you violently shakes as you hear a deafening boom. You find your bearings, and the rumbling settles. But don’t leave just yet, it’s still incredibly dangerous outside.
Step 2: Wait It Out
If you head out now, you’ll be facing nerve-searing heat, and a whole lot of fallout. In as little as 15 minutes, radioactive bits of dirt and debris will start to fall from the sky. Soon enough, everything outside will be covered in irradiated dust. Coming in contact with this stuff can quickly induce radiation poisoning, which is a terrible way to die.
Try to stay inside for at least 72 hours. After that, it will be safe for you to venture out. While you’re in there, stockpile any packaged food, bottled water and first aid supplies that were left inside the building. They’ll not only help you get through these three days, but anything that you have left over will be handy to help or trade with other survivors.
And make sure you don’t eat anything that was outside and unpackaged during the blast. As hungry as you might be, that radioactive shrimp probably won’t taste too good. You turn on your phone to call for help. But the internet, and your phone service is knocked out. You can’t stay here forever. It’s time for you to explore this new radioactive world.
Step 3: Look for Information
You take a step outside. The world you once knew is now a wasteland. But don’t stop and stare too long, time is of the essence. The longer you’re in contact with radioactive material, the more it will affect your body.
Search nearby buildings for a radio. It’s crucial to get information in a time like this. You could find help, learn where the shelters are, or figure out if there will be any more attacks.
The radio hisses and crackles. Dead air.
Step 4: Search For Others
You can’t depend on world leaders to get through this. You’re going to have to rely on yourself and the help of others. While you’re searching the nearby buildings, call out for other survivors. You can get a lot more done with friends and you can work together to survive. If you do find others, and they’re not so friendly, try to make a trade. If you don’t have anything to give, you could use your skills as currency.
Step 5: Move
You collect a decent amount of supplies, and make a friend or two. Now you should consider traveling somewhere with warmer temperatures. A large amount of the ash and soot from the blast will be injected into the stratosphere, potentially blocking out the sun.
Working on your tan will be the least of your worries, temperatures around the world could drastically drop. Move away from the north where it’ll reach freezing temperatures during the nuclear winter.
You and your group of survivors journey safely to the south. Unfortunately, because of the irradiated land, you’ll have to live off canned beans and tuna for the rest of your days. But, you made it through the nuclear apocalypse alive. Now that you’re a seasoned veteran of the wasteland, do you think you could get through another?
- “How To Survive A Nuclear Bomb”. Matthew Gault, 2020. vice.com.
- “How to survive a nuclear attack: Not everyone has to die if war breaks out”. 2020. nationalpost.com.
- “This is exactly how a nuclear war would kill you”. Alex Ward. 2018. Vox.
- “The People Who Would Survive Nuclear War”. Madrigal, Alexis. 2018. The Atlantic.