It’s happened: a nuclear explosion. If you weren’t killed in the initial blast, the fallout can finish the job. Whether it’s an act of war or terrorism, all that really matters in the moments after the blast is that there are ways to save yourself and your loved ones.
So, how is it possible to stay safe?
The worst thing about a nuclear attack is that there are multiple ways it can kill you. The explosion, the heat and the radiation can all cause damage and death. In this day and age, a nuclear device can be small enough to be concealed and carried by a single person, or it can be a missile. You could have a few minutes’ warning or no warning at all.
The flash from the bomb can kill you by burning or vaporizing you. After that, a shockwave can crush your house or smash you with debris.
If you survive the initial blast, your first problem is radiation fallout. Fallout is radioactive soil and debris that rains down on us after the blast. Why is radiation fallout dangerous?
It damages the very cells that our body is made of. Radiation is energy moving as waves or particles, and it exists everywhere around us, including in the Sun, soil and rocks. That kind of radiation is considered to be low-level radiation and it’s fairly safe. Medium-level radiation causes fever, headaches and vomiting.
High levels of radiation damage your internal organs severely and can kill you. A nuclear attack is definitely in the high-level category. So, what is your first priority after the blast? The radiation fallout takes about 15 minutes to come down to ground level after the explosion, so in that time, you need to take cover.
Step 1: Get inside.
Brick or concrete buildings will protect you best against radiation. However, you don’t have much time, so don’t waste it by looking around. It’s important to get inside any structure, as soon as you can.
Take off your clothes; they’re contaminated. Stay away from the roof and the outer walls of the building. Go to the basement or the middle of the building.
Step 2: Shelter in place for 24 hours
The most dangerous fallout is during the first few hours after the explosion because the radiation is most powerful then. Keep your loved ones inside, including your pets. If your family is separated, don’t try to get together for the first 24 hours. It’s most important for everyone to stay inside, wherever they are.
Step 3: Stay Connected
If your cell phone, TV, and internet are all unavailable because of the attack, try battery operated or crank radios. Tune into any media you can to find out when it is safe to exit, and where you should go to stay safe and to reunite with family.
Step 4: Don’t drive
The worst thing you can do is to get in your car and get stuck in gridlock along with everyone else as the fallout comes down. As always, it’s best to prepare ahead of time for dangerous events. Long before an actual attack, look around you to identify potential shelters near your school, work or home.
Prepare an emergency supply kit and keep it in potential shelter locations. This kit should include bottled water, packaged food, medicine and a flashlight. And, buy a battery-powered or crank radio, as well.
A nuclear attack is devastating. Depending on its size and how close you and your loved ones are to the explosion, it could be deadly.
It could also lead to ruined cities, dysfunctional societies, and sickness. However, if you’re prepared ahead of time and you follow this advice, you’ll improve your chances of surviving a nuclear attack.
But if you’re looking for something to pass the time while waiting for Doomsday, you can always learn how to survive other life-threatening encounters.
- “How to survive a nuclear attack: Not everyone has to die if war breaks out”. 2020. National Post.
- “Nuclear Explosion”. ready.gov
- “If A Nuclear Weapon Is About To Explode, Here’s What A Safety Expert Says You Can Do To Survive”. Dave Mosher, 2020. Business Insider.
- “How To Survive A Nuclear Attack”. 2020. Wikihow.