These days, nuclear war isn’t something that many people worry about. The Cold War is over, after all, right? Okay, with what has been happening with Russia and Ukraine in the past few years, it seems as if the Cold War is heating up again, not to mention the fact that terrorism is occurring at an increased pace all over the world. And then there is the threat of nuclear development in North Korea, which, if it is real, is something that should concern all of us.
With all of this happening around us, the world isn’t without nuclear war threat. What if the next one happened tomorrow? Are you ready? Would you know what to do? While most people think planning for a nuclear war is crazy, what good is there in it? If not, then it’s no biggie, right? Because if it does, then you’re going to be way better off than everyone else. But chances are you don’t have a state-of-the-art bunker installed in your backyard. When you don’t, how can you prepare?
The danger arising from a nuclear blast depends on where you are when it hits. Most small countries and terrorist groups could produce a nuclear attack of up to 10 kilotons, so it’s best to plan at least for this. Anyone on ground zero, where the fireball is going up, would have been incinerated. At ground zero, obviously, there is no effective defense. Any exposed person would receive a lethal dose of radiation, up to 3⁄4 of a mile away. Every exposed person will suffer second-degree burns from the explosion about a mile away.
When you go beyond that point, you have better survival chances. But you also need to take prevailing winds and wind direction and daytime speed into account. Below are a few general tips on the risks of a nuclear blow:
- The size of the detonation will affect the amount of radioactive fallout, although the rate of decay is the same, regardless.
- Wind can carry radioactive fallout for hundreds of miles and a lethal dose can be carried as far as 6 miles. You should know whether you live in an area likely to receive fallout if a major target is hit. You can refer to Wikimedia Commons, which shows a fallout map published by FEMA.
- The height at which the device is detonated will affect the effect of the blast.
- If the device is detonated above the ground, it could result in an electromagnetic pulse (EMP), wiping out the power grid.
Major targets include:
- Military bases and strategic missile sites
- Centers of federal and state governments
- Critical communication and transportation centers
- Financial, technology, industrial, and manufacturing centers
- Electrical power plants, chemical plants, and oil refineries
- Major airfields and ports
If you are near any of these, your risk of death or exposure will increase significantly. The further you live away from large cities, military bases, and other targets, the safer you will be.
First and foremost, you should plan ahead so you know what to do if a nuclear attack is ever near you. You have to know where you’d go, who’d go with you, how you’d get there and how you’d stock it up in advance.
When you intend to evacuate, you’ll need to make sure you can get it to your bugout place. If you are caught out in the open, you risk exposing yourself to the fallout. If you can evacuate safely, don’t hesitate.
If you are staying, the most important thing to remember when protecting yourself from a nuclear blast is:
The more layers of heavy, dense material you have between you and the fallout the better. The best materials are:
- Concrete or brick
That is why you need to get somewhere that will give you some security. To see if there are any fallout shelters in your city, you can contact your town officials. If so, you should go there but consider planning your basement if not. Your basement gives you some automatic security. You will receive 1/20th of the radiation in the basement of a two-story brick house as a person who is exposed outside.
You should also take action to improve your basement. Choose your basement corner, and construct a small room. Using some above materials to create a second wall inside your basement wall, and even a third. The room is fully enclosed. Concrete blocks, sand bags, and bricks may be used. This will add additional protection and it is a space that you can store for the time you need to stay protected with whatever you need.
If you don’t have a basement, maybe you live in an apartment building, or your house doesn’t have a basement, consider the following:
- Choose the tallest concrete buildings you can get to within a few minutes.
- Go to the basement of the building, if possible.
- If you cannot get to the basement, then next best location is in the center of the building, halfway up and in the hallways, away from the sides of the building. You want as many layers of steel and concrete as possible between you and the outside.
- Stay inside for at least the first 24 hours (unless the authorities direct you to evacuate), during which the radiation levels will be at their highest (80% of the fallout occurs during this time).
- Be prepared to stay inside for as long as two weeks in areas that are the most affected by radiation.
If you’re going to a nearby building, you’ll only have a few minutes to get there before the fallout hits and at least you’ll need food, water, medical supplies, a light source, a knife, and a radio. In case you have to pry open doors to gain entry to the house, a crowbar is useful too. Get these stuff packed and ready, so you can grab your luggage and leave when a nuclear disaster hits.
The smart thing to do is to be prepared for a nuclear attack, especially with all the conflict going on in the world today. Plan ahead so you can survive a nuclear attack and help rebuild society with your loved ones. One day, perhaps you would like to thank your lucky stars.