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If you are within the blast radius of a modern day nuclear weapon, you are pretty much dead on impact. There is no amount of prepping or body armor that will save you. Your bunker will probably prove useless as well considering there will be little to no warning. Also, it will probably come in the dead of night for the West coast.
One long-term, high ranking, retired veteran told me,
Everything stays still at night; the targets stay still. Also, its daytime over there while we sleep.”
While many preppers are preparing to survive a nuclear strike, I think the focus should be on preparing to deal with the radiation and fallout, because if you are caught in the blast radius then you will probably die immediately, but if you are caught just outside the blast radius, you will die slowly and painfully unless you know what to do.
If the bomb is detonated on the surface, large plumes of radioactive material will be thrust into the atmosphere and come down as fallout. This stuff is most deadly if inhaled or ingested in any way. What most survivors of a nuclear attack will be fighting is radiation sickness.
Symptoms of Radiation Sickness
So, what are we all concerned about when it comes to radiation? It is the radiation sickness that follows. This can be deadly or have serious lasting effects on our health.
In Hiroshima and Nagasaki, Japan, the thermal radiation caused incredible burns and killed over 100,000 people. But there are also reports that up to 200,000 more people died by 1950 from cancers linked to the radiation.
Here is a list of symptoms most often attributed to radiation sickness:
- Extreme fatigue
- Ringing in the ears
- Frequent colds or increased infections
- Unexplained bleeding or small red spots on your skin
- Fever or burns
- Headache or confusion
- Nausea, vomiting, or bloody diarrhea
1. North Korea
While tensions between the United States and North Korea seem to be the most obvious threat, it’s clear they are not quite ready to attack us. What we don’t know is how far away they are from being ready. Are they years away, or are they days away?
North Korea has made it clear. If the U.S. attacks, they will fire back with everything they have, and if just one gets through the national missile defense, the entire country will be in serious danger.
The most likely nuclear bomb attack would come from within the nation. It would be a smuggled nuclear weapon delivered in a truck. It sounds archaic, but it has the best odds. There is no relying on trajectory and military technology.
3. Power Plants
There are 99 commercial nuclear reactors in this nation. Do you know if you are near one? This is very important information. They are not going away, and from the standpoint of pure radiation, these plants can be the most devastating.
Setting Up a Radiation Shelter
When it comes to radiation, it is all about insulation. How much space and stuff can you put between yourself and the exposed area?
The very worst-case scenario is if you are outside in the radiation. Direct exposure near fallout will be the most destructive to human health. If you are caught outside during a nuclear disaster, your number one priority should be to get inside the nearest structure, any way you can. This is a life or death issue.
Once inside, you can prepare for radiation and fallout by getting into the very core of your home. If you have a pantry or a room at the center of your house, this is where you will want to be. Use mattresses and other insulative materials to build a shelter if you do not have a room away from windows. These insulative materials are also great for outside your shelter as well.
This room should be stocked, or you should take your preps into this room, quickly.
- Communications (emergency radio)
- First Aid
- USB Power Source
Once you have placed a barrier between yourself and the radiation, you will have to consider the situation for your next move.
There are two very distinct scenarios that you will have to understand. Each will affect how long you stay in that shelter.
You are experiencing the fallout of a blast either from a bomb or an explosion at a local nuclear plant. This fallout could be dense, but in this situation, you must remember the 7:10 radiation rule:
The 7:10 Rule of Thumb states that for every 7-fold increase in time after detonation, there is a 10-fold decrease in the exposure rate. In other words, when the amount of time is multiplied by 7, the exposure rate is divided by 10. For example, let’s say that 2 hours after detonation the exposure rate is 400 R/hr. After 14 hours, the exposure rate will be 1/10 as much, or 40 R/hr.” – FEMA.gov
While you may not know the initial exposure rate, you can find solace in the fact that you are going to see a significant drop in radiation over 7 hours and even more after 14.
This is a much worse scenario where you could be near an exposed reactor core that is melting down. If the situation is such that a steady stream of radiation is affecting your immediate area, you will have a greater challenge. A Fukishima style disaster that puts out a consistent amount of radiation will mean the exposure rate will not apply to the above 7:10 rule.
If you are close to a nuclear power plant, you will need to have more preps and take more precautions than the average person. These plants can cause widespread, long-term damage.
If you find yourself caught in a radiological situation like this, be sure that you have an emergency radio so you can get the best recommendations and know whether help is on the way.
Nuclear Disaster Specific Preps
We will forgo the basics such as food, water, shelter, and first aid. Hopefully, you already have these things in place. Instead, I want to focus more on the gear for dealing with radiation and fallout.
- Potassium Iodide Tablets – These will saturate your thyroid and keep it from up taking radiation that can be spread throughout your body.
- Geiger Counter – Radiation is measured by rads and you can find several things that will read this. The expensive Geiger counter is the most common. You can also buy something called a NukAlert that will warn you with a selection of beeps about the radiation levels.
- Baking Soda – Baking soda can be used externally to wash and decontaminate skin, or it can be used internally. Uranium binds with the sodium bicarbonate and pulls it away from organs and skin. If you are dosing orally, be sure you mix the baking soda thoroughly with water before you drink it. 1-2 teaspoons in a full glass of water is a typical dose of baking soda.
- Soap and Water – Having access to soap and water is critical if you have been exposed to fallout or radiation. You need to get your clothes off and away from you and your family. Store them in a Rubbermaid or sealable bag. Meanwhile, wash down with soap and water.
- Respirator Masks – While you won’t need a full-on gas mask unless you live near a power plant, having access to a respirator or quality N95 mask will allow you to filter out much of the radioactive debris. Radiation washes off the skin, but it is very hard to get out of the body.
- Eye Protection – If you have to step outside for any reason, be sure to have eye protection to keep radioactive debris out of your eyes.
To get a better understanding of radioactive fallout, visit NUKMAP where you can plug in several types of nuclear explosion scenarios and layer them over a map of your immediate area or the nearest city to you.
If you want to see the effects of fallout, you will have to create a surface burst. This will cause the debris to be shot high enough into the atmosphere to cause the fallout storm. Another thing to consider when playing with NUKMAP is the power of the bomb. Right now, North Korea has yet to produce an explosion that would match Fatman that was dropped on Nagasaki.
The truth is, we don’t know where or when a strike like this could happen, so it’s in your best interest to be prepared to deal with fallout. It is particularly important if you are within 25-50 miles of a major city.