Not since the 1960s has the subject of surviving a nuclear attack been seriously reconsidered, as the cold war ended, deescalated some say, or changed gears to a more civilized warfare. However, the world has endured political upheaval in the recent years. Men of questionable mental stability have either seized or manipulated the system in order to gain power. Words like empathy, logic, reality seem foreign to many of these despots which control life ending destructive powers.
Many will read this far and dismiss this article as fake news, political nonsense or whatever key phrase is fashionable, alternative facts, to misdirect people from seeing the dangers that are looming. Political article? No. But the facts are in our current world everything is political, which is the intent. Take facts out of the equation and insert emotions, tribalism, my team and the world can be shaped any way they want.
No, this is not a political statement! It is instead a brief lesson on how to hide something in plain sight. Create a situation that is so extreme, so catastrophically unimaginable that people will refuse to see what’s staring them in the face. Consider this a warning, a call in the wilderness, a plea for sanity, but if it fails, then we must deal with the consequences. How to survive a nuclear attack. There is another question scholars have posed concerning a nuclear holocaust … “Do you want to survive?”
What actually happens
The events can be basically broken down into four major categories: instantaneous, near-immediate, short-term and long term effects.
Instantaneous: The area of direct hit reaches a temperature of several million degrees centigrade which will result in vaporizing all human tissue. The only signs of humans at Hiroshima, who were caught out in the open, was the shadows of vaporized people burnt into stone.
Near-immediate: People inside buildings will fare no better. They will be either killed by the force of the blast, the heat of the blast or the collapse and instantaneous bursting into flames of all materials. Thousands of individual fires will combine producing a fire storm which will completely consume all oxygen. The heat will rise drawing in air from the ground level, which will produce hurricane force winds and intense fires as fresh oxygen is drawn into the fire ball. People in underground shelters will survive the initial blast, but the heat flash will suck all the oxygen out the atmosphere thus killing those people.
Outside: As you move outside the radius of total destruction you will begin to see survivors, if that’s what you want to call them. These people will have incurred fatal burns, will be blind, will be bleeding profusely from shrapnel, and will massive internal injuries. Many will be buried under collapsed and burning buildings. The International Red Cross has stated there is no international plan in place to deliver humanitarian assistance to survivors of a nuclear attack. 99% of these effected people will also die. Do visions of hell arise?
Short Term: Survivors of the blast, but subject to high radioactive fallout, may wish they had not survived. They will experience hair loss, their gums and mouth will openly bleed while simultaneously suffering from internal bleeding. They will incur hemorrhagic diarrhea, vomiting, fever, delirium and finally fall into a terminal coma. There is no medical treatment and the survivor will die within a couple of days.
Long Term: Some results can only be hypothesized, but cancers of all types will skyrocket from radiation exposure and weakened immune systems. Research shows that as much as five million tons of soot could be produced by fires created by numerous nuclear explosions, which would cool the atmosphere having an overwhelming impact on food production. Billions, in all countries, would starve to death.
If you are not in the immediate kill zone, but still close enough to view the explosion, do not stare at the light flash, it’ll result in blindness similar to staring into the sun. Keep your mouth wide open to insure your eardrums don’t burst from the pressure you’ll experience. Don’t take chances, take cover to prevent being injured or killed by flying debris. If you are in a shelter stay put for at least 48 to 72 hours before attempting to venture outside. We’ll discuss materials you’ll need in order to survive that stay shortly.
Barring being in a nuclear fallout shelter, the key to surviving, after the initial blast, is to get as far away from the fallout area as possible, as quickly as possible. Depending on the type of bomb, you will have 10 to 20 minutes to escape the immediate radiation fallout. The initial downpour of radiation falls straight down from the mushroom cloud, approximately a mile from the blast zone. However, within 24 hours, possibly sooner, lethal radiation will begin spreading with prevailing winds.
Let’s assume you don’t really know where the bomb hit. Before you begin your evacuation scan the horizon. To the left you see horribly mangled structures or no structures at all, but to the right there’s less destruction. You know to head toward the less destruction as it’s the direction away from the initial blast zone. As you move keep as much of your skin, mouth and nose covered as possible. The first chance you have discard your clothes and take a long shower to remove any contamination.
What Is Fallout? Maybe Not What You Think
If the initial blast, firestorm, lack of oxygen, flying debris or collapsed building doesn’t kill you, you’ll be faced with a deadly fallout. What is fallout? When the nuclear devise explodes near the surface, it pulverizes the earth sending massive amounts of pulverized earth and debris up into the nuclear cloud. This cloud is heavily laden with radioactive gases which are produced by the nuclear reaction which created the explosion. These billions of minuscule particles become saturated with these gases becoming radioactive and emitting gamma rays, identical to what x-rays produce. This debris quickly falls back to earth, larger particles first, smaller a little later, creating an environment of millions of little x-ray machines working 24 hours a day emitting gamma rays. Enough exposure to these gamma rays will kill a person, and the first few days are the most dangerous as their power subsides with time.
These pulverized radioactive particles resemble a grain of sand or salt and can not be seen, tasted, felt or smelled. In other words, you can’t be 100% for sure if you were exposed or not, as only special instruments can detect their presence and intensity. Prevailing winds will sweep up the particles and spread them over vast areas, it’s impossible to predict the direction or intensity the fallout will effect individual areas. Some areas may be doused with deadly amounts of fallout, while another area in the general vicinity may suffer only minute exposure. It’s an accepted theory that any nuclear explosion on the Continental United States would result in some form of exposure to every state.
Very few people can afford the extravagant shelters being offered to survive the zombie apocalypse, which could also serve as a fallout shelter. It never ceases to amaze me what people of wealth can …. never mind. In any event, the need for a specialized fallout shelter is at best … a guessing game. If you are too close to the blast zone you will die whether in a shelter or not. The farther away you can get from ground zero the less radiation fallout you will be exposed to. The key is to keep the fallout outside away from you, which the building’s material (brick,wood,concrete,) will help in doing by absorbing the gamma rays.
Therefore, the shelter doesn’t have to be a specially constructed or underground bunker in order to be effective in keeping you from harm’s way. It can be any space which provides walls and roofing thick enough to absorb many of the gamma rays emitted from the particles outside. In older homes where windows and doors do not close tightly, remember the wind blowing the curtains even though the window was closed, duct taping or caulking the seams with help reduce infiltration.
There’s little if any difference in content makeup for a nuclear attack or a tsunami. One item whose importance is often overlooked is a radio. You are in a severe crisis situation, which is plenty bad enough on its own, but being isolated from the outside world with no news or instructions, will compound the fears.
Here’s a good general list to follow:
Water: Minimum 1 gallon per person per day for at least 7 to 10 days.Food: Recommended 15 to 30 day supply of nonperishable food.
- A battery-powered or hand-crank radio and a NOAA Weather Radio.
- Extra batteries of all sizes.
- First-aid Kit
- A hand operated can opener
- A whistle to signal for help
- Hand tools: wrench, pliers, utility knife
- Candles and matches
- Bottle of bleach for disinfecting water and utensils
- A DIY hose vented 5 gallon can, with heavy duty plastic bags for use as a toilet
- A supply of any special medications required
- Dust mask and a roll of duct tape
- Pet food
- Sleeping bag. Even though you may be at home, weather can still be a factor with no power for heating or cooling.
- Infant formula and diapers
- Fire extinguisher
- Paper & pencils
- Currency. Banks won’t be open, ATM probably won’t work, checks will be no good. Have at least $100 in small bills and change
- A weapon and ammo for protection (rifle, pistol, shotgun, etc)
A Few Parting Comments
Anticipate food shortages for an undetermined amount of time. It could take days or months to restore commerce to a near normal state. Radiation does not contaminate food if it passes through it, therefore food supplies should be safe. The only danger is swallowing the particles that are radioactive contaminated. Thoroughly wash all packages, cans, etc which may have particles on them, although if stored inside that should not be a problem. However, thoroughly wash any fruit or vegetables before eating.
Some water supplies could become contaminated, but the risk is small. Stored water such as in a bathtub or buckets stored inside would be safe. For the most part open reservoirs, lakes, streams etc. would be safe after a few days as the radioactive particles will sink to the bottom.
It would be a good idea to give infants and small children powdered or canned milk in place of fresh milk. Cows may digest radioactive particles from the grasses they eat, which could contaminate their milk.
Should a person become sick from radiation poisoning, they are not contagious. Radiation sickness can not be transferred from person to person like a cold.
The thought of a nuclear attack should be so horrible that it just can’t be allowed to happen. Unfortunately people like you and me have very little to say about rash actions made by rash people in power. The only thing we can do is prepare the best we can for the unthinkable.