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Friday, November 8, 2013

Will You Survive a Nuclear Blast?

Its one of the Worst Scenarios you can try to prep for:

You have just driven home from work, parked your brand new Audi  in the driveway, and gone inside to say hello to the family. As you walk into the kitchen and smile at your spouse, you see a bright flash outside. You wonder what it was, and decide to go to the back window to see. As you scan the sky - it hits - a blast wave from a nuclear explosion only miles away. The blast wave throws you to the floor, covered in glass shards, bleeding.... you think it may be nuclear, and if that is the case, you know that radiation is spreading everywhere, fast. Now what...

I've pondered this one a few times, and have left it simmering on the table because I thought basically at that point we're all goners. Recently I read a few articles that gave me a bit of hope on the topic.

Apparently a nuclear blast is survivable, in the short and long term, unless of course you happen to be standing at ground zero. Here is what I have gleaned. (Disclaimer - I am not a nuclear bomb expert, nor have I scientifically vetted the numbers in the article I quote. Take this as my opinion, and if nuclear is one of your scenarios, dig deeper.)

The First few minutes:
A) When you see a flash of light, don't run to the windows to see what it was. Duck and Cover - NOW! Find something solid to get behind, under, or below. Whether its a nuclear blast wave, or explosion from a derailed train, duck and cover while the initial wave takes all the windows out and the debris flies. Human instinct is to gather information, fight that for just a few seconds.
"Even in the open, just laying flat, reduces by eight-fold the chances of being hit by debris from that brief, three second, tornado strength blast that, like lightning & thunder, could be delayed arriving anywhere from a fraction of a second to 20 seconds or more after that initial flash."
B) Cover your face with a mask or cloth to avoid inhaling radioactive dust.
C) If you are evacuating post blast, evacuate perpendicular to the downwind drift.
D) Once you have obtained a safe location, remove your clothing and shower. Try to remove yourself from anything that may have been contaminated.

Some important knowledge about radiation:
"Radioactive fallout is the particulate matter (dust) produced by a nuclear explosion and carried high up into the air by the mushroom cloud. It drifts on the wind and most of it settles back to earth downwind of the explosion. The heaviest, most dangerous, and most noticeable fallout, will 'fall out' first closer to ground zero. It may begin arriving minutes after an explosion. The smaller and lighter dust-like particles will typically be arriving hours later, as they drift much farther downwind, often for hundreds of miles. Once it arrives, whether visible or not, all that will fall will have done so usually in under an hour, coating everything, just like dust does on the ground and roofs. However, rain can concentrate the fallout into localized 'hot spots' of much more intense radiation with no visible indication. 
This radioactive fallout 'dust' is dangerous because it is emitting penetrating radiation energy (similar to x-ray's). This radiation (not the fallout dust) can go right through walls, roofs and protective clothing. Even if you manage not to inhale or ingest the dust, and keep it off your skin, hair, and clothes, and even if none gets inside your house, the radiation penetrating your home is still extremely dangerous, and can injure or kill you inside.  
Radioactive fallout from a nuclear explosion, though very dangerous initially, loses its intensity quickly because it is giving off so much energy. For example, fallout emitting gamma ray radiation at a rate over 500 R/hr (fatal with one hour of exposure) shortly after an explosion, weakens to only 1/10th as strong 7 hours later. Two days later, it's only 1/100th as strong, or as deadly, as it was initially."

The next few days:
If you must shelter in place,  know that radioactive fallout loses 90% of its lethal intensity in the first seven hours and 99% in the first two days. You likely only need to bunker down for a few days, not weeks or forever as some movies portray. The key to surviving these few days is putting mass between yourself and the radiation. So build a fall out shelter wherever you are, now. Find a structure preferably with a basement, as this will make the task of putting mass between you and the radiation simpler. In a basement you have on many sides a good thickness of dirt. You would just need to worry about the space above you.

A) Find a basement
B) Push a heavy table into the corner that has the soil highest on the outside.
C) Put some food, water, communication and other gear under the table, with more close by.
C) Then pile anything you can find - books, full water containers, sand bags, etc on top of the table and on the sides of the table to create barriers and stop the radiation from penetrating under the table. Every inch thicker provides a higher level of shielding.
D) Leave a small crawl space with mass that can be easily moved in and out as a door. Also leave a small gap for fresh air.
E) Cover any windows and doors in the basement. Tape them, block them, cover them over with wood or dirt.
F) Bunker down.

Under this scenario, you would have avoided possible severe injury from the initial blast, and death by radiation as the fallout settles and emanates. At this point, your likely going to need to start up your more long term evac plans. But you and your family are alive. You have just survived a nuclear bomb blast.

I'm posting links to the articles quoted above in a CPN forum of the same topic found here. Do you have something to add or take away from the above? Have you done some research or have you worked in the nuclear industry? What would you do? Let me know in the forum.

This post by Dwight from Briden Solutions - Proudly helping Canadians obtain high quality Survival supplies.