Six Key Steps for Surviving a Nuclear Attack

6 Keys to Surviving a Nuclear Attack

If you aren’t killed in the force of the initial blast, you have a good chance of surviving a nuclear attack if you act quickly, and follow these six key steps:

Shelter: During a nuclear attack, shelter is critical. Even a marginal shelter can help reduce your exposure to radiation. Experts say that taking shelter in car would increase your chances of surviving the radiation fallout by up to 50 percent.

The best shelters are underground and lined with metal or concrete. A basement is also suitable. If you don’t have a basement in your home, designate a safe room that you’ll seal with duct tape and plastic sheeting in the event of an attack.

No matter what options are available to you, taking shelter quickly inside any stable building can dramatically increase your odds of long-term survival.

Food: Once you get inside shelter, it’s imperative that you stay put for at least two days. The first 48 hours following a nuclear attack is the time when radiation danger is at its highest. Avoiding exposure as much as possible during that time period is critical. Keeping your exposure to a minimum for the two weeks after an attack is also wise.

Building a food reserve will help you remain safely indoors, provided you’re at home when the attack happens. If you don’t store your food reserve in your safe room, quickly move your food to where it will be easily accessible. Then plan to remain safely holed up.

Water: Even more important than food is access to safe water. Water is easily contaminated, so you don’t want to drink from your tap after an attack, unless it’s tied to a covered well. If you rely on municipal water, plan a water storage system. Resist the urge to store your water in large drums—they’re impossible to move once full. Instead store your water in heavy-duty, 5-gallon plastic containers. You can easily move these from where you store them to your safe room.

Medicine: You may be cut off from medical supplies for days or weeks. In a wide-scale attack, disruptions could be even more severe. Stock up on first aid supplies and keep a first aid instruction manual on hand to help you deal with unexpected situations. Also, build a store of the prescription medicines that anyone in your household depends on.

If you begin to show signs of radiation sickness – nausea, vomiting, hair loss, or bleeding gums – take the risk and go to the nearest hospital. Treatment of radiation exposure in recent years has seen many advances and could save your life.

Communication: During the aftermath of a nuclear attack, good communication is crucial. Make sure you have a good hand-crank radio among your supplies. Listen to it regularly, even when you are not getting a signal—eventually emergency reports will come through, and that can help you decide if it is safe to leave your shelter.

Knowledge: The most important key to surviving a nuclear attack is knowing what to do. Find the best shelter possible as quickly as possible. Make sure your home is equipped for you and your family to stay inside comfortably for at least two weeks. Listen to news reports to help determine when movement is safe. Learn to recognize signs of radiation sickness so you can make smart treatment decisions.

Decades ago, most people thought that a nuclear strike was so deadly that it was almost futile to prepare for it. Now, we understand the nature of nuclear fallout better. You have a very good chance of surviving as long as you are informed and prepared to take quick action.