How to Survive a Nuclear Attack

By Nidhi Nangia. Updated: July 3, 2019
How to Survive a Nuclear Attack

A nuclear weapon is a bomb/missile that creates an incredibly powerful explosion using a chain of nuclear reactions. A nuclear attack can cause enormous damage to both life and property. Its: blast, radiation and heat can lead to massive casualties. There are in fact two main types of nuclear weapons; fission weapons and fusion weapons. Nuclear weapons are constructed in such a way that they can completely wipe out cities and populations.

Although surviving a nuclear bomb is impossible, there are supposedly certain ways and methods which can keep you safe in the case of such an event. And naturally, especially if there are political conflicts within a country, some people choose to prepare for the worst. This is why here at oneHOWTO, we want to discuss how to survive a nuclear attack.

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Dangers of a nuclear attack

Exposure to radiation can cause large number of casualties and property damage. Initial nuclear weapon radiation is released when the nuclear bomb detonates. Then comes a radiation fallout. If the detonation takes place on earth or if it hits the earth’s surface, then fallout occurs in huge amounts. The debris and particles that rocket into the air start raining down and they then too carry radiation.

This contaminated black rain is excessively hot and deadly.

There are different types of particles that you need to stay protected from during a nuclear attack:

  • Alpha particles: These are weak particles that do not have any serious threat during an attack. They survive for a short amount of time before being absorbed into the atmosphere. However, they may prove to be fatal if they enter someone’s mouth or nose. Standard clothes are enough to protect you from these alpha particles.
  • Beta particles: Beta particles are faster than alpha ones and are able to pierce through many things. Being exposed to these particles is not dangerous, but they can cause serious damage if someone is exposed to them for long periods of time. In this situation, they cause beta burns that are as painful as sunburns. They can also damage eyes. These particles are fatal if ingested through one’s nose or mouth. Generally, clothes are enough to provide protection from beta particles.
  • Gamma rays: These are the most serious threat during a nuclear attack. They may travel as far as one mile into the air and can pierce through almost all types of shields. Due to this, gamma rays can cause severe damage even to your body’s internal organs. You will need best type of protection against these rays. A building that has several layers of shields between you and the source of radiation; will be capable of providing you the needed protection during a nuclear attack. A shelter with RPF 300 will be able to give you 300 times more protection from the radiation outside. In this case, don’t spend more than 5 minutes out in the open. In the case of any nuclear attack or nuclear explosion, we recommend finding shelter and remaining indoors until the all clear has been given by government officials!
How to Survive a Nuclear Attack - Dangers of a nuclear attack

Preparing for a nuclear attack

A nuclear weapon may range (in size) from a small portable device to the one carried in a missile. A nuclear attack may or may not occur with a warning of a few minutes. If you do receive a warning, follow these simple steps to prevent significant exposure to the radiation:

  • Go inside: As soon as you hear a warning, we recommend going indoors immediately! Identify any shelter location near your work, school or office. While you are inside, stay away from the roof or exterior walls of the building. Preferably, rush to a basement or the middle part if a large building. Mobile homes and vehicles do not provide sufficient shelter from radiation.
  • Clean yourself: If you are outdoors when the bomb detonates, then remove your contaminated clothes and wash your unprotected skin thoroughly and immediately. If possible, take a shower to remove any fallout from your hair or skin. If a shower is not available to you, use a clean wet cloth to clean any hair or skin that was uncovered. If your pets were outside during the fallout, gently brush their coat remove the presence of any fallout particles. If possible, wash your animals with water and soap. You can drink or eat any packaged food that was inside the building during detonation. But do not consume anything that was uncovered, as it might be contaminated with fallout.
  • Stay inside: Stay indoors until you receive further instructions from your local authorities. This may take as long as 24 hours. In addition, tie your pets inside and make sure they do not go outside. If you are injured or sick, seek medical help once the authorities announce that it is safe to go out.
  • Follow media: Tune into any radio channel or through which your government will deliver official information. Such information will include a safe time in which you may go outside. Televisions, Internet devices, text messaging and cell phones will not work after the detonation of a nuclear bomb. However, hand crank and battery operated radios should still function.
  • Keep an emergency supply kit: Keep an emergency supply kit (or first aid kit) always ready at your home and/or office. This kit should include; packaged foods, bottled water, emergency medicine, a battery operated radio, flashlight and extra batteries. This emergency supply kit will be your support during those 24 hours when you won’t be allowed to go out. If possible, keep your supplies stored for 3 days in advance. Having medical and food supplies for yourself and your family will put you at ease, so that you can focus on other survival aspects during this drastic situation. Make sure to stock up non-perishable foods that can last for several years. Such foods, include; sugar, beans, wheat, white rice, honey, pasta, oats, dried fruits and veggies and powdered milk. Select items that are rich in carbohydrates so that you remain energized and satiated during a nuclear attack. Don’t forget to keep a can opener or knife at hand to open canned items.
How to Survive a Nuclear Attack - Preparing for a nuclear attack

Staying protected during a nuclear attack

If you are outdoors during a nuclear bomb detonation; try to cover yourself immediately from the blast. You can do this by hiding behind anything big. Lie with your face down to keep your exposed skin protected from any possible flying debris and excessive heat.

If you are in a car, stop your vehicle and duck down within the car itself. Once the shock waves pass, find the nearest shelter location to stay protection from the aftermath. After detonation, you have around 10-15 minutes to find a shelter. After this time, nuclear reactions will start taking place and will begin to emit more harmful radiation.

Know that, even at a distance of 8 kilometers, you may suffer from 3rd degree burns on your skin. At 32 kilometers distance, heat may also be strong enough to burn your skin. This wind can also peak at a speed of nearly 960 kilometers per hour. Therefore, the building you choose to receive shelter from should be big and strong enough to withstand as much heat and blast damage. Also make sure that nothing combustible or flammable is lying around you. Oil-based material or nylon may ignite just from the heat generated during the blast.

For more, take a look at our article on; How To Prepare For A Tornado Or Hurricane.

If you want to read similar articles to How to Survive a Nuclear Attack, we recommend you visit our Culture & Society category.

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