Nuclear Blast Emergency Preparedness
An explosion from a nuclear device emits extreme heat and light as well as a pressure wave and radioactive material that covers a wide area. The radioactive material is extremely dangerous. Nuclear blast effects include the contamination of the air, ground and water. The nuclear devices can be weapons carried by missiles. They can also be weapons carried by individuals. Since they are portable they can easily be concealed.
What Areas would a Nuclear Blast Affect?
Nuclear emergency preparedness is extremely important in some areas more than others, although everyone should have a plan. There are certain regions in the United States that are considered more of a potential target than others. This includes military bases and missile sites as well as Washington, DC; state capitals, centers of industrial and technological manufacturing; electrical power plants and major airfields and ports. People living in these areas should have a plan if there is a threat of an attack.
Where have Nuclear Attacks Occurred in the Past?
Nuclear blast effects were experienced by Japan in 1945 in two cities, Nagasaki and Hiroshima at the end of World War II. The US employed two nuclear weapons – one was a uranium type and the other was a plutonium type – over these two cities after an ultimatum issued calling for unconditional surrender was ignored. These two nuclear blasts were the only ones used in war to the present day.
Of course, nuclear emergency preparedness was pretty much non-existent at that time in Japan. There were from 90,000 to 166,000 deaths in Hiroshima and 60,000 to 80,000 deaths in Nagasaki as a result of the nuclear blasts. About half of the deaths occurred within 24 hours. Deaths were caused by flash burns, effects of the burns and radiation.
What is the likelihood of this occurring again? Although France, Britain, China, Russia and the US have very strict control of their nuclear weapons, other countries do not. Some of the controls include measures put in place to prevent accidental launching or unauthorized launching of the weapons.
There are those who predict that a major nuclear blast could result in millions of deaths in a very short time. In addition, they believe the wide-ranging effects of an all-out nuclear war could cause the total extinction of life as we know it today. However, there are nuclear emergency preparedness plans that many believe would allow a large number of people to survive even in the event of a major nuclear war.
Preparation and Supplies for Surviving Nuclear Blast Effects
What can you do to protect yourself and your family in the event of a nuclear blast? There are some precautions that can be taken that can make the difference to survival. The following are some that can be made immediately.
You and your family will need a shelter. There are two kinds; a fallout and a blast shelter. The blast shelter offers protection against the pressure of the blast as well as the intense heat and fire and the radiation. A fallout shelter can be any building that has a roof and walls that are dense and thick enough to stop radiation from fallout from entering. A fallout shelter could be the center of a building as long as there are no windows.
A supply kit should be put together and stored where it is easily accessible as part of your nuclear emergency preparedness plan. The kit needs to contain enough emergency water for each member of the family. The recommended amount is one gallon per day per person and plan on at least 3 days worth. If possible, more than 3 days should be planned for because nuclear blast effects can last longer. Two weeks worth of supplies is even better.
A three-day supply of non-perishable food is also needed for the supply kit. This can include canned meats, vegetables and fruit. Make certain a can opener is included in the supplies. Dried fruit, peanut butter, protein bars, juice and shelf stable milk are all recommended items for supply kits. A flashlight with extra batteries, an emergency radio that is battery operated or hand-crank, a first-aid kit, any special needs items, garbage bags, sanitary wipes and a cell phone with a solar charger are some of the supplies that should be readied.
Your family should have an emergency plan in place so that each member knows where to go to meet the rest of the family or contact them if necessary. Because everyone has their own agenda today, it is not safe to assume that everyone will be together if there is a nuclear blast threat.
Check on warning systems within your community. This will help you to know what to expect should the threat arise. Does your city or town have a disaster plan? Are there designated fall out shelters in your area? Are there evacuation routes?
Dust masks for every member of the family are recommended. In addition, sheeting made of plastic and duct tape to secure it is necessary if you need to shelter yourself and your family immediately.
In the Event of a Nuclear Explosion
Nuclear emergency preparedness is important and having your supplies in a place where they are easy to get to is vital. You will need to minimize the nuclear blast effects by knowing what you should do immediately. The three factors necessary for protection are shielding, distance and time. Radiation is very dangerous; however, the levels will go down rather quickly. You may need to stay inside at least 24 hours or longer. The following are steps that you and your family should take if necessary.
Emergency response systems are in place to let you know what is going on and what you should do if alerted. The system will advise you on whether evacuating, taking shelter immediately or going to another location is necessary. Listen to this official information and follow directions to keep your family safe.
If a warning of an attack is issued, immediate cover is necessary. If you can go below ground, this is an optimal shelter. If not, a building constructed of concrete or brick preferably several stories is another beneficial shelter. Take cover in the center of the building with as many walls as possible between you and the outside. Once you take shelter, stay there no matter what until you are instructed that it is safe to leave. This is imperative to saving your life.
Should you be outdoors and unable to get to a safe place when the blast occurs, try to find anything that can provide protection. If necessary, lay down on the ground and cover your head. Stay on the ground because the nuclear blast effects include a blast wave that can take 30 seconds or more to reach your area. Do not look at the flash. This can cause blindness.
If you are caught outdoors, when you do find shelter, remove clothing and rinse exposed areas as soon as possible. Just removing your clothing can get rid of 90% of radioactive material. This material settles on everything so if you use water to rinse yourself, make sure it was protected from the fallout. If a shower is possible, use as much soap and water as you can to remove the radioactive material from your body.
Shampoo hair, but do not use conditioner as it can cause the radioactive material to cling to your hair. Blow your nose, rinse your eyes and wipe your eyelids and eyelashes, wipe ears and clean under your fingernails as thoroughly as possible. Put the clothing you remove in a garbage and seal it and take it as far from others as possible.
Nuclear Blast Recovery
Nuclear blast effects include the fallout from radiation. This will depend on the size of the device and how close it was to the ground as well as to your area. The heaviest amounts will be where the blast occurred and downwind of this area. The largest amount of fallout will be during the first 24 hours. While nuclear emergency preparedness is extremely important, recovery is just as vital. What is the recovery process?
Most people can leave shelters within a few days and may need to move to areas that were not affected or not as strongly affected.
Listen to the radio for information on what you can do to stay protected and where you should and should not go.
Any areas that are marked “HAZMAT” or “radiation hazard” should be avoided completely.
When returning home, make certain you inspect your house before entering. There could be downed power lines, gas leaks or structural damage. Check it out before going inside. All the utilities should be turned off at the main entrance to the home until you check for leaks or damaged electrical wiring.
Snakes and animals are another thing to look for as well. Never try and remove them from the home even if they are dead. They could be contaminated. If they are alive, leave windows and doors open and they will likely leave on their own.