The threat of a nuclear attack is real.
With the Russia and Ukraine conflict, the possibility of a nuclear attack is the most common thing we see on TV, social media, and family conversation.
The problem is that someone pushes the person holding that club into a corner, and it becomes put up or shut up time. Knowing Putin, we doubt that shutting up is something he is capable of doing.
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The calculus of nuclear war has changed in the past years.
There are gravity bombs that can be dropped from aircraft; it is the missiles that would make any first strike.
Previously we thought that thousands of missiles would turn the world into a nuclear wasteland.
The hundreds available today make nuclear war survivable. The old rule of thumb was that we would have a 30″ notice for a nuclear attack. That’s hasn’t changed.
We would have been lucky to have five minutes’ notice with hypersonic missiles.
The danger caused by a nuclear explosion.
If you want to know how you can survive, we have to understand what that is.
It’s a myth that nuclear bombs are powerful devices that can destroy the planet’s life. It seems that they can eradicate the world; the reality is far from that.
The largest nuclear explosives are limited in their power and the range they can cause damage.
Four things can cause damage:
Fireball, that’s that burning of the explosive in the bomb, and it can reach several hundred meters, burning at a temperature to rival the sun and incinerating anything within it.
Blast. The explosive blast from the bomb creates tremendous pressure waves, causing winds of several hundred miles per hour. The buildings would be flattened in a 2 km radius, and the people inside will die.
Heat. The fireball is limited to a relatively small area; the heat will be enough to ignite wood-frame buildings for several kilometers.
For example, at 11 km, that heat will cause third-degree burns; closer to the blast, clothing will ignite spontaneously from the heat.
Radiation. The nuclear explosion emits different types of radiation; among the most dangerous is gamma radiation. It’s fast and strong enough to pass through any material and will continue to move in a straight line out beyond the horizon.
It kills slowly through a breakdown of the body’s organs, referred to as radiation sickness.
Those who are within the fireball will die instantly. Going out from there, half of the people between there are 11 km, would be killed too. Many will die of radiation sickness in the following week.
Fallout. The signature mushroom cloud is created by the wind from the blast. Firstly it moves away from the epicenter and then collapses back on the low-pressure area created by the blast wave.
Dust is picked up in the air and carried to the atmosphere.
Radioactive material from the bomb is attached to the dust and carried to the atmosphere, and after that, it will fall back to earth again.
Nuclear fallout will kill more people than the explosion of the warhead. Winds can blow that cloud of dust far downrange, where it can cover a larger area.
Surviving the Nuclear Explosion.
The number one defense against any nuclear explosion is distance. The farther you are from the center of the explosion, the less chance of being directly affected.
Fallout can reach us anywhere with the wind. But, take a look at the map. The red places are targets for a nuclear attack.
They can be divided into a few categories,
- Government installations that provide command and control
- Military bases and installations, including our missile fields
- Nuclear power plants (as an effort to blow up the plants, multiplying the effect of the warhead)
- Major population centers
If you are 11km away from these places, you are somehow safer from the direct effects of a nuclear explosion. I would double that and say 22 km, so I would be looking for ways to save myself and my family.
You can move farther away from any potential target. If you can move a short distance out of town, it would make a difference in the potential for survival.
Bear in mind that you would have 30 minutes or less to get out, and also everyone else will do the same.
Since it’s unlikely that you can get out of town fast enough to avoid the nuclear explosion, you will have to find a place to ride out the nuclear attack and the fallout period to follow.
The best place is the bunker and bomb shelter. Being underground will protect you from the heat and the wind, and it will block the radiation too.
In the shelter, you should have food and water for weeks.
In the Cold War, people built bomb shelters under their homes, and now they are even more solid.
If you don’t have a bomb shelter, then you must find some underground place. If your home has a basement, then it would serve as protection.
You can build a bunker in the basement, with solid cement blocks in a corner on the side closest to a potential nuclear explosion.
Any building made of precast concrete or concrete block will give you protection if you are outside the blast zone.
These materials will withstand strong winds, and the materials will withstand heat well.
The problem appears if the building has windows in it, and they are facing the direction of the blast.
If the bomb is going off and you can’t go anywhere, drop to the ground behind anything solid that will protect you from the blast. But, anything that would be ignited by the heat or blown down by the wind won’t work.
You will have to move once it’s over and find something that you can use as a fallout shelter. The fallout comes immediately, so you have to do that fast. Don’t forget to take the food and water, but that will take you some time.
If you survive the explosion, the problem will be radiation. Because of that, we suggest you find a fallout shelter.
You can get some fallout shelter of the clothing before entering the shelter.
If you don’t manage to enter the shelter before the blast goes off, you should then remove the clothing and bath, wash your hair, put on some clean clothes, and place the contaminated clothing outside the shelter.
Also, you can buy a radiation dosimeter and Geiger counters to see the level of radiation.
About 500rem of radiation will kill most people.
Remaining clean is the most important part of avoiding radiation sickness, but also monitoring how much radiation you’re exposed to is a crucial element too.
Since the fallout is in the form of dust, you should avoid scratching your skin. You have to stay in the shelter until the competent authority says it’s safe to come out.
Ensure that you have potassium iodide on hand because that will keep you safe from cancers. Its purpose is to prevent radiation sickness by blocking the iodine receptors in the thyroid gland.
Bear in mind that it isn’t healthy to get potassium iodide if you don’t need it. One dose is sufficient for 24 hours, and the risk should pass by them.