Just a few years ago, almost 10 miles of streets in Denver had to be ripped out, removed and replaced. In the early 20th century, ignorant city planners had used uranium mine tailings as road base. Do you know what you’re sitting on right now?
Nuclear radiation is everywhere. Various levels of radiation can be found on airplanes, in naturally occurring earth minerals, and from cosmic solar rays. Throw in the radiation that you can receive from mine waste, nuclear reactors, and medical waste, and you could be receiving dangerous levels of nuclear radiation.
There are 61 commercially operating nuclear power plants with 99 nuclear reactors in 30 U.S. states. Depending on where you live, the possibility of malfunction or a natural disaster that could damage these plants is something to consider.
Now, I don’t mean to fear-monger you into throwing out your microwave or push you to purchase your own personal geiger counter. But there should be some awareness on what to do in case there is a radioactive emergency. In a worse-case scenario, what do you do?
Here is what the Center for Disease Control recommends in the event of a nuclear emergency:
- Take shelter as soon as possible. Remove clothing to keep radioactive material from spreading. This step alone can remove up to 90 percent of the contamination.
- Get inside or underground as soon as possible. A basement offers more protection from nuclear fallout particles than a building’s first floor. Close windows and fireplace dampers. Turn off heating and cooling units. (This helps explain why some people in Hawaii apparently decided to lift manhole covers and climb into the sewers in anticipation of a missile attack.)
- If you are outside when the blast strikes, do not look at the fireball. It can blind you. Lie flat on the ground and cover your head. If the explosion is far away, it could take 30 seconds or more for the blast wave to reach you.
- Before a nuclear blast, build an emergency supply kit. Most of the items are obvious — first aid supplies, radio, flashlight, potable water and food. Other items include a manual can opener, baby wipes and a whistle for calling for help.
- Expect to stay inside for 24 hours after a nuclear blast. In areas with the heaviest fallout, it might be necessary to shelter in place for up to a month.
- Make a plan for contacting family and friends in an emergency and for meeting up after a disaster.
- Stock up on Potassium Iodide caplets, which acts as a blocking agent. KI caplets (potassium iodide) is a salt of stable (not radioactive) iodine that can help block radioactive iodine from being absorbed by the thyroid gland, protecting this gland from radiation injury.
Want more detailed lists or information on what to do? Here is the link to the CDC website.