During the Cold War that many of us remember all too well, there was the constant fear that the U.S.S.R. would launch a nuclear attack against the United States. Fallout shelters became very popular, and those who did not have access to one often thought about where they could go to try to avoid the catastrophic effects of radiation should their worst nightmares ever become reality.
While that scenario remains a horrifying possibility – thanks to our enemies who possess nuclear weapons and other countries trying to develop nuclear weapons – the type of nuclear attack that presents a much more likely scenario these days is the detonation of a low-yield nuclear warhead by terrorists.
These bombs would be anywhere from .1 kiloton to 10 kilotons, which are very small compared to the bombs that struck Hiroshima and Nagasaki, and smaller still to the warheads in Cold War arsenals. Even the largest of these bombs would pose an immediate radiation danger of less than a mile from ground zero, while hazardous fallout contamination could continue for another 10-20 miles, depending on wind conditions. In other words, cities would be hit hard by such a device and there would be death and destruction, but many people would survive.
If you are at home and you believe that a nuclear device has gone off anywhere near you, go to your basement or an inner room immediately and stay there for about 30 minutes. At that point, the initial radiation will be gone and the main danger will be sand-sized particles that have fallen in the area.
Next, if possible, make your way to a city shelter or another building with as thick of an exterior as possible. It may be impossible to drive there, so hopefully you’ll be prepared with a survival bicycle. Then, wait for emergency responders, who will let you know when it’s safe to return to your home. If they don’t arrive, it’s probably best to wait there at least 24 hours.
Is a nuclear attack something that you’ve given much thought to? Does your family have an emergency evacuation plan should something that horrific occur? Please let me know your thoughts about this.