The threat of a nuclear strike always looms in the distance. With North Korea seemingly perpetually testing new missiles and Russia violating weapons treaties, perhaps we will one day witness the horror of a nuclear war. If we did what would be our best response? Well let’s see:
First of all, you have to survive the initial blast. There is no way to pre-empt this. Unfortunately, you just have to get lucky! Fortunately, Michael Dillon has your back. The Livermore National Laboratory researcher has revealed the following helpful info:
So here is the scenario. Imagine you are in a large city. (These are the most sensible locations for a strike) and are hit by a low yield nuke (between 0.1 and 10 kilotons) Whilst this is considerably less powerful then the bomb dropped on Hiroshima (which was 15 Kilotons) this is not an unreasonable assumption. (most tactical nukes can be dialled down to just 0.3 kilotons).
Theoretical studies have suggested that if they follow this advice up to 100,000 lives could be saved. The key is to avoid exposure to too much radioactive fallout.
So avoiding fallout is the key, but wait, what is fallout? Basically, the initial explosion vaporises a load of bomb parts, soil and debris. This becomes a radioactive “dust” and is carried by wind across the landscape.
Your best bet to avoid exposure to this fallout is to seek shelter. The more dense walls between you and the outside world the better. So what’s a bad shelter? A lightweight house with no basement. A Good shelter? A house made with bricks, preferably with few windows. A bomb shelter is ideal, but there isn’t always one handy!
To give you a rough idea. Hiding out in the basement of a five-story apartment building should see you exposed to a mere 1/200 of the amount of radiation outside the shelter. Meanwhile, a poor shelter may just half the radiation from outside. So just being a bit more selective could multiply your protection by 100! That’s a life-changing number.
Stick or twist
So what if there’s no good shelter nearby? Should you “stick or twist”? Well, this obviously depends on your individual circumstances. As a general rule if you are right next to or inside a solid shelter when the blast goes off, stay where you are. Hopefully, rescuers will come and evacuate to somewhere safer when it is appropriate.
If you are not in a decent shelter but you know of one that is accessible and is only five minutes away then move, but do so quickly! If there’s one of them nearby it’s going to be a better bet than were you are at the moment.
However, if you know of a “safe haven” but it’s about fifteen minutes away you’re better off staying. Or at least for the time being. The flimsy shelter should see you through the worst of the fallout, the most intense fallout will probably be within that first hour, so leave it an hour before moving to pastures new.
Of course, this is just a rough guide. And may be difficult to really remember when you are in a city where a nuke has just gone off. Hopefully, this is advice you will never need.
There are some real advantages to this methodology. The biggest one being that the organisations who are tasked with rescuing survivors do not have to take into consideration the pattern of the “radioactive death cloud” and instead can just focus on radiation levels near shelters and evacuation routes.
What this does is makes decision making very quick and also means that little communication is required.