Nuclear Threat Preparedness in 3 Steps

People don’t often think about preparing for a nuclear threat, because they don’t believe a nuclear blast could happen in their area. While you can’t predict a nuclear threat, it’s wise to be prepared all the same, because many places are at risk of an attack. Unlike other emergency preparedness scenarios, a nuclear blast will cause deaths due to radiation, fires and as a result of blinding light. Don’t take this subject matter for granted. Get prepared in 3 steps:

1. Prepare to Take Cover

The number one threat you’ll face during a nuclear blast (unless you’re too close to it), is exposure to radioactive material. You’ll need to take cover in a shelter that’s underground. Your basement is the best place to take cover until it’s time to come out. If you’re living in an apartment building, you’ll need to get access to the basement, laundry room or any other room that’s underground. Ask your landlord now about how you could gain access to those rooms during an emergency, if it’s kept locked. If you’re not home when there’s a threat, you’ll need to plan ahead on how to evacuate. 

2. Prepare to Evacuate

You’ll have to be able to move to another area that’s not being targeted, and you’ll need adequate supplies for the journey. This means a well-stocked emergency supply kit that you can carry while on foot or in your car. Your kit should include basic supplies such as:

  • A map
  • Emergency sleeping bag
  • Extra clothing
  • Hiking boots
  • Medications and supplements
  • Emergency water pouches
  • Ready-to-eat meals or MREs
  • Tent
  • N95 masks
  • AM/FM receiver
  • Plastic bags
  • Lighter
  • Waterproof matches
  • Candles

Make sure you have enough supplies to last three days for each family member. You should also know you way around without having to use the main roads, which may not be useable during a nuclear threat. If you can’t make it to a shelter on time, drop to the ground and cover your face. Count 60 seconds after you hear the blast to make sure that the wave has passed.

3. Prepare to Stay Home

You may need to stay in your shelter for a number of days until it’s safe to come out. Do you have enough food, water and medicine to stay in your home for three or more days? If not, you should prepare now by getting the supplies you need. You’ll have many of the items if you buy an emergency supply kit, such as described in Step 2.  However, you can do even more at home because you won’t have to carry items on your back. For example, you can store more water at home, in addition to the water pouches in your kit. You can use kerosene heaters and lanterns to keep warm and see when it gets dark.

An important acronym to remember when you face a nuclear threat is SDT: shield-distance-time. Go to an underground shelter, as far away from the nuclear blast as possible, as quickly as possible.