Episode 162 S4-38
Nuclear Bombing Preparation
Battle for the South Ch 38
As we near the end of the story Battle for the South, the team finds themselves surviving the bombing by the Federal Forces in a walk in freezer. Traditional bombing activity like this is not likely to take place on American soil, however a nuclear threat makes headline news often. Here today to discuss ways to prepare for a nuclear attack is Aaron Frankel host of In the Rabbit Hole Podcast.
Aaron lives by the saying, "Stay safe and sound, safe in person and sound in mind." To that end he broke down what a nuclear attack might look like.
Surviving a nuclear attack is more probable than you imagined. Unless it is a full scale global nuclear war and then it won't matter much for any of us. The topic of nuclear attacks is a gigantic topic that many people claim to be experts on. However, many times they are experts in one specific field and then give their opinions about other aspects. To really find out the true story, you have to research many different experts and then combine their information to get a full picture. A great place to start is with Dr. Author Bradley. He is an electromagnetic interference scientist for NASA who identifies with the disaster ready community and shares his thoughts.
Unfortunately, no disaster is going to call ahead to make an appointment, you need to be ready to handle anything. A nuclear attack is no different. After the warnings that we saw in Hawaii, it is safe to assume that the government would give notice about the attack. It would likely come about 15-30 minutes before the missile hit the ground. Panic at this stage is not likely as people will be scrambling to find shelter.
There are three layers to a nuclear attack at ground level. The first is the initial blast. Then comes the second wave of destruction if the form of a heat wave. The third wave will create a zone that has been effected by an electro-magnetic (EMP) pulse that will disable electronics. The altitude of the attack will affect the blast results. The closer to the ground, the smaller the impact radius of the zones. The higher you go the wider the impact some will be to a degree. However once you go really high, like into the atmosphere, the blast will matter less but the EMP effect is more widespread.
You should have a fourteen day minimum supply of food and water. This will give you enough to wait out the half life of the fallout. Storing food is easier to do than storing water. Do the best you can with the space you have. At the minimum store a few five-gallon jugs. If a disaster strikes, immediately fill an containers you can with water, including the bathtubs.
If you are in the first couple layers of the blast zone, none of this will matter because, you will no longer be alive. If you are outside the zone, your odds of survival are much better than you might imagine.
As far as medical supplies, you should have a well stocked medical kit prepared anyhow. One item that you may want to add to it is Potassium iodide. Iodine is poison and it is not the same thing as potassium iodide. Potassium iodide can be used to boost the thyroid and ward off the radiation. However potassium iodide should never be given to someone with a thyroid problem.
Communicating during a nuclear attack may be a challenge. The EMP effects from a nuclear attack are often misunderstood. Dr. Author Bradley says if a device is turned off at the time of an event, unless they are plugged into an electrical grid, they will probably be okay. The electrical grid is at risk because it acts as a giant antennae to suck up electro-magnetic energy. You need a way to be able to make contact and receive information. Alerts may go out but do not rely on them alone. Sometimes, they can be too late and the danger has already presented itself before the alert. Listen to ham radios or scanners and try to stay on top of what is going on. You also need to be able to send a message just in case someone needs help and to contact loved ones to let them know you are okay. The landlines will most likely suffer the same fate as the grid due to the antennae effect. If you are interested in diving deeper into the topic Strategic Relocation is a book Aaron recommends you read.
If you are outside and exposed to radiation, you should strip down all of your close and wash with soap and water. Then have someone hose you off. Leave your clothes in the yard and go inside naked. Do not scrub too hard! Fallout is in the dust and dirt outside, washing it off works. Make sure you take special care to wash hairy areas better. Don't bring your clothes in and don't wear them again. Think about having a plastic bag, poncho or dry bag to cover your evacuation backpack or go-bag.
Luckily, fallout has a short half life. The initial 72-96 hours are the most critical. You'll have to be inside for a while. Prepare to entertain yourself and your family while you wait. Aaron says you should have the max you can reasonable afford in money and space to cover the eight areas of preparedness: Body temperature, water, rest, food, health, security, contact, and information. A small faraday container with a blackout kit would be ideal. There are many ways to build one and there is information all over the internet regarding the topic. It is basically a metal box that is sealed tightly to absorb and shield the contents from electromagnetic energy.
Now-a-days many people are tuning out new broadcasts due to the depressing nature of the programming. Most of the news is worth ignoring. It is more like reality TV entertainment than news. However, it is important to stay abreast of current events. Look for longer term temperature indicators of civil unrest, foreign affairs, and the general economy. Try to take news in the aspect of a week, month, or quarter, not daily.
You never know what target will be selected. Don't live in fear! No one can ever know when catastrophe will hit, that's why you stay prepared to handle any disaster. However, places that have a history of terrorist attacks or major cities like New York could be potential targets. The targets have to be huge so that the event draws the maximum amount of attention. America has already taken many steps to ensure the safety of the nation. There are protection measures in place to detect if radioactive material is on the highways or entering a major city.
There are three main types of nuclear bombs that would be concerning. The first type is a first generation nuclear bomb or a fission bomb. This is like the atom bomb that we used in WWII. The next type is a second generation nuclear bomb, for example a fission, hydrogen or thermo-nuclear bomb. Dirty bombs also get lumped into the category of a nuclear bomb because they have a nuclear component. The last type is a third generation nuclear bomb like a neutron or fission drive bomb. These weapons are still theoretical and haven't actually been built yet. In theory these bombs have the ability to destroy organic life without destroying the infrastructure. None of these weapons are easy to build with the exception of the dirty bomb.
A dirty bomb is not about the blast, it is about the panic this type of attack would cause. A dirty bomb is radioactive material mixed with a conventional explosive. The radiation wouldn't be as bad but the news would announce it as a nuclear attack, causing more panic. The country would freak out and strain the resources. This could last for three to five days.
A first gen or second gen nuclear bomb could be delivered in many different ways. It could be on an airplane headed for US airspace. It could be on a short range warhead or on an Inter Continental Ballistics Missile (ICBM) capable of traveling across multiple countries. It could be put in a fifty-gallon drum and taken to the top floor of a fifty story building. It is really up to the creativity of the creator.
Threats of nuclear attack may not be as threatening as the media makes it out to be. Nation states have a lot to lose for initiating this type of attack. The biggest threats come from terrorists. A 20 kiloton tactical nuclear weapon weighs a few hundred pounds and if detonated at ground level would create a blast radius a little over five miles wide. If it is possible to get a height advantage the blast zone will increase. The disaster would be about twenty times worse than 9/11. If this happened anywhere in the United States, the whole country would be in pandemonium. Dirty bombs are much easier for terrorist to make. Radioactive material is much more prevalent in our everyday world than you think.
If you did not die in the blast, you want to shelter in a place that is not your car or outside. Anything would be better than that. You want to try to put as much mass between you and the possible radiation. If you want exact number for all the different materials, do your research. It is enough to know that metal is bad and has the potential to soak up more radiation. Shelter in your home and try to locate yourself in the most interior room possible. Turn off any HVAC units and limit the air flow as much as possible. You can tape the windows but most homes now-a-days seal fairly well. Most city buildings have a basement and they usually have running water to them. If the building was build pre-1945 it probably was set up as a fallout shelter at one time. The supplies won't be there anymore but the shielding still is. As long as there hasn't been any major tampering, the ventilation system may still be in place as well.
The initial blast and heat wave is going to do the most damage. Fallout will be at ground level and immediately start to travel downwind. Panic and Chaos are going to be a major concern. The emergency services will be overwhelmed with calls. The government will continue its pattern of ineptness. Unfortunately, this type of event will cause smart people to do dumb things in a state of panic. Grocery stores will get whipped out.
Rain during or immediately after has a big possibility of being a carrier of the radiation. The radiation will go up into the upper atmosphere and blow on the wind and gathered into the clouds. You shouldn't stand in the rain but it's not like Hollywood, you won't melt. Rain will actually be a good thing in the long run. It will knock down the dust and debris from the air to the ground. Then at least it will not be floating around. Alpha particles and Beta particles have a very short 1/2 life and get knocked out. You don't want to have contact with them but in the grand scope of the disaster it is not a major concern. The real threat is in ingesting them, either through your mouth or inhalation.
Expect that your power will be interrupted in the EMP blast. The water will be contaminated but not right away. It will take time for the water to get from the plant to you. All utilities will be lost and the nation will grind to a halt.
If you were close enough for your canned goods to be effected by the eradiated by neutrons then so did all the metal in your home including: silverware, chairs, your fillings, your kids braces, etc. If it is a long term disaster, do not scavenge for canned goods later in this zone. You should not eat any wild forgeable or animals from the radiation area. Remember that animals may travel through it and forage there. Even though you kill the animal outside the zone they may have high radiation levels. If you have to drink from a water source in the radiation zone, make sure you filter it. Only do this if you are going to die of dehydration if you don't.
There is really no type of clothing you could wear to improve your survival rates. Hazmat suites are hot, bulky and uncomfortable. You are more likely to die of heat stroke than the radiation. Plus someone has to decontaminate you when you take it off or the suit will be compromised. Army hazmat suites have an acceptable rate of failure. Guess what else? No guy with facial hair will be able to wear a gas mask properly either. There are those Tyvek suites are an option and are available in bulk but they rip easy and are hot. You still need to cover your mouth and eyes. They are easy to dispose of after contact with the outside but you still have to decontaminate after.
If someone gets radiation poisoning, in general, it should be safe to touch them. Treat any medical problems. Wash them but don't scrub them raw. They were exposed to the initial radiation and ingested partials or they ingested an isotope then they could be radio active but you will never know. Keep them away from children.
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The Changing Earth Series
Host of In the Rabbit Hole Podcast, an urban preparedness podcast. In his free time, Aaron enjoys hogging the remote, surfing, scotch, mental masturbation and debate over philosophical topics, and shooting stuff--usually not all at the same time.