REFUGE BY SAFECASTLE: Got Nukes? Be Ready to Stay Put

There are two ways to sleep well at night ... be ignorant or be prepared.

Saturday, August 06, 2005

Got Nukes? Be Ready to Stay Put

There are a lot of good reasons to get involved in crisis preparedness. The bottom line is, bad things happen. It's good to know that if they happen to you, you're going to be positioned to get through it.

We've started talking about whether you ought to consider your options in preparing for the possibility of local high-dose radiation exposure. (See "Dealing with the 'N' Word.") My assumption is that you agree it's a good idea. After all, there are several potential broad scenarios out there that could to varying degrees come to impact people, wherever they live in the U.S. We're talking nuclear-fission acts of war, terroristic dirty bomb attacks, nuclear power plant accidents, and nuclear-material transportation accidents.

We hope never to have to experience any of these occurrences, but it IS possible that one day, you could find yourself directly impacted by a nuclear crisis in the U.S. And be advised, even if you're not in the middle of it or downwind, the domino effect throughout the country will still be kicking the legs out from under your previously uninterrupted "good life." But that opens up some issues for another blog post at a later date.

Basic Options

There are a lot of things you'll need to quickly consider should some version of the nuclear genie suddenly appear on the American landscape.

First, you will hopefully be able to give pause to thank God that you had the foresight to prepare to whatever extent you did beforehand ... because there will be little or no time to take significant remedial steps after that "balloon goes up."

Next and the main focus of this post today--you'll need to judge whether you will indeed be exposed to the immediate danger of fallout, given the proximity and location of the event and prevailing winds and weather conditions. There will be little time for hesitation for many people. It will likely be crucial to decide your course of action quickly--to try to escape to a safer area with good shelter or to stay where you are and make the most of the shelter resources at your disposal.

In a singular, limited nuclear event, whether nearby or far away, the ideal choice might appear to be to "get out of Dodge." Perhaps that is so, but do also realize that if you think you ought to bug-out, chances are, everybody else will be thinking the same thing. If you're in a metropolitan area, that portends major gridlock and perhaps subsequent panic, and thus exposure to some serious other risks in addition to radiation ... on the road and far away from familiar surroundings, protective shelter, necessary resources, and personally supportive social networks.

Stay Put

I've been chewing on these types of issues for about 30 years, since I was designated my military unit's NBC (nuclear/biological/chemical) specialist, in charge of making sure we were equipped to survive the harshest wartime environments. Today, there are certainly better qualified experts out there who can provide all the required level of detail as you become more interested and informed. But for your immediate purposes, it is quite enough to be aware of some basic principles that can mean the difference between survival and a long, miserable death if you act foolishly.

Adequate shielding placed between you and the source of any radiation that is present in your vicinity is paramount to your continuing good health. For most of us in a fallout situation, that means an inside room with as much mass as possible surrounding it and over it. Distance from the radiation is also a pertinent factor.

Your best bet is underground.

Approximately three feet of earth or sand between you in your shelter and any outside surface where fallout particles can accumulate is probably going to ensure your optimal chances for a natural death well into the future ... that is, if you keep that protective mass between yourself and the radiation long enough for the radioactivity to naturally decay to an acceptable level before you leave your shelter (two weeks is a standard, general sheltering-in estimate for planning purposes, but you would want to have the capability to accurately take radiation readings if at all possible). If that earthen mass is not already present, you will want to be able to quickly create as much mass as you can using whatever other material is available to act as a protective barrier. (Helpful hint: sandbags are of tremendous use in fallout protection.)

There are some great how-to resources out there for you if you opt to build yourself a fallout shelter. There are even "expedient" shelter plans out there published during the Cold War for civil defense purposes, but those tactics are really for folks who have no other choice but to react rather than to anticipate.

But I digress ...

Back to the most critical decision you may ever have to make ... should you stay or should you go? If you are well-prepared at home or even adequately situated at work or wherever else you spend a lot of time, you ought to be able to plan to stay-put in many such events--at least until the initial shock and panic in the populace runs its course, or the radiation levels themselves prove to be a small factor in your decision to move elsewhere.

I happen to strongly believe that most nuclear events would have the least adverse effect on those who choose to stay-put rather than for those who try to evacuate, if they have even just an adequate amount of knowledge and some minimal resources available to them to deal with their needs. Quite simply, to try get somewhere else is going to make you very vulnerable and exposed to a wide range of dangers, because among other things, you probably do not have an armored vehicle to travel in, and if you do, it probably is not engineered to shield you from high levels of radiation.

Adequate Radiation Preps

Some of the same basic crisis preparations apply here as for other potential disasters. The main differences are that you need that shielding shelter mass, and you want to aim for having on hand a minimum of two weeks worth of life-sustaining supplies--food; water; light and energy sources; medical supplies; and depending on your shelter conditions, air circulation and filtration.

These are the basics. I aim here to simply get you thinking about "what if." And if you want to actually become better positioned to survive and recover from a local radiological event, then spend some time researching, planning, and preparing.

More to come on some of the serious man-made threats to your peace and security.

I would be remiss if I failed to point out that Safecastle LLC offers some of the most robust and reliable prefabricated fallout and storm shelters available in the world. They are built to your specifications and special needs and they are delivered and installed most anywhere in the lower 48. The experience and expertise our builder puts into your shelter is rooted in more than 400 shelters in the last 10 years that have been delivered to customers ranging from corporations and government agencies such as FEMA to households such as yours. Best of all, the price is amazingly affordable.

This store offering is an example of a unit that can normally be yours to use within a matter of two-three months. Contact me for more info or with questions--I'm here to help. See also the Safecastle shelter site.


Lars said...

What's the stuff you're supposed to take to protect against radiation sickness?

JC Refuge said...

Hi Lars. Yep, I should have mentioned this. But rather than answer you here, I'm using your question to hopefully get a dialog started in the August 8 post, "Comments, Questions, Dialog." Thanks.

JC Refuge said...

Well, this dialog thing didn't go so well, did it?

With regard to Lars' question about what you can take to protect against radiation sickness ...

To my knowledge, there is no silver bullet that protects against radiation sickness, other than avoidance or adequate shielding.

There IS, however, a compound--Potassium Iodide (as well as Potassium Iodate) that if taken as directed, will protect your thyroid from longer term adverse health developments due to significant radiation exposure. For more on this, see: