Safecastle | One Shop For All Emergency Essentials: Nuclear Preparedness--What Does that Mean?

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

Wednesday, January 02, 2008

Nuclear Preparedness--What Does that Mean?

We've been putting a focus here lately on the growing threat out there with regard to nuclear proliferation. Nuclear warfare or nuclear terror are clearly among the worst-case scenarios we face in the 21st century.

The Current Terror Threat, Byte-Sized for Easy Consumption

1. Islamic nation Pakistan has nuclear weapons and ballistic missile technology. The moderate government there is in real danger today of falling to radical Muslim forces, including the Taliban and Al Qaeda.

2. Iran's ongoing bold pursuit of nuclear-weapons-producing capability has slipped to page 2, even while the Iranian momentum picks up speed. This should tell you something about the escalating overall danger civilization is facing at this moment in time.

3. It is obvious to most at this point that well-funded terror groups WILL get their hands on nuclear weapons in the near future. How to define "near future?" I hawked my crystal ball shortly after Y2K, so I don't have that answer for you.

Recent History & Political Reality

The world was fortunate that Mutually Assured Destruction (MAD) worked as well as it did as a nuclear deterrent through the Cold War years. Today, there is no such solution in reach.

So governments are increasingly going public with programs and appeals to their populations to be aware and to prepare for the day when the nuclear genie escapes once again. The urgency with which that is taking place is largely a measure of proximity to the Middle East or Western Asia. However, even in America, oceans away from the tinderbox, you should be able to detect the civil defense frame of mind re-emerging little by little.

We have to pray that it isn't too little too late.

Figure You Are On Your Own

It may be many years before American sentiment drives government officials to foot the immense bill required to shelter the population from nuclear fallout and/or equip the nation for realistic recovery efforts following a serious nuclear event. In fact, the rebirth of civil defense in the USA likely won't happen until AFTER a radioactive ground zero appears on the map.

So if you hear the rushing wind today, you have to know that you are responsible for taking protective measures for you and your own.

The good news, in a nutshell, nuclear preparedness is simple, as long as you have an understanding and respect for the risks present in nuclear fallout. (Forget surviving a nuclear blast--that may require a lot of luck--or a lot of determination if you prefer to simply move out to the boonies today, away from potential targets).

Your Basic Needs

What does it take to be ready for the post-nuclear America? We sell most everything you need at Safecastle, but I'm not going to go commercial here and provide a bunch of links. I'll just keep it simple to get your thought processes humming. You take it from there.

Note: There are a lot of educational resources out there on the web if you want to become fluent in nuclear survivability. If you are so inclined, that's great. It won't hurt you a bit, as long as you keep a balanced outlook on the world and retain the view that nukes may never fly after all in our lifetime ... Stay positive, while offsetting the possibility of the negative.

1. Shelter--You need to have a living space that is well-shielded from radioactivity that might fall outside. Figure radioactive particles will be on your roof, in your yard, and on anything that is exposed to the elements. The best achievable, cost-effective solution is to strive for at least 30 inches of earthen shielding between your living space and any sources of radioactive fallout.

For most, that means getting underground--in a prepositioned shelter, in an expedient shelter (if you have time to dig one), or in a full basement. Short of being able to depend on a well-buried shelter, you would be well-served to have on hand a supply of sandbags, a couple of shovels, and a source of easy-to-access fill. Those sandbags can be used to shore up your shielding in home, or basement, or even can be used as a key component in building an expedient basement shelter.

If you live or work in a high-rise building, it may be that your best shelter would be had in an interior room in the center of the building, well off the ground and well below the roof.

2. Basic gear--Nuclear targets are going to be strategic in their choosing for either population density, industrial/commercial/government capacity, or all of the above. If you are near ground zero, you will not have to give thought to what happens next. On the other hand, most people will need to deal with the aftermath and struggle with possible exposure to radioactive fallout. In assessing your risk, look upwind (wind directions are not always predictable, so in the preparatory stage, don't just look at where the wind most often comes from). Fallout could come from hundreds of miles away.

At least two things you need here:

a. a radio or other communications receiver so you can monitor what the authorities are advising in terms of fallout danger.
b. some type of radiation meter/detector/dosimeter so you can assess for yourself conditions in your immediate environment.

3. Life-sustaining supplies--Everything you and the other members in your household would need to hole up for at least two weeks. Think water, food, medication and medical supplies, light sources, heat sources if applicable, and entertainment (to keep some level of normality and optimistic outlook in place--especially for the youngsters).

You may not need to stay sheltered for the whole two weeks all day long, depending on the type and level of fallout in your vicinity, but two weeks is a common period most of us use as a benchmark.

4. Faith and courage--Lastly, I would strongly suggest that you are well-armed ... with some effective means of self-defense AND with a means for feeding your faith in heaven. Guns and Bibles ... sounds quaint or maybe downright primitive. But if you think about what it might actually be like, stuck in a shelter for any length of time ... you do not want your fears to get the best of you.

One final note in this simplistic nuclear survival primer ... I did not mention Potassium Iodide or Potassium Iodate here. Those chemical compounds ARE helpful in blocking radioiodine uptake by the thyroid gland, helping to prevent thyroid cancer years down the road. In reality, thyroid cancer is not an immediate concern and would be most helpful to children and young adults, should they survive near-term post-nuclear events. In other words, get some, but do not think of those chemicals as a magic bullet versus radioactivity. Heavy doses of radiation pose a wide range of physical threats to anyone who is unshielded and exposed for a period of time. There is no antidote for that near-term danger.

First and foremost, you need to find that physical shelter from radiation and fallout. Survive that first, then think about cancer risks 10-20 years down the road.

Get Ready ... Seriously -

1 comment:

Ryan said...

Good post. Unless you are at ground zero your odds of surviving are really pretty decent. Remember that dirt is one heck of a good cheap barrier. Other then that having enough supplies to sustain long term in that room is about all that you can really do. Lots of guns and bibles can't possibly hurt either.