We live in uncertain times and the world has become riskier with nuclear weapons. A nuclear attack could come from a rogue state or it could be the work of terrorists. We have seen the devastation caused by nuclear bombs in Hiroshima and Nagasaki. There’s no certainty that something like that will not happen again.
It makes us wonder what will happen if a nuclear attack occurs in our city. Is it possible to survive a nuclear attack? What can you do to protect yourself and your loved ones from a nuclear attack? To answer such questions, here are some important things to keep in mind.
Stages of nuclear blast – Events that occur immediately after a nuclear blast include a flash of light, mushroom cloud, very high thermal energy and pulse of nuclear radiation. A giant fireball is another signature event after a nuclear blast. Subsequently, an air blast also occurs that can blow away cars and other objects and shatter glass windows. The final stage is the radioactive fallout, wherein radioactive material mixed with dirt and debris falls from the sky.
Affected zones – The area impacted by a nuclear blast will depend on the explosive yield of the nuclear weapon used. If we consider a 10 kT nuclear weapon that drops over a city, the immediately half-mile radius will be almost entirely destroyed. The next zone will be half-to-1-mile radius, which will witness moderate damage. In the 1-to-3-mile radius zone, the damage will be relatively less. Most you will see will be broken windows.
Chances of survival – If you are in the immediate zone and in an open area, chances of survival will be minimum. In mid zone, lives could be saved with prompt medical assistance. In the outermost zone, you should be able to survive even without medical attention.
What can you do to survive nuclear blast?
If a warning is provided or if you notice the blast in another part of the city, you immediately need to take shelter inside a concrete building. Thick concrete walls provide the best protection against radiation and radioactive fallout. You should try to reach the center of the building or go to the basement if the building has one. You may have to stay there for 12 to 24 hours before the effects of radiation outside are minimized.
If you think you have been exposed, remove your outer clothing and dispose them wrapped in a plastic bag. Wait for assistance from authorities. You can later take a shower and scrub yourself with soap and shampoo.
If you live in a risk zone, you should always be prepared to deal with a nuclear blast. You could prepare a homemade kit that will have things like water bottles, packaged food items, extra clothing, etc. You will need these when you take shelter for several hours inside a building.
If you are driving, stop immediately and seek shelter inside a building. Don’t stay inside your car, as it won’t offer much protection from radiation.