If a Nuclear Bomb Drops Near You, This Scientific Information Might Save Your Life

If a Nuclear Bomb Drops Near You, This Scientific Information Might Save Your Life

As the tensions between countries are rising, there is a good chance that anyone can start an all out war. Armies are focusing on nuclear weapons that are capable of causing long-lasting damages to their enemies. The pope as well the United Nations condemn the creation of more nuclear weapons, but mankind just keeps on building more and more of these destructive devices. Though the current events taking place around us are unlikely to trigger the last-ditch option of nuclear war, let alone a blast in your neighborhood, they are still very concerning. It’s a question we may ask, “If I survive a nuclear-bomb attack, what should I do?”. Here we are listing some key instructions that you need to follow in case such a scenario takes place.

1. Find a good place to hide.

Nuclear explosion, FEMA, information, Fact, facts
Image credits: FEMA

The first and most important thing to do is to find a good place to hide. It should not be just anywhere but a specific area that limits your exposure to radiation. Keep in mind that the more dense material between you and the outside world, the better. Basements are a good example. According to the EPA, tall buildings with solid basements and no windows would be the best place to take shelter from nuclear fallout.





If you consider your house to be the safest place, then you need to reconsider your options. Today, houses are mainly constructed of lightweight materials and lack basements; unless you live in a rural area and have a storm shelter.

This infographic gives you a rough idea on what makes a building a good or bad place to hide from fallout:

Building, tall structure, fact, facts, solid ground, basement, no windows
Image credits: FEMA

Your main goal is to reduce exposure to elements present in the atmosphere.

Hiding in the sub-basement of a brick five-story apartment building, for example, should expose you to just 1/200 of the amount of fallout radiation outside. Meanwhile, hanging out in the living room of your one-story, wood-frame house will only cut down the radiation by half.

2. Estimate your distance from the blast site.

Estimate distance from blast site
Image via Wikimedia

The image only gives you a rough estimate and depending on the power of the blast, exposure to radiation and fallout could vary. This step is crucial however, since it should be used to determine whether you should stay inside, run for supplies or even evacuate. In a 2014 study, M.B. Dillon (Proceedings of the Royal Society A: Mathematical and Physical Sciences) developed models to determine your best options.

Royal society publishing, surface area,
Image credits: RSP.org

If you are immediately next to or in a solid shelter during the detonation, stay there until the rescuers come to evacuate you. This will ensure the least amount of exposure to radiation. If you aren’t already in a bomb shelter but are aware of a shelter close by, his calculations suggest making it over there quickly and staying in place.




3. Collect as many provisions as you can while making your way towards the shelter.

Collect as many provisions as you while making your way towards the shelter.
Image credits: Wikimedia

In case you face such a disaster, ensure that you have enough resources until rescuers arrive. A 1957 US government study discovered that beer and soda would be safe to drink, if it survives a nuclear explosion.

“In 1956, the Atomic Energy Commission exploded two bombs, one “with an energy release equivalent to 20 kilotons of TNT,” the other 30 kilotons, at a test site in Nevada. Bottles and cans were carefully placed various distances from ground zero….

“The closest containers were placed “less than a quarter mile away,” says Alex [Wellerstein, science historian], “a mere 1,056 feet”, the outliers a couple of miles off. Some were buried, some left in batches, others were placed side by side.”

Beers close to the blast site were slightly radioactive and still totally drinkable in dire situations. Those further away were less radioactive. Some researchers even tasted the beer to ensure that they were drinkable.

4. Patiently wait to be evacuated.

Patiently wait to be evacuated
Image credits: Gizmodo

In case of a nuclear blast, find shelter and use resources you have until an evacuation team arrives. Emerging out of your bunker or basement can have severe consequences from the radiation and fallout. Understand that even if the blast took place an hour to two hours ago, the atmosphere could still be covered with radioactive ashes. So, your best option would be to stay indoors until officials come to evacuate you to a designated area that they deem safe.




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