With nuclear fallout from the damaged Japanese nuclear reactors reaching the West Coast of the United States, many are wondering what steps they can take to protect themselves.
The first thing to do is remain calm and don’t panic. Staying calm and rational in the face of a frightening event is the key to making the correct decisions. And there is no doubt that when governments start using the words radiation and fallout in the same message, it can be frightening.
To stay abreast of the developing situation you should listen to radio and television messages and heed the advice of authorities if they say it’s time to evacuate.
Hopefully you have followed our advice and prepared a disaster supplies (or bugout) kit and plan. If so, it’s time to get the kit out and begin following the pre-determined plan.
If you are staying put you should stay inside and close all doors, windows and the fireplace damper, if applicable. If possible, seal all window and door openings with plastic sheeting and duct tape. Turn off the air conditioner, ventilation fans, furnace and other intakes that might pull contaminated air from outside into the home.
Go to a basement or underground area, if possible, and stay inside until authorities say it’s safe to go outside.
If outdoors, get indoors as soon as possible. Cover your mouth and nose with a cloth or napkins and find shelter. Once inside, remove clothing and place into plastic bags and seal them. Shower or bathe—be sure to wash your hair—then put on fresh clothing and different shoes.
If in a vehicle, keep windows closed and turn off air vents and air conditioner and use the recirculating air setting. If possible, drive away from the location of the radiation. When you get to a location that allows you to get indoors, follow the procedure above.
Potassium iodide is a common treatment for radiation poisoning, though reports are it is becoming in short supply in the wake of the disaster. It works by preventing radiation from contaminating the thyroid. Other options include diethylenetriamine pentaacetic acid (DTPA) and Prussian blue.
We have a book that can help you prepare for any emergency. It is called In Case of Emergency! Lifesaving Tips for your Family’s Survival. You can purchase the book by going here, and we will donate $5 to the American Red Cross Japan Earthquake and Pacific Tsunami disaster relief for each copy of In Case of Emergency! that is sold.