How To Survive A Nuclear Event


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Many Americans have been led to believe that certain catastrophic circumstances are unlikely to occur or that, if they do occur, they are simply not survivable. They believe that preparation for these events is pointless — that one should place them out of mind and think happy thoughts. There are even some preppers who sermonize over the absolute futility of defensive planning where such disasters are concerned. These people are not really survivalists at all, but what are commonly referred to as “doomers.”

Sadly, an element of the human psyche revels in the idea of the insurmountable scenario. Some people actually get excited over the clearing of the proverbial human slate, eager for the fulfillment of Armageddon.

I suspect that such people truly feel limited in their ability to survive, and that they perhaps fear the exposure of their own shortcomings and weaknesses. Instead of accepting these weaknesses as a personal reality and attempting to overcome them, they choose to project their vulnerabilities on the rest of the world, claiming: “If I could not survive this, neither could you!” By labeling the rest of humanity as incapable, they can avoid internal self-reproach and the shame of being frightened.

Reality is filled with horrors: some emotionally threatening and some physically threatening. Every once in a while, an event combines the two in a devastating crescendo, the likes of which are rarely seen in history. Yet the fundamental hazards of this one extraordinary and terrible moment are essentially the same as those in any other day.

We face death and psychological defeat daily. This is an unavoidable part of life; anything could happen. Usually, we get over it and set out into the world anyway. To avoid submitting to defeat before even making the attempt to face the day, we treat catastrophe as evident, supplant initial fear with force of will and move forward regardless of the scope of the obstacle in our wake, and are secure in the possibility of victory despite any odds.

In this article, I will examine some of the disaster situations commonly given doom status. With a little insight and research, we can prepare to overcome such seemingly intractable calamities.

The Bomb: What To Expect

First, we must recognize the very real threat of a nuclear-related incident on American soil. Though the immediate dangers of the Cold War appear to have subsided and though globalists seem to be more interested in keeping most of the world intact for themselves rather than ruling over a radioactive dust heap, I suspect that we will within our lifetimes see at the very least a limited thermonuclear event. Beyond the predictable scenario of false flag, the United States is growing increasingly at odds with known nuclear powers, including Russia, China and North Korea. Just last week, Russian officials openly indicated they have no qualms over the use of nukes in response to a conventional threat.

This statement was made in reference to American “global first strike systems” being established in nations on the periphery of Russia’s borders.

Under certain circumstances, a nuclear event also has sociopolitical advantages for the ruling class.

Imagine the impression of an actual mushroom cloud over just one U.S. city burned into our collective psyche. Imagine the fear, panic and ignorant reactionary thinking this would cause. There are very few things in this world that are quite as formidable, and the elites are well aware of the advantages inherent in engineering such an occurrence. That is why survivalists and those in the liberty movement should fully expect this ace to be cast to the table at some point in the move toward total globalization.

In the case of a false-flag event, two types of attacks are probable. Both are small — at least when compared to the strike of an intercontinental ballistic missile (ICBM) — but still capable of severe destruction.

Low-yield nuclear explosion: If a false flag is being initiated using a nuclear device, it will probably range in size from 1 kt (kiloton yield) to 25 kt. To understand what this means, examine the bombing of Hiroshima, whose explosion was around 15 kt. A smaller device is more likely because a larger, more complex bomb would be difficult to effectively blame on terrorists and would arouse suspicion.

The blast radius of the Hiroshima bombing was only about 1 mile. Most of the deaths associated with that attack were caused not by the explosion, but by radiation poisoning from the resulting fallout.

Should a similar-sized device detonate, mass fires should be anticipated in areas just outside the blast area where buildings are still relatively undamaged, making perfect kindling for burning wreckage launched into the atmosphere by the detonation. This would cause at least another 4-mile to 5-mile swath of destruction in a densely populated environment.

Fallout from the device would depend on the direction and the strength of the wind at the time of detonation, but could travel for miles beyond the epicenter. Fallout is created when dust from the center of the explosion is irradiated, then carried along wind and weather patterns. The dust emits the radiation it was originally exposed to, and too much contact with it can cause illness or death. Fallout is at its worst if a dust cloud combines with precipitation. This rain cleans the dust out of the sky, but also concentrates it and dumps it on the ground.

Dirty bomb: “Dirty bomb” is a term used for a device made of conventional explosives that is designed to contaminate an area with radioactive material. It does not produce a thermonuclear blast, but it does create some fallout. Though no device of this type has ever been used on a population (unless you count Fukushima), U.S. military analysis has designated it as low-risk and determined its radiation output to be negligible. Any fallout poisoning in water and food supplies is still a serious threat. And the use of a dirty bomb would, of course, inspire mass hysteria, if only due to its relation to nuclear weapons.

One should also not discount the use of a high-grade missile attack, especially an upper atmospheric electromagnetic pulse (EMP).

The preparations for a major attack and a smaller attack are similar.

How To Prepare

The first step in preparing for a nuclear attack is to not be there when the bomb goes off. Avoid living in the middle of a major population center if possible. Most survivalists are aware of the danger of close proximity to the city, whether during a nuclear attack or an economic collapse, and have already taken precautions. Most steps advised herein will be in response to fallout, instead of the blast, being that fallout is the most prominent threat to the survivalist.

Home reinforcement: It takes about two weeks for the radiation in fallout to dissipate to levels safe for humans. During the two-week period, it will be necessary for everyone to stay indoors at all times. Some shelter is better than none at all, but a basement or cellar would be a distinct advantage. Stockpile barrier materials for at least the base of the first floor of the house.

The minimum requirement to effectively reduce gamma radiation to 50 percent of levels outside the home is 22 cm of wood, 8.4 cm of earth, 5cm of brick or concrete, or 2 cm of steel. Cover windows seal them with plastic. Home nuclear, biological and chemical (NBC) air filtration systems are available; but they can be rather expensive.

If you have no basement and you cannot afford to fortify the entire bottom floor, then you will need to create a safe room somewhere in the center of the building with enough protection to absorb radiation. Radiation is cumulative, meaning your body absorbs and collects it over time. Too much absorption causes radiation sickness.

Detection: Radiation is not visible or detectable with our normal senses. Fallout in rain can sometimes appear as a murky film covering surfaces, but that does not mean radiation is present. The only way to detect radioactivity is with a Geiger counter. Having a Geiger counter would be a major advantage in the event of a nuclear attack or other radiological incident.

Food, water and hygiene: It is a given that all survivalists should have a ready supply of food and water, easily accessible in a protected area of the home. Freeze-dried and dehydrated goods are an excellent option because of their 10- to 15-year shelf life. Cooking indoors without ample ventilation can create some problems, but the use of a propane stove for short periods should not cause any harm to the air quality of a shelter.

The human body needs at least two liters of water per day. Store enough water for drinking during the two-week fallout period. Double that amount to have enough water for sanitation purposes. Also, if you are a reasonable distance from the attack and have time before the fallout reaches your location, be sure to fill up all containers, bathtubs and sinks with as much water as possible from the tap. Even if pressure is still available during fallout, the water could be exposed and undrinkable. After the two-week danger period, all water taken from open sources should be filtered to remove any possible fallout particles.

Soap and sponges must be stored for washing purposes, and staying clean should be a priority. Bathroom sanitation is difficult in a fallout scenario. Waste water from cooking and washing can be saved and poured into you home toilet for a single flush if water pressure is lost, but a better option would be a survival or hunters toilet with heavy waste liners and deodorant chemicals. Remember, you won’t be able to walk outside for two weeks. A 3-foot hole in the woods is not an option. Dumping refuse outside can be done as long as exposure time is kept to less than 30 minutes, although you will have to rigorously wash off dust and contaminates before coming back inside.

Protecting health: No plan or shelter is perfect. Radiation exposure will be a possibility, especially without an expensive NBC air filtration unit. Gas masks with extra filters should be made available to everyone in the home.

Symptoms of radiation injury include: nausea, diarrhea, light burns on the skin, blistering and increased loss of hair. Radiation burns should be washed with clean water only — no soaps or chemicals — and dressed with fresh bandages. Clothing should not be pulled away from severe radiation burns; and blisters should be left alone, not punctured.

One item that helps greatly in preventing the effects of radiation exposure is the ingestion of potassium iodate, which fills the thyroid and blocks radioactive iodine expelled into the atmosphere from being absorbed. Up to 99 percent of all radiation-induced thyroid damage can be prevented by taking potassium iodate pills. Potassium iodate is available from numerous online vendors and is very affordable.

Protecting electronics from EMP: An EMP is a natural byproduct of a thermonuclear explosion. It creates a powerful electromagnetic field that induces high voltages in electrical conductors and fries most electronics with transistors or computer chips whether they are plugged in or not. Some weapons called high-altitude electromagnetic pulse (HEMP) devices are designed specifically to explode in the upper atmosphere and disable an area’s power grid.

Certain electronics, including solar-power generators and other gear, would be very valuable in a survival scenario; and losing said equipment could be detrimental. Protecting it from an EMP blast is a high priority. Even if your gear is stored inside your home, it can be fried by an EMP (though a basement can help). So what is the survivalist to do? Building a Faraday cage is your best option.

A Faraday cage is a box constructed out of conductive materials (like copper mesh), which absorb and then ground the EMP, keeping it away from your sensitive electronic goods. A Faraday cage can be any size and is inexpensive to make. In a pinch, an old microwave can actually serve as a Faraday cage; but it is better to build one.

After The Storm Has Passed

When two weeks have passed, any radiation should have dissipated to tolerable levels. Eventually, rain will clear away remaining fallout dust, which — though no longer a major threat — can still have long-term health effects. Some precautions may be necessary when returning to your outdoor survival routine.

Fresh crops: When gardening, scraping off the top two inches of surface soil removes about 90 percent of all fallout from your garden. This soil should be stored in steel drums far away from your food-producing area. Some pre-existing crops exposed to the fallout can still be saved, depending on their type and stage of growth.

Hunting: Game exposed to some radioactivity can still be consumed, as long as it is prepared properly. All fur should be washed before skinning. Because radiation collects in bone marrow, all meat near the bones should be avoided and bone marrow should not be consumed. All organs should be avoided as well. If an animal looks terribly sick, it is best not to eat it.

Burying the dead: Deal with bodies exposed to radiation carefully. Wrap them in plastic and bury them well away from crop-producing land.

Supporting immunity: Exposure to radiation can do considerable damage to the human immune system and decrease white blood cell count. It is also likely you will not have access to conventional medical supplies, such as antibiotics, to deal with this problem. (If you have a source for antibiotics, store as much as you can now.)

Some herbal supplements can help stimulate immune system health and protect you from adverse reactions. Eastern herbs include: astragalus, ligustrum, codonopsis, reishi, and shiitake. Another, caterpillar fungus, has been shown to protect the bone marrow and digestive functions in mice from radiation. Western herbs include cat’s claw, echinacea and elderberry. These herbs can be taken in pill form; but if you find them in an organic tea, this would be preferable. The body absorbs only a small fraction of herbs through digestion; but teas have the added bonus of being breathable, meaning the vapors can enter the lungs absorbing 80 percent of their contents into the blood stream.

Treating the sick: For perhaps a month after an attack, you may run across people who survived the blast and the fallout but are extremely ill from exposure. Under normal conditions, radiation poisoning would require hospital care, blood transfusions, antibiotics and bone marrow transplants. These will probably not be available options. There is little that can be done under such limits except holistic treatments for nausea and diarrhea, so that the patient might retain some liquids; the cleanly dressing of wounds; and the consumption of the immunity-boosting herbs mentioned above. Be prepared for some people to die despite your best efforts. Those who did not plan ahead as you did will be subject to the toss of the dice, and luck is a fickle ally.

We’ve all seen movies and read books of nuclear holocaust, and the utter despair it could conceivably initiate. Of course, nuclear attack should not be underestimated — far from it. However, rarely in these films or fictional accounts do you see characters who prepared beforehand, who had readied themselves physically and psychologically for the aftermath. This is a symptom of the common assumption that one “cannot survive” nuclear attack and that, even if he did, he would be better off dead. I tend to disagree, and so do the U.S. Army and the Russian military, which have undergone extensive planning and written detailed manuals for soldiers on nuclear survival.

With the correct mindset and the right knowledge, any catastrophe is survivable, including “the bomb.” Futility arises only when a man decides for himself that he is not capable. To endure, one must make himself a master of his circumstances, rather than a slave to them.  This concept is at the heart of all survival.

–Brandon Smith

Personal Liberty

Brandon Smith

is the founder of the Alternative Market Project, an organization designed to help you find like-minded activists and preppers in your local area so that you can network and construct communities for barter and mutual aid. Join today and learn what it means to step away from the unstable mainstream system and build something better. You can contact Brandon Smith at:

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