By Shane Connor
Some will be tempted to skip or skim over the topic of 'nuclear armageddon' assuming it's much too overwhelming un-survivable. Unfortunately, for their families, they will then have tragically missed the essential life-saving 'good news' awaiting them below.
What possible good news could there ever be about nuclear destruction coming to
In a word, they are all survivable for the vast majority of American families, if they know what to do beforehand and have made even the most modest preparations.
Tragically, though, most Americans today won't give much credence to this good news, much less seek out such vital life-saving instruction, as they have been jaded by our culture's pervasive myths of nuclear un-survivability.
Most people think that if nukes go off, then everybody is going to die, or will wish they had. That's why you hear such absurd comments as: "If it happens, I hope I'm at ground zero and go quickly."
This defeatist attitude was born as the disarmament movement ridiculed any alternatives
to their agenda. The sound Civil Defense strategies of the '60s have been derided as being
largely ineffective, or at worst a cruel joke. With the supposed end of the Cold War in the '80s, most Americans neither saw a need to prepare, nor believed that preparation would do any good. Today, with growing prospects of nuclear terrorism, we see emerging among the public either paralyzing fear or irrational denial. People can no longer envision effective preparations for surviving a nuclear attack.
In fact, though, the biggest surprise for most Americans, if nukes are really unleashed, is that they will still be here!
Most will survive the initial blasts because they won't be anywhere near close enough to any "ground zero," and that is very good news. Unfortunately, though, few people will be prepared to next survive the coming radioactive fallout, which will eventually kill many times more than the blast. However, there is still more good news: Well over 90 percent of the potential casualties from fallout can be avoided if the public is pre-trained through an aggressive national Civil Defense educational program. Simple measures taken immediately after a nuclear blast, by a trained public, can prevent agonizing
death and injury from radiation.
The National Planning Scenario No. 1, an originally confidential internal 2004 study by
the Department of Homeland Security, demonstrated the above survival odds when they examined the effects of a terrorist nuke going off in
area will have just witnessed and survived their first nuclear explosion. Clearly, the good news is most people will survive the initial blast.
However, the study also determined that another 250,000 people would soon be at risk from lethal doses of radiation from the fallout drifting downwind toward them after the blast. These much larger casualty numbers are what is avoidable, and that's more good news, but only for those pre-trained by a Civil Defense program in what to do before that ill wind arrives.
Another study, released in 2006 by the Rand Corporation, looked at a terrorist 10-kiloton
nuke arriving in a cargo container and being exploded in the Port of Long Beach, Calif. Over 150,000 people were estimated to be at risk downwind from fallout, again, many more than from the initial blast itself. Other, more recent studies, continue to show the same much higher population percentages at risk downwind from fallout and away from the ground zero blast.
Today, lacking any meaningful Civil Defense program, millions of American families continue to be at risk and could perish needlessly for lack of essential knowledge that used to be taught at the grade school level.
The public urgently needs to be instructed in Civil Defense basics, like the good news that thousands can be saved employing the old "Duck and Cover" tactic, without which most people will instead run to the nearest window to see what the big flash was just in time to be shredded by the glass imploding inward from the shock wave. They next need to also know when later evacuating, that doing so perpendicular to the coming downwind drift of the fallout would be their best strategy to safe ground. They must also be taught how to effectively shelter in place for a brief time if they can't evacuate, while the
radioactive fallout loses 90 percent of it's lethal intensity in the first seven hours and 99 percent of it in two days. For those requiring sheltering from fallout, the majority would only need a couple or three days of hunkering down, not weeks on end.
The good news continues because an effective improvised family fallout shelter can be put together at home both cheaply and quickly, but only if the public is trained beforehand, as was begun in the '60s with our national Civil Defense program.
Unfortunately, our government today is doing little to promote nuclear preparedness and Civil Defense instruction among the general public. Regrettably, most of our officials, like the public, are still captive to the same illusions that training and preparation are ineffective against a nuclear threat.
Department of Homeland Security head Michael Chertoff demonstrated this attitude in 2005 when he responded to the following question in USA Today:
Q: In the last four years, the most horrific scenario a nuclear attack may be the least
discussed. If there were to be a nuclear attack tomorrow by terrorists on an American city, how would it be handled?
A: In the area of a nuclear bomb, it's prevention, prevention, prevention. If a nuclear
bomb goes off, you are not going to be able to protect against it. There's no city strong enough infrastructure-wise to withstand such a hit. No matter how you approach it, there'd be a huge loss of life.
Mr. Chertoff fails to grasp that most of that "huge loss of life" is preventable if the
survivors of the blast and those downwind knew what to do beforehand. He only acknowledges that the infrastructure will be severely compromised responders won't be responding. Civil Defense training of the public beforehand is clearly the only hope for those in the fallout path. Of course, the government should try and prevent it happening first, but the answer he should have given to that question is:
"preparation, preparation, preparation" for when prevention might fail.
The federal government must launch a national mass media, business-supported and school-based effort, superseding our most ambitious public awareness campaigns like for AIDS, drug abuse, drunk driving, seat belts, anti-smoking and smoke detectors. The effort should percolate down to every level of our society. Let's be clear – we are talking about the potential to save, or lose, many times more lives than those saved by all these other noble efforts combined!
Instead, Homeland Security continues to be focused primarily on two missions:
1. Interdiction -- Catching nuclear materials and terrorists before an event
2. COG -- Continuity of Government for when No. 1 fails
The most important mission has been largely ignored:
3. Continuity of the Public -- proven mass media Civil Defense training of the public that would make the survival difference for the vast majority of Americans affected by a nuclear event.
This tragic and deadly oversight won't improve until the crippling myths of nuclear
un-survivability are banished by the good news that a trained and prepared public can, and ultimately has to, save themselves.
National Civil Defense is an issue we hope and pray both political parties would try to outdo each other in proposing aggressive Civil Defense educational programs. We are not asking billions for provisioned public fallout shelters for all, like what already awaits many of our politicians. We are just asking for a comprehensive mass
media, business and school-based re-release of the proven practical strategies of Civil Defense education, similar to what already has been embraced by the Chinese, Russians, Swiss, Israelis and even
In the meantime, though, don't wait around for the government to instruct and prepare your own family and community. Educate yourself today, and share with others, how to establish your own family nuclear survival preparations, beginning with the emergency guide;
WHAT TO DO IF A NUCLEAR DISASTER IS IMMINENT!
This guide is for families preparing for imminent terrorist or strategic nuclear attacks with expected severe destruction, widespread radioactive fallout downwind, and extensive disruptions of services.
IF ONLY A 'Dirty Bomb' Attack (Not the vastly more devastating nuclear weapon blasts with fallout discussed below.) - You can expect localized and downwind contamination from the explosion and dispersed radioactive materials. If you are near enough to see or hear any local bomb blast, assume that it includes radiological or chemical agents. You should move away from the blast area as quickly as possible. If the wind is blowing toward you from the direction of the blast, travel in a direction that is crosswise or
perpendicular to the wind as you move away from the blast area. If possible cover your face with a dust mask or cloth to avoid inhaling potentially radioactive dust. Upon reaching a safe location, remove your outer clothing outside and shower as soon as possible. Refer to local news sources for additional instructions about sheltering or evacuation. The government is better prepared to direct and assist the public in a 'dirty bomb' incident, unlike an actual nuclear weapon attack discussed below.
In a national crisis of imminent nuclear weapon attacks, read all the way through this guide first,
THEN TAKE EFFECTIVE PROTECTIVE ACTION WITH CONFIDENCE... FAST!
#1 - STAY OR GO?
You must decide FIRST if you need to prepare where you are, or attempt evacuation. The nature of the threat, your prior preparations, and your confidence in your sources of information should direct your decision. If you know already you will be preparing to stay at your own home or, at least, the immediate local area, go now to #2 below.
If you are considering evacuation, your decision requires a very high confidence that it is worth the risk. You do not want to get stuck between your current location and your hoped for destination, as there will probably be no easy getting back. If you fail to get to your destination, you may be exposed without shelter, in a dangerous situation with little effective law enforcement, perhaps among panicked hordes of refugees. Whatever supplies you have may be limited then to what you can carry on foot. IF you are in a big city or near a military target, AND you have relatives or friends in the country
that you know are awaiting you, AND the roads between you and them are clear, AND you have the means and fuel, evacuation may be a viable option for a limited time. DO NOT attempt evacuation if all of the above is not clearly known, or if the situation is deteriorating too quickly to assure the complete trip. Again, you do not want to get stuck exposed and/or become another refugee amongst the panicked masses. If evacuation is
truly a viable option, do not wait - GO NOW! Do so with as many of the supplies listed at #7 below as possible. Better to be two days too early in arriving than two hours too late leaving and getting snagged mid-way, potentially exposing your family to a worse fate than having stayed where you were. Because of the very real danger of getting caught in an evacuation stampede that stalls, almost all families will be better off making the best of it wherever they currently are when events are moving too fast.
#2 - WHAT YOU NEED TO DO FIRST
Because time is of the essence, you need to first delegate and assign to different adult family members specific tasks so they can all be accomplished at the same time. Your first priorities to assure your family survival are Shelter, Water, and Food/Supplies. While some are working on the water storage and shelter at home, others need to be acquiring, as much as possible, the food and supplies.
#3 - FOOD/SUPPLIES
Because much of the food and supplies listed at the conclusion of this guide at #7 may quickly become unavailable, you need to assign someone NOW to immediately go to the stores with that list! Get cash from the bank and ATM's first, but try and use credit cards at the stores, if at all possible, to preserve your cash.
#4 - WATER
With one or more adults now heading to the stores with the list at #7, those remaining need to begin storing water IMMEDIATELY! Lack of clean water will devastate your family much more quickly and more severely than any lack of food. Without water for both drinking and continued good sanitary practices in food preparation and for bathroom excursions (which often become less sanitary than normal), debilitating sickness could rampage through your household with little hope of prompt medical attention. That is an
avoidable disaster, but ONLY IF you have enough clean water stored.
Every possible container needs to be filled with water RIGHT NOW! It will be very hard to have stored too much water. When the electricity/pumps go down or everybody in your community is doing the same thing, thus dropping the water pressure, what you've got is all you might be getting for a very long time. Empty pop bottles (1-3 liter) are
ideal for water storage, also filling up the bathtub and washing machine. (Remember, later you'll have some in your hot water tank.) If you have any kiddie pools or old water beds, pull them out and fill them up, too. (Water from a water bed should be used only for bathing or cleaning, not for drinking as it may contain traces of algaecide and/or fungicides.) Anything and everything that'll hold water needs to be filled up quickly RIGHT NOW!!
One of the shopping items listed in #7 is new garbage cans and liner bags which you'll also use for storing water. If you can't get any more new cans, you could clean out an existing garbage can and scrub it throughout with bleach, then put in a new garbage bag liner and fill it with water. Even sturdy boxes or dresser drawers could be used with bag liners. Choose well where you fill up garbage cans with water because they won't easily be moved once full and many of them together could be too heavy for some upper floor
locations. Ideally, they need to be very near where your shelter will be constructed and can actually add to its shielding properties, as you'll see below. BE ASSURED, YOU CANNOT STORE AND HAVE TOO MUCH WATER! Do not hesitate, fill up
every possible container, RIGHT NOW!
#5 - SHELTER
The principles of radiation protection are simple - with many options and resources families can use to prepare or improvise a very effective shelter. You must throw off any self-defeating myths of nuclear un-survivability that may needlessly seal the fate of less informed families.
Radioactive fallout is the particulate matter (dust) produced by a nuclear explosion and
carried high up into the air by the mushroom cloud. It drifts on the wind and most of it
settles back to earth downwind of the explosion. The heaviest, most dangerous, and most noticeable fallout, will 'fall out' first close to ground zero. It may begin arriving minutes after an explosion. While the smaller and lighter dust-like particles will typically be arriving hours later, as they drift much farther downwind, often for hundreds of miles. As it settles, whether you can see it or not, fallout will accumulate and blow around everywhere just like dust does on the ground and roofs. Wind and rain can concentrate the fallout into localized 'hot spots' of much more intense radiation with no
visible indication of its presence.
This radioactive fallout 'dust' is dangerous because it is emitting penetrating radiation
energy (similar to x-ray's). This radiation (not the fallout dust) can go right through walls,
roofs and windows. Even if you manage not to inhale or ingest the dust, and keep it off your skin, hair, and clothes, and even if none gets inside your house, the radiation penetrating your home, from fallout outside, is still extremely dangerous, and can injure or kill you inside.
Radioactive fallout from a nuclear explosion, though very dangerous initially, loses its
intensity quickly because it is giving off so much energy. For example, fallout emitting gamma ray radiation at a rate of 500 R/hr (fatal with one hour of exposure) shortly after an explosion, weakens to only 1/10th as strong 7 hours later. Two days later, it's only 1/100th as strong, or as deadly, as it was initially.
That is really very good news, because our families can readily survive it IF we get them
into a proper shelter to safely wait it out as it becomes less dangerous with every passing hour.
What stops radiation, and thus shields your family, is simply putting mass between them and the radiation source. Like police body armor stopping bullets, mass stops (absorbs) radiation. The thicker the and denser (heavier) the mass, the more radiation it stops. Thus, the more effective it is with every inch more you add to your fallout shelter. The thickness in inches needed to cut the radiation down to only 1/10th of its initial intensity for different common materials is: Steel 3.3", concrete 11", earth 16", water 24", wood 38", etc. The thickness required to stop 99% of the radiation is: 5" of steel, 16" of solid brick or hollow concrete blocks filled with mortar or sand, 2 feet of packed earth or 3 feet if loose, 3 feet of water. You may not have enough steel available, but anything you do have will have mass and can be used to add to your shielding - it just takes more thickness of lighter wood, for example, than heavier earth, to absorb and stop the same amount of radiation. Maximizing the distance between your family inside and the fallout producing radiation outside also further reduces their radiation exposure.
The goals of your family fallout shelter are:
To maximize the distance away from the fallout 'dusting' outside on the ground and roof
To place sufficient mass between your family and the fallout to absorb the deadly radiation
To make the shelter tolerable to stay in while the radiation subsides with every passing hour
While a fallout shelter can be built anywhere, you should see what your best options are at home or nearby. Some structures already provide significant shielding or partial shielding that can be enhanced for adequate protection. If you do not have a basement available, you can still use the techniques shown below in any above ground structure, but you'll need to use more mass to achieve the same level of shielding. You may consider using other solid structures nearby, especially those with below ground spaces, such as commercial buildings, schools, churches, below ground parking garages, large and long culverts, tunnels, etc.. Some of these may require permissions and/or the acquiring of additional materials to minimize any fallout drifting or blowing into them, if open ended. Buildings with a half-dozen or more floors, that did not sustain blast damage, often provide good radiation protection in the center of the middle floors. This is because of both the distance and the shielding the multiple floors provide from the fallout on the ground and roof.
Bottom Line: choose a structure nearby with both the greatest mass and distance already in place between the outside, where the fallout would settle, and the shelter occupants inside.
If you have a basement in your home, or at a nearby relatives' or friends' house that you can use, your best option is probably to fortify and
use it, unless you have ready access to a better structure nearby.
For an expedient last-minute basement shelter, push a heavy table that you can get under into the corner that has the soil highest on the outside. The ground level outside ideally needs to be higher than the top of the table shelter inside. If no heavy table is available, you can take internal doors off their hinges and lay them on supports to create your 'table'. Then pile any available mass on and around it such as books, wood, cordwood, bricks, sandbags, sacks of cement or feed, heavy appliances, full file cabinets, full water containers, your food stocks, and boxes and pillow cases full of anything heavy, like dirt. Everything you could pile up and around and atop it has mass that will help absorb
and stop more radiation from penetrating inside - the heavier the better. However, be sure to reinforce your table and supports so you do not overload it and risk collapse. BTW, lead is nothing special for stopping radiation, it's the same as anything else pound for pound, it just takes fewer inches compared to other less weighty materials.
Leave a small crawl-through entrance and more mass there that can be easily pulled in after you to seal it up. Have at least two gaps or 4-6" square air spaces, one high at one end and one low at the other. Use more if crowded and/or hotter climate. A small piece of cardboard can help fan fresh air in if the natural rising warmer air convection current needs an assist moving the air along. This incoming air won't need to be filtered if the basement has been reasonably sealed up, however any windows or other openings in the basement will require some solid mass coverage to assure glass does not break and to provide additional shielding protection for the basement. More details on this in the next (#6) section.
With more time, materials, and carpentry or masonry skills, you could even construct a more formal fallout shelter.
Adding mass on the floor above your chosen basement corner, and outside against the walls opposite your shelter, can dramatically increase your shielding protection. Every inch thicker adds up to more effective life-saving radiation shielding.
An effective fallout shelter constructed in a basement may reduce your radiation exposure
100-200 fold or even more. Thus, if the initial radiation intensity outside was 500 R/hr (fatal in one hour), the basement shelter occupants might only experience 5 R/hr or even less, which is survivable, especially as the radiation intensity will be decreasing with every passing hour.
As cramped as that crawl space fallout shelter might seem, the vital shielding provided by
simply moving some mass into place could be the difference between exposure to a lethal dose of radiation and the survival of your family.
The majority of people requiring any sheltering at all will be many miles downwind, and they will not need to stay sheltered for weeks on end. In fact, most people will only need to stay sheltered full-time for a few days before they can start coming out briefly to attend to quick essential chores. Later, they can begin spending ever more time out of the shelter daily, only coming back in to sleep. As miserable as it might seem now, you and your family can easily endure that, especially compared to the alternative.
It's really not so difficult to build a truly effective family fallout shelter... RIGHT NOW!
#6 - ESSENTIAL DETAILS
If you've accomplished the above; securing your supplies, stored water, and built your family fallout shelter, CONGRATULATIONS! You have now succeeded in improving the odds of survival for your family 100-fold, or more! Now, you need to expand your knowledge and fine-tune the tactics that will make the most of your family survival strategy.
Government information and guidance is a vital resource in your response to a nuclear crisis, but for many reasons it may be late, incomplete, misleading or simply in error. While evacuation might be prudent for individuals who act quickly in response to a threat, governments will be slow to call for mass evacuations because of their potential for panic and gridlock. As the recent government calls for duct tape and plastic sheeting led to sold-out stores, anxiety, and derision from the press, there will be great
reluctance to issue similar alarms. If you want to assure that you have successfully evacuated or sheltered with adequate food and supplies for your family you must act BEFORE the panic without first waiting for government instructions that
may never come or as urgently as warranted. You alone are ultimately responsible for your family.
Filtering the air coming into your basement inner shelter from the basement itself won't be required. Air does not become radioactive, and if your basement is reasonably snug, there won't be any wind blowing through it to carry the radioactive fallout dust inside. Simply sealing any basement windows and other openings prevents significant fallout from getting inside. To improve both the radiation shielding inside the basement, and to protect the windows from being broken and letting fallout blow in later, you should cover them all with wood, and then, if possible, with sandbags or solid masonry blocks or earth, etc. on the outside or inside, too. If the basement air gets seriously stale later on, you could re-open a door into the upper floors of the still closed house. You can also use a common furnace air filter over an outside air opening, such as a window, leading into your basement because radioactive fallout is dust sized that can be filtered out with one.
Regarding fallout contamination, any food or water stored in sealed containers, that can later have any fallout dust brushed or rinsed off the outside of the container, will then be safe to use. As long as the fallout dust does not get inside the container, then whatever radiation penetrated the food/water container from the outside does not harm the contents. If you suspect that your clothes have fallout on them, remove your outer clothing before you come inside and leave them outside. A cheap plastic hooded rain poncho that can be easily rinsed off or left outside is very worthwhile. Have water and baby shampoo near the entrance (hose and containers) to wash and thoroughly rinse any exposed skin and hair. Exposure to fallout radiation does not make you radioactive, but you need to assure that you don't bring any inside. If any are stricken with radiation sickness, typically nausea, it is when mild (<100 Rads) 100% recoverable and cannot be passed on to others. Before fallout arrives, you might also try to cover up items you want to protect outside for easier rinsing off of the fallout dust later when it's safe to come out and do so. For instance, if you have a vegetable gardening spot, you might try covering much of it with plastic or tarp and weighting them down.
If without sufficient time to acquire radiological instruments of your own, like Geiger counters and dosimeters, you'll need to be extra sure that your portable radios function properly from inside your shelter and that you have plenty of fresh batteries stocked for them. Without radiological instruments, listening for official guidance about the radiation threat levels in your particular area will be the only way you'll know when it's becoming safe to venture out. It might also be the only way you'll know when you first need to take your initial maximum protective action. When not in use, they should not be attached to any outside antenna or even have their own antenna extended. And, they should be wrapped in any non-conducting insulation, like layers of paper, cloth or bubble wrap plastic and then stored in a metal container or wrapped in aluminum foil to minimize the potential of EMP ruining the electronics. Having back-up radios would be very prudent. With extra radios, you can have one always tuned to the closest likely target city and, if it suddenly goes off the air, that could be your first indication of an attack.
If close to a target, your first indication of a nuclear detonation may be with its characteristic bright flash. The first effects you may have to deal with before radioactive fallout arrives, depending on your proximity to it, are blast and thermal energy. Promptly employing the old "Duck & Cover" strategy will save many from avoidable flying debris injuries and minimize thermal burns. Those very close will experience brief tornado strength winds and should quickly dive behind any solid object or into any available
depression, culvert, etc. Even in the open, just laying flat on the ground reduces by 8 times the chances of being hit by shrapnel or becoming airborne shrapnel. A very large 500 kiloton blast, 2.2 miles away, will arrive about 8 seconds after the detonation flash with a very strong three second wind blast. That time delay is much greater further away. That is a lot of time to duck & cover if trained and alert and you should stay down for up to 2 minutes. Most will not be near any target 'ground zero' and will only, like the vast majority, have to deal with the fallout later.
When fallout is first anticipated, but has not yet arrived, anyone not already sheltered should begin using a N95 dust protector filter mask and hooded rain ponchos. Everyone should also begin taking Potassium Iodide (KI) or Potassium Iodate
(KIO3) tablets for thyroid protection against cancer causing radioactive iodine, a major
product of nuclear weapons explosions. The further downwind, as all the 200 or so
radioactive isotopes released become ever more dissipated over distance, radioactive iodine becomes the greater relative threat because it re-concentrates itself in the tiny thyroid gland where other isotopes disperse more evenly in one's body withcomparatively less harmful effects. If no KI or KIO3 tablets available, you can topically (on the skin) apply an iodine solution, like tincture of iodine or Betadine, for a similar protectiveeffect. (WARNING: Iodine solutions are NEVER to be ingested or swallowed.) For adults, paint 8 ml of a 2 percent tincture of Iodine on the abdomen or forearm each day, beginning ideally at least 2 hours prior to initial exposure. For children 3 to 18, but under 150 pounds, only half that amount painted on daily, or 4 ml. For children under 3 but older
than a month, half again, or 2 ml. For newborns to 1 month old, half it again, or just 1 ml. (One measuring teaspoon is about 5 ml, if you don't have a medicine dropper graduated in ml.) If your iodine is stronger than 2%, reduce the dosage accordingly. Absorption through the skin is not as reliable a dosing method as using the tablets, but research shows that it will still be very effective for most. Do not use if allergic to iodine. If at all possible, inquire of your doctor NOW if there is any reason why anybody in your household should not use KI or KIO3 tablets, or iodine solutions on their skin, in a future nuclear emergency, just to be sure. More detailed information about protecting your family against radioactive iodine can be found here... www.ki4u.com .
When you know that the time to take protective action is approaching, turn off all the utilities into the house, check that everything is sealed up and locked down, and head for the shelter. You should also check that you have near your shelter additional tools, crow bars, and car jacks for digging out later, if required, and fire extinguishers handy, too. Also, any building supplies, tools, sheet plastic, staple guns, etc. for sealing any holes from damage. Your basement should already be very well sealed against fallout drifting inside. Now, you'll need to seal around the last door you use to enter with duct
tape all around the edges, especially if it's a direct to the outside door.
You don't need to risk fire, burns, and asphyxiation trying to cook anything in the
cramped shelter space, if you have pre-positioned in your shelter enough canned goods, can opener, and other non-perishable foods, that are ready-to-eat without preparation. More food, along with water, can be located right outside your crawl space entrance that you can pull in quickly as needed when safe to do so.
For lighting needs within the shelter have a couple small LED flashlights or LED head-lamps to stretch your battery life. Try not to have to use candles if at all possible. Bring in some books for yourself and games for the children. Pack in a small/thin mattress, some cushions, blankets, pillows, etc.
Toilet use will be via the 5 gallon bucket with a seat borrowed from one of the house bathrooms, if you did not purchase a separate one. Garbage bag liners, preferably sized for it, should always be used and a full-size and bag lined garbage can should be positioned very close to the shelter entrance for depositing these in when it is safe
to do so quickly. Hanging a sheet or blanket will help provide a little privacy as shelter
occupants 'take their turn'. The toilet needs to have its new 'deposits' sealed up tight with the plastic liner after each use. Use a very secure top on the bucket and position it near the wall with the outgoing upper air vent. The baby wipes will be useful here with no sink for cleaning hands afterwards.
Pets, and what to do about them, is a tough call. Letting dogs run free is not a humane option, both for their potential to die a miserable death from radiation exposure outside and/or to be a danger to others, especially if they get diseased and/or run in the inevitable packs of multitudes of other abandoned pets. Caring for them is ideal, if truly realistic and not a drain on limited resources, while 'putting them down' might eventually become a painful, but necessary reality if the disruption of services and food supplies was very long term and you had not secured sufficient feed for them.
Boiling or bleach water treatments will be used for cleaning your stored water later for
drinking. (This is for killing bacteria, not for radiation contamination, which is never a concern for any stored and covered water containers or even sealed food.) Tap water recently put into clean containers won't likely need to be purified before using. To purify questionable water, bring it to a roiling boil and keep it there for 10 minutes at least. If you don't have the fuel to boil it, you can kill the bacteria by mixing in a good quality household bleach at the rate of 10 drops per gallon, and letting it sit for at least 1/2 an hour. The bleach should be at least 5.25% pure, like Clorox, but be sure it has no additives such as soap or fragrance. You can later get rid of the flat taste from boiling, or some of the chlorine taste when using bleach, by pouring it from one container to another several times.
There's much more that can be learned to better understand what you are up against and to acquire to help your family survive and to better endure all of this. While time allows, and if the Internet is still up & running, task someone with getting and printing out additional information, like the book Nuclear War Survival Skills.
#7 - LIST OF SUPPLIES TO ACQUIRE LOCALLY
If stores are still at all stocked, and safe to go to, try to buy as many of the following items as possible... IMMEDIATELY! There are no quantities listed here on the food items below as family size varies and because, as the emergency and panic widens, many items will become quickly sold-out or quantities restricted and you'll need to try to get more of what does remain on the shelves. At a minimum you should be looking at two weeks of provisions, but much better to be aiming for two months or more. The reality is, if/when we are attacked, it will be a very long time before anything is ever 'normal' again,
especially at any grocery stores. Hurricane victims can attest to the prolonged misery and disruptions from even a localized disaster, and that's with the rest of the country still able to help out. Nobody can begin to imagine how bad the suffering and disruptions will be, and for how long it could go on, if nuclear weapons have gone off... especially if in multiple locations!
The half-dozen top listed items below are primarily for use while in the shelter. They are
mostly ready-to-eat that requires no cooking or preparation, just a can opener at the most. (The iodine solution is included here because of its importance for its thyroid-blocking topical use detailed above, but it's NEVER to be ingested or swallowed.) The other foods listed below there are better cost/nutrition staples for later use during the extended recovery period. Then follows general non-food supplies, tools and equipment.
Go Acquire It All Now QUICKLY!
It's much better to risk being a little early when securing your families essential food and
supplies, rather than a few hours too late...
Canned goods (pasta, soups, chili, vegetables, fruit, tuna, meats, beans, peanut butter, etc.)Ready-to-eat foods (pop-tarts, raisins, cheese, granola/energy/protein bars, snack-paks, etc.)Some perishable foods (breads and fruits like bananas, apples, oranges, grapes, etc.) Assorted drink mix flavorings (with no cold drinks, just plain water, kids will appreciate it!) Plenty of potent Multi-Vitamins, Vit C, etc.Iodine solution, like Betadine (16 ounces)- NOT TO BE INGESTED OR SWALLOWED!
Multiple big boxes of dried milk (Could include/use some inside shelter, too.)
Multiple big boxes of pancake and biscuit mix & syrup
Largest bags of rice
Largest bags of beans
Largest bags of flour
Largest bags of potatoes
Largest bags quick oats and other grains
Largest bags of macaroni
Large bag of sugar
Large jar of honey
Large 2 gallons or more of cooking oil
Baking powder & baking soda & spice assortment pack
Bottled water (especially if home supplies not secured yet)
Paper or plastic plates/bowls/cups/utensils
Quality manual can opener, 2 if you don't already have one at home
Kitchen matches and disposable lighters
New garbage cans and lots of liner bags (water storage & waste storage)
5 gallon bucket and smaller garbage bags sized for it (toilet)
Toilet seat for the bucket (or use one from inside the house)
Toilet paper and, if needed, sanitary napkins, diapers, etc.
Baby wipes (saves water for personal hygiene use)
Flashlights (ideally LED) and more than one portable radio
Plenty more batteries, at least three sets, for each of the above
Bleach (5.25%, without fragrance or soap additives)
Aspirin/Tylenol/Motrin, Pepto Bismol, Alcohol, Hydrogen Peroxide, etc.
Prescription drugs filled, and as much extra as possible
First aid kits
Plenty of inexpensive N95 dust filter mask respirators
Cheap plastic hooded rain ponchos for everyone
Water filters and all other camping type supplies, such as Coleman cook
stove and fuel, ammo, etc., if any sporting goods stores still stocked.
And, of course, rolls of plastic sheeting, duct
tape, staple guns, staples, etc.
The above guide was written assuming it would not be read by the majority of its intended audience until a nuclear crisis was already fully upon us and time and resources then extremely limited. If you are fortunate enough to have been reading this well before any nuclear threat occurs, or appears to be imminent, there's a great deal more that can and should be done beyond the scope of this last-minute expedient guide that expects, at
best, only some few locally available resources remaining in that time of panic.
The ongoing bigger challenge, though, will be that after having survived the nuclear event, and emerging safely after the fallout threat has diminished, the disruption of services in your region could be very extensive and long lasting. There are no assurances that you won't see many months of little or no food deliveries, water or sewer, gasoline, electricity, lights, heat, phones, medical, banks, law enforcement or fire protection, etc.
With more time to research, plan and be shipped supplies, families would be well served to acquire more in-depth training, reference books, long-term food, water, fuel, medical, security, communication, radiation monitoring instruments, equipment, tools, supplies, etc. There are many informative web sites and suppliers for all of the above where you'll find MRE's, dehydrated and freeze dried foods and buckets of beans, rice, grains, etc. Also, solar cookers, water purifiers, water barrels, compost toilets, comprehensive medical kits and manuals, shortwave and local 2-way radios, alternative energy
systems, long term packaged seeds, gardening tools and canning equipment, etc.
One strategy to preparing, that makes this dire prospect a little less overwhelming, is to break it down by two's. First, acquire all that your family would ever need for two weeks if totally cut off and stuck at home with no services. Think extended camping and all that you would need to do so for two weeks in any season, winter or summer. Then, once that's accomplished, begin to expand upon that base to where you could stay home for two months with no utilities or services. Then, start adding additional months with the eventual goal of two years. Hopefully, two years is excessive, but you'll no doubt discover that with any disruptive event there will always be numerous friends, neighbors and relatives in need that you would want to help, if you could. Ideally, you want them all to be preparing their own families as you are doing, and sharing with them this information hopefully may help get them started. You also, for your own families security, want to try and be surrounded by like-minded people doing the right things
preparation-wise, as they would then become helpful allies, instead of becoming a drain on your limited resources or possibly even a threat later if things dragged on and became ever more desperate.
One thing to keep in mind for yourself, or even in convincing a spouse, for investing in prep supplies, is that many of them save you money buying in bulk and that if nothing bad ever happens, for most of them, you can always eventually just eat or use them. They will also serve you as insurance for numerous other disasters besides just nuclear 'events'. Having 2-4 months of food already at home, for example, would certainly relieve a lot of the stress of a job loss while looking for another. Or, we could see a pandemic unleashed someday that required families having to self-quarantine themselves at home for weeks on end to avoid public contact so as not catch whatever was going around. Or, any of a number of, or cascading combinations of, natural disasters, economic dislocations and
civil disruptions could all be ridden out in much better shape if you were sufficiently prepared. Being prepared and stocked up makes a lot of sense on numerous different levels, especially in an age where costs for essentials, like food and fuel and ammo, will surely continue to increase and you just saved money buying more of them now.
It's important to also realize that when tough times come you'll likely discover that people
overall today are not as resilient as in times past. Our grandparents generation was composed of a higher percentage of self-reliant rural folks who made do on less and also many grew and raised their own food. Today, we have a much higher percentage of people who are well removed from the land and feeding themselves, many even have a
government dependent entitlement mentality. The morality that both sustained, and restrained, previous generations during tough times is not as widely evident in this present population and will result in more then quickly embracing theft, robbery, looting and rioting when they fear hunger and deprivation. Crime is already a problem today with nobody being hungry and law enforcement in-place and could explode when both
of those situations deteriorate concurrently. It would therefore be prudent for any seriously preparing to also include plans for maintaining their own security if law enforcement is either not available or can not keep pace with a greatly
increasing crime rate. If you do not own or use guns, then I would strongly urge you to re-evaluate your vulnerability and, if found lacking, to acquire some immediately, along with the safety and practical tactical training in the use of them. Any gun store can provide or point you to such training locally. For any that do have some weapons, be sure they are effective models and calibers for self-defense and that you have stocked plenty of ammunition and high-capacity magazines, too, if needed. Weapons and ammo will quickly disappear, and/or be prohibitively expensive or restricted, once the
essential need is more widely recognized.
Once you are well on your way to acquiring your families prep tools, equipment and supplies, you may even explore getting some extra to help others and as future barter goods, like extra garden seeds, batteries, antibiotics, water filters and ammo, to later trade for other products or services locally. Some are even converting a small % of their traditional paper investments into some gold and/or silver bullion coins for trading purposes, too, as well as just for prudent wealth diversification today. Having
some wealth in other forms, like goods/gold/silver, rather than just solely in
paper dollars, plastic, or a monthly 401k statement, may be the essential difference for
somebody someday getting their deathly ill child to the front of a mile long line for the only overworked doctor or dentist in town.
To better avoid unhealthy and overwhelming angst trying to prepare for all future dislocations and disruptions, keep in mind, too, that each step is like insurance, same as acquiring medical insurance. We all hope/pray none of it will ever be needed, we've got kids, too, but if it is ever required our families won't find us lacking then in our fundamental primary responsibility to provide for their safety and welfare. Once
started prepping, strive then to stay balanced by counting your blessings that you have begun, thanking God, and begin, too, to relax and more fully enjoy life and your family with the knowledge that you're now solidly on the road to better handle most anything to come in this quickly changing world.
Shane Connor is the CEO of www.ki4u.com and
www.nukalert.com consultants and developers of
survival solutions to government, military,
private organizations and individual families worldwide.