by Janet Liebsch, It’s a Disaster
I’m not trying to be an alarmist but as most of you know, terrorists are still planning attacks. Preparing for and responding to a CBRNE (Chemical, Biological, Radiological, Nuclear or Explosive device) event is difficult since it depends on the type and size of weapon or device used, weather conditions, and the target (high-rise, mall, school, sporting event, city, etc) among other things. However, there are a few key things you can do that could potentially save your life.
- Watch & listen … Sounds simple, and it is. Start making a habit of being aware of your surroundings. You don’t have to be paranoid or obvious ~ just make a mental note of the EXITS when you go to places. Also watch for suspicious activities (like someone wearing a heavy coat on a hot day or unattended bags or
backpacks in odd places) … and report anything that seems out of the ordinary. If you see or hear a lot of people or critters choking, coughing or twitching – leave the area then listen for instructions about evacuations, decontamination, sheltering tips (esp since it depends on the agent used), etc. And stay current on news, alerts and threats – but don’t obsess over them.
- Learn where to go … Find out in advance where you could shelter-in-place at the common places you go (e.g. home, office, school, mall, etc). Most city and county web sites list emergency shelters online or it’s available upon request, then use Mapquest or Google maps to locate ones closest to you. Also ask your employer, school and other facility officials what their evacuation and sheltering plans are. Then choose a room in your home or building where you could hunker down with supplies and a radio for several hours or days if needed.
- Get KI, KFM kits and dosimeters!!!!! These are VERY worthy investments in the event of a nuclear incident. KI (potassium iodide) basically fills up the thyroid with good iodine so your body doesn’t absorb the radioactive iodine. Children (including unborn babies) are most susceptible since their thyroids are so active. KFM (Kearny Fallout Meter) kits measure radiation more accurately than most instruments since it’s charged electrostatically. Free plans are available online or can be purchased as a kit ($45-$75). Dosimeters are pen-like devices you can wear that measure the total dose or accumulated exposure to radiation as you move around ($45-$65 – needs a charger too). You cannot see, feel, taste or smell radiation so detection devices are extremely important!
- Expedient shelter … Nuclear fallout is deadly and you may only have a few moments to protect yourself since it starts falling minutes after a blast so learn how to make an “expedient shelter”. Taking shelter underground with shielding is best since it reduces exposure by 90%, but if you don’t have that option …
- Find a spot away from windows in the center of home or building. Note: if the rooftop of a building next to you is on that same floor, move one floor up or down since radioactive fallout would accumulate on rooftops. Avoid the first floor (if possible) since fallout will pile up on the ground outside.
- Set up a large, sturdy workbench or table in location you’ve chosen. If no table, make one by putting doors on top of boxes, appliances or furniture.
- Put as much shielding (e.g. furniture, file cabinets, appliances, boxes or pillowcases filled with dirt or sand, boxes of food, water or books, concrete blocks, bricks, etc.) all around sides and on top of table, but don’t put too much weight on tabletop or it could collapse. Add reinforcing supports, if needed.
- Leave a crawl space so everyone can get inside and block opening with shielding materials.
- Leave 2 small air spaces for ventilation (about 4-6″ each) – one low at one end and one high at other end. (This allows for better airflow since warm air rises.)
- Have water, detection devices, radio, food and sanitation supplies in case you have to shelter for days or weeks.
After 7 hours radiation levels drop tenfold, and if you stay put at least 2 days you’ve greatly improved your chances for survival … and after 2 weeks radiation levels will be very low. Time, distance and shielding are critical components of surviving any type of nuclear attack or accident. (Note: Radiological incidents using an RDD or dirty bomb would not be as devastating or deadly since they use low-level radiation. The blast would probably cause more injuries and panic then the radiation.)
- If you’re trapped … If you get trapped or buried in rubble from an explosive device (or natural disaster for that matter), try not to panic and cover your mouth with a piece of clothing to help filter the dust. Do NOT use a lighter since there could be gas leaks! Tap on a pipe or wall so rescuers can hear you. (Yelling may cause you to inhale a lot of dust.)
- Avoid crowds … During or after an incident stay away from large gatherings or crowds since they may be targets for subsequent attacks.
Again, this just barely scratches the surface on this topic, but doing some of these things could potentially help with your survival. We all should learn what to do during many types of disasters and emergencies and share the data with family members (esp kids). Knowledge is power — you may never need any of these steps or items listed here … but it never hurts to prepare for the unexpected. Download some free topics at www.itsadisaster.net/look_inside_book and check out our Links (especially the Business Links) to find more free resources. Stay safe out there.
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