Nuclear explosion may cause a considerable damage and loss as a result of the explosion, heat and radiation. However, you’re able to ensure your family safety by being aware of what to do and being prepared if that happens.
Nuclear weapon uses a nuclear reaction to explode. A charge might be placed in either a small human-bearing bomb or a large missile. A nuclear explosion might occur with or without a few minutes’ warning. Radioactive fallout is dangerous mostly during the first few hours after detonation, when it emits the highest levels of heat radiation. It takes a long time to return to the ground level, often more than 15 minutes for areas outside the immediate zones after the explosion. This is sufficient time for you to prevent significant radiation exposure by taking the following steps:
• Head to the nearest building to avoid radiation, preferably brick or concrete
• Take off contaminated clothing and wipe or wash unprotected skin if you’ve been outside after the rainfall has arrived
• Stay in a basement or in the middle of the building. Stay away from external walls, windows and roof
• Stay inside for at least 24 hours unless you have been provided with other instructions from the local authorities
• Recommend your family members to stay in one location as moving may lead to a dangerous radiation exposure
• Keep your animals inside
• Follow any available media to obtain information about, e.g. the time when it’s safe enough to leave the buildings or a safe place to head to
• Battery-powered and manual-powered radios will operate even after a nuclear detonation
Mobile phone, text message, TV and Internet services may be disrupted or unavailable.
• Find a shelter’s location. Look for the closest destination to your home, work and school. The best points are located both underground and in the middle of large buildings. Outdoor areas, vehicles and caravans don’t provide an adequate shelter
• Localize suitable shelters to be reached in case of detonation while driving to work
• Make sure you have an evacuation backpack while leaving home, as you may be forced to stay outside for 24 hours
• If you have been warned of an imminent attack, enter the nearest building immediately and move away from the windows. That may provide protection from explosion, heat and radiation
• If you’re outside when a detonation occurs, protect yourself from the explosion, making use of anything that can provide protection. Lie face down to prevent the skin’s damage from heat and debris. If you’re in the vehicle, stop and lean forward
• After the shockwave, enter the nearest building to protect yourself from potential fallout. You’ll have 10 minutes or more to find suitable shelter
• Stay inside until the rainfall comes. The highest levels of external radiation from the precipitation occur as soon as the rainfall arrives and decrease with the time
• Check the current instructions from the emergency services. If evacuation has been recommended, look for information on routes, shelters and procedures
• If you have already evacuated, don’t return home until the local authorities find it safe
• Remove the outer layer of contaminated clothing to eliminate precipitation and radiation from the body
• Take a shower or wash yourself with soap and water to remove the dirt from the skin that hadn’t been covered. If it’s impossible, use a tissue or a clean, wet cloth to wipe the skin
• Purify all animals that were outside when the rainfall had occurred. Brush their fur gently, to remove any falling particles, and wash them with soap and water, if available
• It’s safe to eat and drink packaged food or products that had stayed in the building. Don’t consume food or liquids that had been exposed and may be contaminated with dust
• If you’re sick or injured, follow directions on how and where to get the medical assistance when authorities announce that it’s safe to leave
Nuclear explosions - related hazards
A fireball – a temporary blindness for less than a minute.
The shock wave – cause of death, injury, and structural damage, even a few miles away from the explosion.
Penetrating radiation – permanent damage of body cells. Heavy exposure may cause a radiation sickness.
Fire and very high temperature – cause of death, burns and damage to structures, even many kilometres away.
Radiation-creating terrain contamination – contamination of water, air and soil. A radioactive cloud might be several hundred kilometres long and several dozen kilometres wide.
The electromagnetic pulse – overvoltage in power and IT transmission cables and lines. Overvoltage’s effect is permanent or periodical damage to electrical and electronic equipment.