A nuclear attack on American soil would be devastating.
Tens of millions of people would die instantly, and many more would suffer from ancillary effects.
But here are the steps you can take to give yourself the best chance of surviving a nuclear attack.
Images of mushroom clouds and incinerated bodies represented as shadows are certainly chilling, and speak to the damage a nuclear weapon can do.
However, a nuclear attack is survivable.
The first thing to consider is the blast radius.
The farther you are from ground zero—the center of the blast—the less intense the blast will be.
That’s obviously common sense, but the impact dissipates more than people may think.
Explosions generally follow the inverse-square law of physics, meaning the intensity of the blast drops by the square of the distance.
So if you’re three miles away, you would be impacted at one-ninth the devastation of ground zero.
Four miles would be one-sixteenth, five miles would be one-twenty-fifth, and so on.
This may vary slightly based on other factors, but the principle holds.
Simply being away from ground zero gives you a significantly better chance of survival.
According to experts, the top targets for a devastating attack are military bases and major metropolises.
That should be taken into consideration for your bug-out location.
Next, nuclear bombs give off an intense amount of energy that can start a chain reaction of fires, even from miles away.
Even if you’re out of the blast radius, the thermal energy pulse could set your house on fire, so clear flammable material such as brush and dead vegetation from the exterior of your home.
Also, painting your house with white emulsion paint—including the windows—will greatly help with reflecting the pulse energy that could set the interior of your house on fire.
While painting your windows white might be too aesthetically unpleasant and alarming for your neighbors, it could be considered for your bug-out location away from the city.
Another possibility is using heavy curtains instead of dainty cloth curtains.
Heavy curtains can at the very least help with broken glass.
The next thing to consider is building a fallout room or a bunker.
Nuclear fallout is obviously very dangerous, but not quite as dangerous as the movies will have you believe.
According to FEMA, the 7:10 rule of thumb determines the lethality of nuclear fallout.
“The 7:10 Rule of Thumb states that for every 7-fold increase in time after detonation, there is a 10-fold decrease in the exposure rate. In other words, when the amount of time is multiplied by 7, the exposure rate is divided by 10. For example, let’s say that 2 hours after detonation the exposure rate is 400 R/hr (roentgens per hour). After 14 hours, the exposure rate will be 1/10 as much, or 40 R/hr.”
To put that in context, the highest levels of exposure during the Chernobyl meltdown were 600 R/hr.
After a few weeks, radiation levels would drop to negligible levels, and it would be safe to spend several hours at a time outdoors without increasing the risk of radiation sickness.
A bunker or fallout room with no outside windows and thick walls will keep you safe.
You’ll want to limit your exposure to the outside as much as possible, so having plenty of supplies is a necessity.
Hazmat suits and oxygen masks would be incredibly helpful, but at a minimum, you’ll need food, water, sanitation, and some form of entertainment to keep you and your family from going crazy.
If you take these steps, you’ll give yourself a good chance of surviving the devastation of a nuclear attack.