Can You Survive A Nuclear Attack?

Can You Survive A Nuclear Attack?

With so much hostility in the world and threats from Kim Jong Un in North Korea, a nuclear attack could become a reality some day. If it were to happen, would you be one of the survivors?

Most people believe that no one would be alive after a nuclear attack, so there are no plans in place for survival, but this is not necessarily truth.

Surviving A Nuclear Blast

If a nuclear blast occurs, here are some ways to survive …

  • There about 10 to 20 minutes before radiation begins showering down from a nuclear mushroom cloud. Your goal is to get a mile away from the base, moving with the crosswind only. Roads might be jammed, and your best bet might be a motorcycle, bicycle, scooters, or even running on foot.
  • If you are close to the blast as it occurs, open your mouth so your eardrums won’t burst, and do not stare that the flash of light.
  • If you can’t get away, go down. Going into a cement basement is still putting distance between you and the blast. Hunker down for at least 48 to 72 hours, or until you hear it is safe to come out and get away.
  • If you can’t get away or get into a basement, take cover under anything you can and keep your mouth, nose, and skin covered.
  • When you do manage to get away, get decontaminated as soon as you can. Remove all your clothes and shower.


Those in big cities or large coastal areas are in places where there is a high risk of being at ground zero of a nuclear attack. If you life in these areas, it is best to check with the city to find out where fallout shelters might be located.

For those living in other areas, building a safe room in your home is a good idea. While you will not be affected by the fire and heat, you can still be impacted by radiation, depending on which way the wind is blowing and how strong the wind is.

Fallout Explained

The first few hours after a nuclear attack are the most deadly. As debris from the shattered earth is sucked into the mushroom cloud they become infiltrated by radioactive gas particles. As they fall to earth they quickly begin emitting invisible gamma rays. The rest of the radioactive particles fall to earth like a sand or salt shower, and only specific instruments can detect and measure the intensity of the rays.

Winds carry the particles far and wide. The extent of the perimeter that gets covered in these blown particles depends on the which way the wind blows, how strongly it blows, and for how long it blows. This is the fallout area. The closer to the explosion, the more fallout an area gets within a time frame of up to 30 minutes, while areas that are 100 to 200 miles away could be safe for 5 to 10 hours,

Short Term Effects From Exposure To Radiation

The cells in the human body go through chemical changes after being exposed to radiation. Large doses will kill you, while small doses can be tolerated, like an x-ray at a hospital. Those who are very young or very old may suffer more from less exposure. Radiation is measured in Roentgens (R). The higher the number the more radiation you’ve received. Anything over 200R would require medical care, with 50% dying in 2 to 4 weeks. Anyone who has received a 600R, will be dead in 2 weeks.

Clothing, drugs, or chemicals cannot protect you against radiation damage to your cells, but some medications and antibiotics can treat infections associated with lower to medium grade radiation sickness. A person who is affected by radiation cannot ‘infect’ another person.

Potassium Iodide

Potassium Iodide is one drug that has been found to be effective for protecting the thyroid against radioactive Iodine 131 particles, by drowning the thyroid gland with stabilized iodine. The body then excretes the particles through urine and feces. These tablets are said to prevent 99% of cell damage from nuclear fallout.

However, and this is a big however, Potassium Iodide does not protect cells from radiation sickness, it only protects the thyroid from cancer as a result of radiation exposure.

Fallout Shelters

If you can get to a fallout shelter, you will have to stay there for at least 3 days, so it is best to be prepared and have a fallout bag packed and ready to go.

Fallout shelters come in all shapes and sizes, and do not have to be underground. Whether they are made of brick, concrete, or wood, as long as the walls and roof are thick enough, and the doors are properly sealed, gamma rays will be absorbed and kept away from you. You can build your own fallout shelter in your basement or in a backyard trench.

Food And Water

Most food would be okay to eat, as long as fallout dust is wiped from packages or cans before opening. Water in covered bottles are also safe, as is water taken from covered wells. Filling a bathtub with water is another option in the first 10 minutes of a nuclear attack, as long as windows and doors are closed.

Fallout particles will sink to the bottom of open lakes, streams, and reservoirs used for drinking water, and any lighter particles would not make it through the filtration system.

Cow’s milk should also be safe to drink for healthy adults, even from cows who have grazed on contaminated grass, but should not be given to infants and small children. It may be damaging to their thyroid glands. Canned or powdered milk would be a better choice.


It is possible to survive a nuclear attack if you are quick to act and can get away or into a shelter. Pack a fallout bag for such an attack and you should be okay.


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