#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 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 shelter 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 with sandbags or solid masonry blocks or earth, etc. on the outside and inside too, if possible. If the basement air gets seriously stale later on, you could re-open a door into the upper floors of the still closed house, or secure a common furnace air filter over an outside air opening leading into your basement.
• 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 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 blinding 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 tornado strength winds and should quickly dive behind any solid object or into any available depression, culvert, etc. 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 delay is much greater further away. That is a lot of time to take cover IF alert and you should stay down for up to 2 minutes. If not near any target ‘ground zero’ you 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 dust protector filter mask and hooded rain ponchos. Everyone should 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. If no tablets available, you can topically (on the skin) apply an iodine solution, like tincture of iodine or Betadine, for a similar protective effect. (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, ideally at least 2 hours prior to possible 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%, dilute the dosage accordingly. Absorption through the skin is not as reliable a dosing method as using the tablets, but tests show 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.
• 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 many 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. As space allows a small/thin mattress, some cushions, blankets, pillows, etc. might also be brought in.
• 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.
• 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.
• 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.
• BOTTOM LINE:
When the TV or radio program switches abruptly to an terse announcement saying: “We Interrupt This Program For This Special Bulletin!”, and your kids look up to you with questioning wide-eyes and eager for assurances, know then that you are confidently ready for them with your own Plan of Action ready to go! That’s what this is all about…