Nuclear & Radiological Warfare, Part 2 of 2

(Survival Manual/1. Disaster/Nuclear & Radiological Warfare)

This article is continued from: Nuclear & Radiological Warfare, Part 1 of 2, posted Monday, 3 November

7.  List of supplies to acquire locally
If stores are still stocked and safe to go to, try to buy as many of the following items as possible… IMMEDIATELY! There are no quantities listed here on the Warning Signsfood items below as family size because, as the emergency and panic widens, many items will be quickly sold-out or quantities restricted, and you’ll need to try to get more of what does remain on the shelves. At a minimum, you should be looking at two weeks of provisions, but much better to be aiming for two months or more. The reality is, if/when we are attacked, it will be a very long time before anything is ever ‘normal’ again, especially at any grocery stores. Hurricane victims can attest to the prolonged misery and disruptions from such a localized disaster, even with the rest of the country still able to help out. Nobody can begin to imagine how bad the suffering will be, and for how long, if nuclear weapons have gone off… and in multiple locations!

The half-dozen top listed and UNDERLINED food items listed below are primarily for use while in the shelter. They are mostly ready-to-eat that requires no cooking or preparation, just a can opener at the most. (The iodine solution is included here because of its importance for its thyroid-blocking topical use detailed above, IF you do not have KI pills, but it’s NEVER to be ingested or swallowed.) The other foods listed below there are better cost/nutrition staples for later use during the extended recovery period. Then follows general non-food supplies, tools and equipment.

Go Acquire It All Now, QUICKLY!
Better to risk being a little early when securing your families essential food and supplies, rather than a few hours too late and going home empty-handed:
›  Canned goods (pasta, soups, chili, vegetables, fruit, tuna, meats, beans, peanut butter, etc.)
›  Ready-to-eat foods (pop-tarts, raisins, cheese, granola/energy/protein bars, snack-paks, etc.)
›  Some perishable foods (breads and fruits like bananas, apples, oranges, grapes, etc.)
›  Assorted drink mix flavorings (with no cold drinks, just plain water, kids will appreciate it!)
›  Plenty of potent Multi-Vitamins, Vit C, Pepto Bismol, other meds, etc.
›  Iodine solution, like Betadine (16 ounces)- NOT TO BE INGESTED OR SWALLOWED!
›  Largest bags of rice, beans, flour, potatoes, pasta, quick oats and other grains
›  Multiple big boxes of dried milk (Could include/use some inside shelter, too.)
›  Multiple big boxes of pancake and biscuit mix & syrup
›  Large bag of sugar and jar of honey
›  Large 2 gallons or more of cooking oil
›  Baking powder & soda & yeast & spice assortment pack
›  Bottled water (especially if home supplies not secured yet)
›  Paper or plastic plates/bowls/cups/utensils and paper towels
›  Quality manual can opener, 2 if you don’t already have one at home
›  Kitchen matches and disposable lighters
›  New metal garbage cans and liner bags (water storage & waste storage)
›  5 gallon bucket and smaller garbage bags sized for it (toilet)guide shelves
›  Toilet seat for the bucket (or use one from inside the house)
›  Toilet paper and, if needed, sanitary napkins, diapers, etc.
›  Baby wipes (saves water for personal hygiene use)
›  Flashlights (ideally LED) and more than one portable radio
›  Plenty more batteries, at least three sets, for each of the above
›  Bleach (5.25%, without fragrance or soap additives)
›  Alcohol and Hydrogen Peroxide and hand sanitizers
›  Aspirin/Tylenol/Motrin, Pepto Bismol, etc.
›  Prescription drugs filled, and as much extra as possible
›  First aid kits
›  Fire extinguishers
›  Plenty of inexpensive N95 particulate respirator masks
›  Plenty of cheap plastic hooded rain ponchos for everyone
›  Water filters and all other camping type supplies, such as portable camp toilet, cook stove and fuel, ammo, etc., if any sporting goods stocks still available.
›  And, of course, rolls of plastic sheeting, duct tape, staple guns, staples, etc.

Fallout topography and density for the USA following a extensive nuclear attack
  Pasted from <>


C.  What’s the Difference Between Alpha, Beta and Gamma Radiation?
Updated 15 Feb 2012, Nuclear Fallout Shelter Plans & Nuclear Civil Defense-Part2
Pasted from <>
Answer:  Everything in nature would prefer to be in a relaxed, or stable state. Unstable atoms undergo nuclear processes that cause them to become more stable. One such process involves emitting excess energy from the nucleus. This process is called radioactivity or radioactive decay. “Radiation” and “radioactivity” are often confused, the proper relationship is that “radioactive atoms emit radiation.”

The three main types of nuclear radiation emitted from radioactive atoms and included in all nuclear fallout are:
1.  Alpha:  These are actual particles that are electrically charged and are commonly referred to as alpha particles. Alpha particles are the least penetrating of the three primary forms of radiation, as they cannot travel more than four to seven inches in air and a single sheet of paper or the outermost layer of dead skin that covers the body will stop them. However, if alpha particle emitting radioactive material is inhaled or ingested, they can be a very damaging source of radiation with their short-range being concentrated internally in a very localized area.  (Alpha-these waves are easily stopped by normal clothing).

[Diagram above: Summary of fallout effects from a hypothetical 10 Kt nuclear explosion. The level of fallout decays quickly, declining by a factor of 10 for     every 7-fold increase in time.]

2.  BetaThese are also actual particles that are electrically charged and are commonly referred to as beta particles. Beta particles travel faster and penetrate further than alpha particles. They can travel from a few millimeters up to about ten yards in open air depending on the particular isotope and they can penetrate several millimeters through tissue. Beta particle radiation is generally a slight external exposure hazard, although prolonged exposure to large amounts can cause skin burns and it is also a major hazard when interacting with the lens of the eye. However, like alpha particles, the greatest threat is if beta particle emitting radioactive material is inhaled or ingested as it can also do grave internal damage. (Beta – these rays travel a few millimeters up to a couple of centimeters, and can penetrate exposed skin. These rays are generally emitted from light fallout that lands on the ground, skin, and vehicles. Having a proper chemical suit will help, but may not keep you from receiving Beta radiation.)

3.  Gamma: Gamma rays are similar to x-rays, they are a form of electromagnetic radiation. Gamma rays are the most hazardous type of external radiation as they can travel up to a mile in open air and penetrate all types of materials. Since gamma rays penetrate more deeply through the body than alpha or beta particles, all tissues and organs can be damaged by sources from outside of the body. Only sufficiently dense shielding and/or distance from gamma ray emitting radioactive material can provide protection. (Gamma- you can only protect yourself from this type of radiation by encasing yourself in dense cover, i.e.: 2′ of concrete all around, 3′ of densely packed soil, 6″ of lead, etc.)

Bottom Line: All three of the primary types of radiation above can be a hazard if emitted from radioactive nuclear fallout that was inhaled or ingested. Protected food and water and even a simple inexpensive dust protector face mask can go a long ways to denying this route of entry. However, for the penetrating gamma rays, it is essential to be able to identify the best protected shielding and distance options available, covered in the next, and last, Part 3 section. Pasted from <>
 D How Much Radiation Is Too Much?
A: Before you can begin formulating a radiation protection shelter strategy (that will be covered in the next, and last, Part 3 section) you need to first understand and then determine the levels of radiation exposure one should be most concerned about in a nuclear emergency. Then the correct strategy best suited for the job will begin to reveal itself.

 _1. Table: Effects of radiation poisoning based on the millisievert mSv/hr dosage rates, the standard international measurement for absorbed radiation.

_2.  Table of expected health effects (below) for an adult assuming the cumulative total radiation (rads) exposure was all received within a week’s time. A rad (Radiation Absorbed Dose) measures the amount of radiation energy transferred to some mass of material, typically the human body.
One roentgen (R) of gamma radiation exposure results in about one rad of absorbed dose; measurement used in USA in the 20th Century.

Tables were prepared for measurements in RAD and R, I’ve pasted them together below; note that they are overlapping, the break down gives you a better idea of what medical consequences to expect at different exposure artes.
Bottom Line: Cutting through the above confusion, for purposes of practical radiation protection in humans, most experts agree (including FEMA Emergency Management Institute) that Roentgen, Rad and Rem can all be considered equivalent. The exposure rates you’ll usually see will be expressed simply in terms of roentgen (R) or milliroentgen (mR).

Table: Expected health effects from exposure to radiation

0-50   rads No   obvious short-term effects.
30 to 70 R From 6-12 hours: none to slight incidence   of transient headache and nausea;
vomiting in up to 5 percent of personnel in upper part of dose range.   Mild  lymphocyte depression within 24 hours. Full recovery expected.   (Fetus damage
 possible from 50R and above.)
80-120   rads You   have a 10% chance of vomiting and experiencing nausia for a few days.
70 to 150 R From 2-20 hours: transient mild nausea and   vomiting in 5 to 30 percent of
 personnel. Potential for delayed traumatic and surgical wound healing,   minimal clinical effect. Moderate drop in lymphocycte, platelet, and   granulocyte counts. Increased susceptibility to opportunistic pathogens. Full   recovery expected.
130   -170 rads You   have a 25% chance of vomiting and contracting other symptoms.
180-220   rads You have a 50%   chance of vomiting and having other severe physical effects.
150 to 300 R From 2 hours to three days: transient to   moderate nausea and vomiting in  20 to 70 percent; mild to moderate   fatigability and weakness in 25 to 60 percent of personnel. At 3 to 5 weeks:   medical care required for 10 to 50%. At high end of range, death may occur to   maximum 10%. Anticipated medical problems include infection, bleeding, and   fever. Wounding or burns will geometrically increase morbidity and mortality
270-330   rads 20%   chance of death in 6 weeks, or you will recover in a few months.
300 to 530 R From 2 hours to three days: transient to   moderate nausea and vomiting in 50  to 90 percent; mild to moderate   fatigability in 50 to 90 percent of personnel. At 2 to 5 weeks: medical care   required for 10 to 80%. At low end of range, less than 10% deaths; at high   end, death may occur for more than 50%.  Anticipated medical problems   include frequent diarrheal stools, anorexia, increased fluid loss,   ulceration. Increased infection susceptibility during immunocompromised   time-frame.  Moderate to severe loss of   lymphocytes. Hair loss after 14 days.
400-500   rads 50%   chance of death.
530 to 830 R From 2 hours to two days: moderate to   severe nausea and vomiting in 80 to 100 percent of personnel; From 2 hours to   six weeks: moderate to severe fatigability and weakness in 90 to 100 percent   of personnel. At 10 days to 5 weeks: medical care required for 50 to 100%. At   low end of range, death may occur for more than 50% at six weeks. At high   end, death may occur for 99% of personnel. Anticipated medical problems include   developing pathogenic and opportunistic infections, bleeding, fever, loss   of appetite, GI ulcerations, bloody diarrhea, severe fluid and electrolyte   shifts, capillary leak, hypotension. Combined with any significant physical trauma,   survival  rates will approach zero.
550-750   rads Nausia   within a few hours ; no survivors.
830 R Plus From 30 minutes to 2 days: severe nausea,   vomiting, fatigability, weakness,  dizziness, and disorientation;   moderate to severe fluid imbalance and headache. Bone marrow total depletion   within days. CNS symptoms are predominant higher radiation levels. Few, if   any, survivors even with aggressive and  immediate medical attention.
Greater   than 1000 rads Immediate   incapacitation and death within a week or less.

In a widespread nuclear event, there may be no escaping some radiation most everywhere. It would be very hard then not to exceed the conservative govt agencies peace-time usual advice to try to limit your normal exposure to 5 rad per year and 25 rad for lifetime and emergency workers to 50 rad. (Limits lower for children & fetuses.)

You always want to try to minimize any radiation exposure to As Low As Reasonably Achievable, ideally <100 rads, as that’s still 100% survivable for healthy adults, if not exceeded. “Very few of those receiving acute doses (received within 24 hours) of less than 100 R would become sick, even briefly.”

The response to radiation varies widely amongst people and the longer the time frame over which a specific dose is accumulated the better your body can respond to, and recover from, that radiation damage. In other words, a normally fatal (to 50% of a group exposed to it) cumulative dose of 530 R, if received all within a week or less, would create few noticeable ill-health effects if it was received, but spread out over a years time at the rate of about 10 R per week. That would be less than 1.5 R per day.

_3.  RadSticker’ dosimeter

[Image above shows a RadSticker dosimeter with different levels of exposure to radioactivity. Available through many site on the Internet. I bought mine for about $5 through  PS. If you have a need for the dosimeter, you might also by a packet of KI pills while placing that order. Mr Larry]
.E.  Protection:
KI4U, by Shane Connor (consultant and developer of Civil Defense solutions to government, NPO’s and individual families)
Pasted from <>
“Potassium Iodide: KI tablets’, taken a half hour or more before exposure, and then for the next 7-10 days, saturates your thyroid gland with safe stable iodine where if you then later inhale or ingest radioactive iodine your body simply eliminates it. It provides nearly 100% protection from radioiodine and resulting thyroid cell damage and abnormalities, such as loss of thyroid function, nodules in the thyroid, or thyroid cancer. There is a cheap and effective preventative method to protect yourself and family from radioactive iodine. As of January 2005, Iosat, ThyroSafe, and ThyroShield are FDA approved KI products.

Safe room: Civil Defense and the Federal Emergency Management Agency recommend a safe room made from duct tape and plastic sheeting. However, the Israeli’s use this method of safe room in conjunction with a protective mask, as the safe room is not trusted to protect against aerosol agents, only liquid droplets. FEMA has neglected this in its recommendations. [Hence you might want to look at ‘gas masks, see: Survival Manual/6. Medical/General Clinic/Protective Equipment. Mr Larry) Even still, this is a minimalist method, and definitely not the best one out there, even when combined with a good protective mask. If you are, however, caught in a crisis situation when a good positive pressure safe room kit is unavailable, this may be your best option. Purchase the thickest plastic sheeting you can buy (6 mil is the thickest usually sold at most hardware stores.), and the silver looking duct tape, which is the stickiest available. Use pins to hold the plastic sheeting to the wall, then use the duct tape to seal it. Still, you will not be able to achieve an airtight seal, no matter how hard you try, make it the best you can, then don your mask.

Evacuation may be another possibility. However, just with radioactive fallout, chemical and biological weapons can shift as easily as the wind. You may be going upwind, but then have it change and blow the cloud of deadly chemical or biological agents right on top of you. Only consider evacuation if you have protective suits and masks, have a place to evacuate to, and have supplies already stored there. Otherwise, stay in place, and take shelter in a safe room or inside a protective mask and suit.

Either way, preparations made in advance and supplies pre-positioned, will be essential to assuring success. For instance, Chemical and biological agents can easily contaminate drinking water supplies. Therefore, it is imperative that you keep your water supplies in a tightly sealed container, and decontaminate the outside before opening.
It should be noted, that many of the current production NBC protective masks, such as the M-95, have a drinking attachment. The attachment allows you to drink from a special canteen without removing your mask. Check for, and decontaminate if necessary, biological or chemical agents on the canteen’s connection to the mask before use in a contaminated environment. Make sure you keep the canteen top well sealed on the canteen so agents do not leak inside.
There are special chemical detection kits that will allow you to detect certain chemical agents in water. The only one available to civilians is the M-272 kit. This kit will detect nerve, blister, and blood agents in water.
Bottom Line: Protection against chemical and biological weapons is possible. A safe room is probably the best option, but have quality protective masks and suits available as a backup. Evacuation may not be the best choice, for upwind may just become downwind easily.

Some Final Thoughts…
As mentioned above, this guide was written assuming it would not be read by the majority of its intended audience until a nuclear crisis is already fully upon us–when remaining time and resources to prepare will be extremely limited, maybe with only hours remaining before ‘the music stops’.
For that reason, the food, equipment and supplies listed above has been restricted to only the most common and typically available from local resources.
If you are fortunate enough to be reading this well before a nuclear threat (or other major disaster) occurs or appears imminent, there’s a great deal more that you can and should do beyond the scope of this brief guide.

Surviving the initial threats of a nuclear ‘event’ and radioactive fallout is relatively easy with the proper knowledge and even the most modest of preparations, as we’ve detailed above. The ongoing bigger challenge, though, will be the one brought on by the extensive and much longer-lasting disruptions of services after you survive the nuclear event and emerge safely once the fallout threat has diminished.

You might go many months with little or no new food supplies, along with disruptions of water, sewer, gas, electric, and telephone services, little or no gasoline, and severely limited medical and banking services, law enforcement and fire protection.

With more time to research, make plans, and order supplies, families are well advised to acquire more in-depth training, reference books, longer-term food and water stocks, fuel, medical supplies, personal security, communication equipment, radiation monitoring instruments, camping equipment, supplies and tools. Many informative web sites and suppliers make available all of the above, including military MRE’s ready-to-eat meals, dehydrated and freeze-dried foods, as well as buckets of beans, rice, and grains. They also offer solar cookers, water purifiers and barrels, camp and compost toilets, comprehensive medical kits and manuals, shortwave and local two-way radios, perimeter alarms, alternative energy and heating systems, fuel preservatives, long-term packaged seeds, gardening tools, canning equipment, etc. has many of the best advertising there. For radiation meters, potassium iodide, etc., see

If all of this preparation seems daunting, here’s one strategy to make it a little less overwhelming: Think in two’s. First, acquire all the equipment and supplies your family would need to survive for two weeks if totally cut off from stores and utility and municipal services. It might help to consider all you would need during an extended camping trip in any season. Then, once you’ve accomplished that, expand your preparations and supplies to meet the goal of surviving at home for two months with no utilities or services. After that, continue adding provisions for two more additional months, with the eventual goal of gathering enough supplies so that your family can survive under these distressed conditions for a year or more.

A year might seem like overkill, but you’ll no doubt discover that in any disruptive event, numerous friends, neighbors, and relatives will be in need and you will want to help them if you can. Of course, ideally, they should also be preparing their own families for surviving coming disasters, so sharing this information with them might help get them started. Also, for your own family’s security, you always want to try to surround yourself with a buffer of like-minded people who are also doing the right things to prepare so they will become helpful allies instead of only a drain on your limited resources. Reality is, they could possibly even become an outright threat for your family retaining enough supplies for the full duration if difficult circumstances were to drag on and became ever more desperate.

Everyone that ‘prepares’ will be one less family standing in line for hours (or days) ahead of others who failed to, awaiting a hoped for arrival of a FEMA handout of food or water. Being prepared makes a ton of sense and will one day soon be seen by all, many painfully, perhaps even fatally, as clearly obvious and self-evident.

If you’re trying to convince yourself or a spouse to make the investment in prep equipment and supplies, also keep in mind this fact: Many of the supplies save money because buying in bulk and stocking up now is less expensive than buying smaller quantities later, especially as inflation ramps up and/or shortages appear. Further, if nothing bad ever happens, you can eventually eat the food and use most of the supplies, like toilet paper, fuel, etc., so they won’t go to waste.
They will also be useful in many disasters besides nuclear events. For example:
Job loss — Having two to four months of food at home would certainly relieve much of the stress of losing your job and being without an income while looking for another.
Pandemic — We could someday see a pandemic unleashed that would require families to self-quarantine themselves at home for many weeks to avoid catching the disease. Having these supplies and having made these preparations would make that extremely difficult time more endurable.
Natural disasters, economic dislocations, civil disruptions — Your family could ride out any number, or cascading combination, of these events in much better shape if you are sufficiently prepared.

Being prepared and stocking up makes sense on numerous levels, especially during this age when costs for many essentials, such as food, fuel, and ammunition, will surely only continue to increase. Stocking up now both saves money today and may well save your family tomorrow.”

[Image at left: The M-28 or M-29 Davy Crockett Weapon System(s) was a tactical nuclear recoilless gun for firing the M388 nuclear projectile that was deployed by the United States during the Cold War, photo taken at  Aberdeen Proving Grounds, 1961. This weapon had a maximum range of 1.24 miles to 2.49 miles. The XM-388 casing weighed 76 pounds, was 30 inches long and measured 11 inches in diameter at its widest point.   The Davy Crockett was developed before the Vietnam war, imagine what we have today, imagine the delivery systems: suitcase, launch from ship, drop from small private airplane, leave it in a car trunk parked at a major sports event; imagine the explosive power a device this size has today!…the thought is sobering! Mr. Larry]

(End of post: Nuclear & Radiological Warfare)
See additional in-depth discussions of protective techniques in the 4dtraveler, Survival Manual posts Categories: Social Issues, Food & Water, and Medical/General Clinic


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