3 Factors for Protecting Yourself from Radiation

  • Distance: An underground area such as a home or office building basement offers more protection.
  • Shielding: The heavier and denser the materials between you and the fallout particles, the better.
  • Time: Fallout radiation loses its intensity fairly rapidly. After 2 weeks it has declined to about 1% of its initial radiation level, in which you will be able to leave the fallout shelter.

    Before a Nuclear Emergency

    • Make an Emergency Plan. Make sure to include emergency contact information.
    • Research if any public buildings in your community are designated fallout shelters. If not, make a list of potential shelters near your home.

      During a Nuclear Emergency

      • Listen and follow instructions of emergency response personnel.
      • Take cover as quickly as you can, below ground if possible.
      • Find the nearest building to avoid any radioactive material outside.
        • Expect to stay inside for at least 24 hours unless told otherwise by authorities.

        If you're caught outside and cannot get inside immediately:

        • Do not look at the flash or fireball – it can blind you.
        • Take cover behind anything that might offer protection.
        • Lie flat on the ground and cover your head.
        • Take shelter as soon as you can.
        • Remove clothing to keep radioactive material from spreading.
        • Place contaminated clothing in plastic bag and seal or tie the bag.
        • Get clean as soon as possible; shower with lots of soap and water. Do not scrub or scratch the skin.
        • Wash your hair but DO NOT use conditioner because it will bind radioactive material to your hair.
        • Blow your nose and wipe your eyelids and eyelashes with a clean wet cloth. Gently wipe ears.
        • If you cannot shower, use a wipe or clean wet cloth to wipe your skin that was not covered by clothing.

        After a Nuclear Emergency

        • People in affected areas could be allowed to come out of shelter within a few days and evacuate to unaffected areas.
        • Those is areas with highest radiation levels may need to take shelter for up to a month.

        Tips courtesy of Ready.gov