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
- Build an emergency kit.
- 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