What To Do if Nuclear
War Breaks Out
The world is probably closer to the use of nuclear arms in an aggressive
manner today than it has been since the Cuban Missile Crisis. Thereís
the possibility of a terrorist attack with nuclear weapons, the possibility
that Iran has nuclear weapons, North Korea's growing nuclear arsenal and
the sorry state of security for old Soviet Union weapons.
So letís say the worst
happens and you hear on the radio that a nuclear device has exploded somewhere
in the world. Here are Captain Daveís suggestions for what to do:
Those of us who grew up during the cold war have a grave fear of nuclear
war and many are likely to assume that because one or more nuclear
warheads or device has exploded, the world as we know it will end.
This could result in all sorts of panic, especially since it will
take some time for real facts and figures to be known. (Weíll cover
the effects of panic more extensively below.) So your first step is
to separate yourself from the masses by not panicking. Take a deep
breath and remember that if you are not in the blast radius or down
wind from it, you are in no immediate danger form the blast. So calm
down and donít do anything foolish. Instead of acting out of panic,
take a few minutes to make a plan or to activate an existing plan
(which we can help you develop). Remember, just because those around
you are losing their heads does not mean you need to do so also.
Turn on the news and try to learn as much as you can about the attack
as well as local events. This will affect how your plan. Later, you
will need to monitor reports of fallout (see below.) The location,
number and size of the detonations are important, as are the wind
currents and weather patterns. How people around the world and around
your neighborhood react is also something you should monitor, as it
will effect your immediate well being more than the actual explosions
Family. During any period of unrest, itís best to have your immediate
family around you. People who are traveling should return home on
the first available flight or should rent cars and drive home if flights
are booked or grounded. Everyone will perform better knowing that
their loved ones are safe.
If your kids are in school or day care, there is probably no reason
to get them immediately. They should return home safely through regular
means, such as the school bus or carpool. Remember Rule One (donít
panic) and do nothing to panic your children. This will be a stressful
time for everyone, and getting young children panicky or upset will
not help the situation. You will have to decided whether or not to
send them back to school the following days based on your plan and
what you have learned from Step 2. If your children are at an away
camp or boarding school, you will have to determine if they are possibly
safer there than at your residence.
Cancel extracurricular activities and plans outside the home until
you can be sure (by monitoring the news) that the situation is stabilized
and there is no danger or unrest locally.
Lock Your Doors.
Once you have all gathered at home, lock your doors and secure your
perimeter as best as possible. Then try to go about life as you normally
would. Have a good dinner and play a game with the kids. Watch a video.
Try to seek normalcy and be reassuring so that the kids can sleep
well. Donít bombard them or yourself with repeated images of death
and destruction on TV, as this is not healthy. Donít do anything dangerous
or risky as police, fire and ambulance services may be responding
to other emergencies. But remember, unless civil unrest develops as
a result of panic, a nuclear detonation in the Middle East or Asia
will cause no immediate danger to people in North America. A detonation
in the U.S. could have much more serious effects, but this really
depends on the target and your location. The closed you are to the
blast radius, the more immediate the danger.
Now, you may think it is foolish to watch TV and take it easy, but
if you have planned and prepared and have ample supplies of food and
survival gods, there is no reason to act otherwise. If you have not
prepared, then going out to buy up supplies at the last minute will
only add to the panic and endanger you. So take advantage of what
may be your last day of calm and family togetherness.
What Panic May Do. If a large number of people learn of the nuclear
exchange at the same time several things may be expected to happen
will be clogged as people immediately call loved ones and decide what
to do. The Internet will also grow much busier, especially news sites,
as people at work look for breaking information.
The stock market
will crash until trading is suspended. And even when trading resumes,
prices will continue to fall. A nuclear exchange will create tremendous
economic disruption, and this will be reflected in the markets. Have
some money available if the ATMs are empty and the credit card machines
go down, and have some liquid wealth outside the market.
Major roads will
be jammed as people leave work and return home, creating a super rush
hour. Other people will leave their homes for "safer" locations,
such as friends in the country, vacation homes or even campgrounds.
Clogged highways will be especially bad in cities and in areas with
a limited numbers of bridges and tunnels, such as New York and Washington,
D.C. This is a situation where civil violence could break out.
There may be lines
or delays at gas stations as everyone decides to fill their tanks
before it is "too late." Some stations could run out of
gas. Others may rise prices or ask for cash only. This is another
situation where civil violence could break out.
People will shop
for food and supplies, causing lines and shortages of everything from
bread and milk to bottled waterbatteries and toilet paper. Most grocery
stores rotate their stock so quickly they have only a two to three
day supply of key items in stock. Thanks to just-in-time production
and distribution methods, if everyone panics and shops at one time,
we could well see empty shelves very quickly.
There may be civil
unrest as people panic, especially if there are shortages at the grocery
store. If local police forces are overwhelmed, this could escalate
to riots and looting, especially in densely populated urban areas.
Riots and civil
unrest could cause general lawlessness, as law enforcement is overwhelmed
and unable to respond to calls. Depending on where you live, you could
be in danger form fires (arson), or you could be targeted for home
invasion robberies and other acts of violence. You could also get
caught up in a riot or random acts of violence. Again, proper planning
for this possibility will help you be prepared. Remember that the
Korean merchants in South Central demonstrated the value of firearm
ownership in this type of situation.
Having a plan can
save you from getting caught up in the worst panic. Know where to go
and what to do once you are there.
Once all family members
are at home and you know whether or not there is local civil unrest, you
can plan for the next few days or, better yet, implement your existing
plan. Your key concerns will be protecting yourself and your loved ones
from possible radiation dangers, making sure you are safe from local unrest
and ensuring that you have enough supplies to live through the next few
weeks or even months.
on to part 2, Protecting Yourself from Fallout
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