The Obama administration is offering a new set of guidelines on how to protect yourself during a nuclear attack.
The Department of Homeland Security’s new guidelines offer the following advice:
Go deep inside: They are recommending that people stay put and not try to leave the area.
- Find the nearest building, preferably built of brick or concrete, and go inside to avoid any radioactive material outside.
- If better shelter, such as a multi-story building or basement can be reached within a few minutes, go there immediately.
- If you are in a car, find a building for shelter immediately. Cars do not provide adequate protection from radiation from a nuclear detonation.
- Go to the basement or the center of the middle floors of a multi-story building (for example the center of the 5th floor of a 10 story building or the 10th to 20th floors of a 30 story building).
The government says that even though theses instructions may go against your natural instinct to leave, the health risks from radiation exposure can be reduced by:
- Putting building walls, brick, concrete, or soil between you and the radioactive material outside, and
- Increasing the distance between you and the exterior walls, roofs and ground, where radioactive material is settling.
Stay inside: They are also recommending that you stay inside until you are instructed to come out by authorities or emergency responders. They are recommending it as the best way to prevent radiation-related illnesses
In the beginning when the radiation levels are at their highest levels it is safest to stay inside, protected away from the radioactive material outside.
If you were outside at the time of the nuclear explosion the guidelines offer the following recommendations for removing any radioactive materials that may be on your body.
- Pretend that you are going home covered in mud; you don’t want to track any of this mud into your home.
- Remove your clothing to keep radioactive material from spreading. Taking off your outer layer of clothing can remove up to 90% of radioactive material.
- If possible, place your clothing in a plastic bag and seal or tie the bag. Place the bag as far away from yourself and other people so that the radiation cannot affect you.
- When possible, take a shower with lots of soap and water to help remove radioactive contamination. Do not scrub or scratch the skin, and do not use conditioner because it can bind the radioactive material to your hair and make it harder to rinse out.
- Gently blow your nose, wipe your eyelids and your ears.
- Put on new clean clothing
A couple other tips form the report
- Rinse all counters, plates, pots and utensils before use to remove any radioactive materials.
- Food in your refrigerator or freezer should be safe to eat.
- Canned food should also be safe to eat.
- Rinse the outside of all packaged food before opening it.
Bottled water is the only source that we are certain is free of contamination. Before opening the bottles use a clean towel to remove any residue from the outside of the bottle