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Nuclear Blast

EFFECTS OF NUCLEAR FALLOUT

THE FACTS

In the past last fifty years, nuclear fall out from open air nuclear testing is estimated to be responsible for the deaths of more than 15,000. At least 80% of these deaths were attributed to cancer caused by radiation. During an average life span, every human being is thought to receive about ten roentgens (a measure used in science) of nuclear radiation from natural sources such as rocks and the sun. Exposure to radiation has also become a part of our normal every day routines as minute amounts are emitted from luminous dials on watches, dental X-rays and chest X-rays.

Illness does not tend to result unless the individual has been exposed to more than 100 roentgens of nuclear radiation. This is not a likely event, unless you are exposed to fall-out from a nuclear attack. Exposure to more than 300 roentgens of radiation causes nausea, hair loss, skin blistering, cancer and death.

Aside from radiation, elements such as strontium 90, cesium 137 and carbon 14 are released during an episode of nuclear fall-out. Plants, water and the earth often absorb these elements. The long-term damaging effects of these components on mankind are not yet known. Nuclear fall-out is most likely to occur as a result of nuclear attack, nuclear testing or the meltdown of a nuclear power plant.

PREVENTION

In the event of a nuclear explosion, humans are immediately exposed to four threats: Light, Heat, Blast and Radiation. There may be no way of protecting yourself from a surprise attack except to "duck and take cover" as is suggested by the American propaganda films from the 1950s. Ordinary sunglasses offer little protection from the flash of a blast, so blindness is likely to occur in individuals who are unlucky enough to witness the event. Clothing also provides little prevention against the heat. Depending on your proximity to the blast you may have some time to scramble to a shelter before you feel the impact of a nuclear blast. The radiation is also unavoidable in most cases. Sometimes exposure is immediate and sometimes the radiation is carried within rain clouds (as was the case with the Chernobyl blast in the Ukraine a few years back) or is circulated around the world on trade winds.

The only effective protection against a nuclear blast is a lead lined suit or a bomb shelter lined with lead. Unfortunately this is not an affordable option for many American families. A suggestion might be to write your politicians and demand a greater availability of community or neighborhood shelters.

PHYSICAL SYMPTOMS

Depending on your proximity to the explosion you may encounter any of the following acute symptoms:

* Temporary or permanent blindness from exposure to the flash of the explosion
* If you are within 15 miles of the explosion you will be incinerated or at the very least suffer Third Degree burns over 100% of your body. If you are within 18 miles of the explosion you will suffer skin blisters. At 23 miles you will suffer the equivalent of bad sunburn.
* Depending on such factors as wind currents, availability of water and the length of time it takes you to get a shelter you may suffer from radiation sickness. Symptoms of radiation sickness include loss of hair, loss of appetite, paleness, weakness diarrhea, sweating bleeding gums and bruises.

- It is important to note that radiation sickness is not passed on to others, so if you are well, you are encouraged to attend to those who need your help.

PREPARATION

A bomb shelter that is lined with lead is the only effective protection against nuclear fall out. Residents of the United States are also advised to keep a simple First Aid Kit in the shelter as well as a radio, batteries and a 14-day supply of food and water. It is estimated that you should keep one gallon of water per family member for fourteen days on hand.

WHAT TO DO IF THE UNFORTUNATE OCCURS?

Seek immediate refuge in your bomb shelter. If a bomb shelter is not available, locate yourself in the nearest basement or underground dwelling. You may have no choice but to take refuge in an underground subway or the basement of a local public building such as a church or a school.

However, some safety expert's advice the improvisation of a small emergency using furniture doors, dressers, workbenches, fabric and other materials to attempt to protect yourself from fall out. Encasing oneself in an overturned bathtub or a bank vault are other suggested safe havens against fall-out.

If you decide to retreat to your basement, safety experts advise blocking basement windows with earth bricks, concrete, blocks or even bundles of newspapers to protect yourself against radiation. Do not emerge from your shelter until instructed to do so by local authorities.

 

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