Camping & Survival

How to Survive a Nuclear Bomb

On July 16, 1945, the United States performed the first successful testing of this atom bomb.

In many cases and in disaster experts’ speculations the reasons why people do not survive a disaster is because people are uninformed and unprepared. Since the Atomic Age is over, schools no longer teach children about the threat of a nuclear bomb and how to protect themselves from a nuclear attack. In fact, most people I know in my generation (late 30s) grew up believing the threat was over. But we never thought a group of militant extremists would fly 767s into the World Trade Center either.

Unbelievably, if you arm yourself with knowledge and add a few extra items to your prep gear, you more than likely will survive a nuclear bomb. Unless you happen to be at Ground Zero when the bomb detonates. At that point, you’ll be toast. The Planning Guidance for Response to Nuclear Detonation says that if you are “close to the fireball, the thermal energy is so intense that infrastructure and humans are incinerated. Immediate lethality would be 100% in close proximity.” Ground Zero can be as far away as half a mile from the explosion. If you happen to be far enough underground in a cement or brick structure, you might survive, but what is the likelihood of that? We must remember that terrorists or a country that wants to obliterate America will not attack when it is convenient for you. They will attack when they can target the most people; densely populated areas such as big cities, large gatherings, and when people are out the most—morning and evening commutes.

We have five countries called Nuclear Weapon States that have all built and tested nuclear bombs. These countries, China, France, Russia, the United Kingdom, and the United States signed the Nuclear Nonproliferation Treaty in 1968. Other countries that do not have nuclear capabilities have signed the treaty as well. The Nuclear Nonproliferation Treaty is an agreement to disarm the nuclear weapons of the Nuclear Weapon States. However, the United States reported in 2011 that we still have 5,113 nuclear weapons stockpiled.

India, Pakistan, and North Korea have nuclear weapons, but refused to sign the treaty. Further, experts suspect that Iran and Syria have nuclear weapons as well.

On July 16, 1945, the United States performed the first successful testing of the atom bomb in Alamogordo, New Mexico at 5:29 in the morning. Not even a month later, we dropped two nuclear 12 to 20 kiloton bombs on the cities of Hiroshima and Nagasaki. It was the first and last time any country has used a nuclear weapon against another country. The results were devastating. Half of Hiroshima’s population died from the bomb, with estimates of around 80,000 dying instantly. A bomb of this size can cause fatal burns up to 25 miles away. What’s frightening is that we know Russia has had 550-kiloton nuclear bombs.

In all nuclear preparation information, including the United States government fact and preparation sheets, experts plan for a 10-kiloton nuclear bomb. Since that seems to be about average, I will also assume the bomb you prep for will be of this size.

A 10-kiloton bomb is survivable from about a mile away from the blast. I’m going to speculate no advance warning if the United States is bombed with a nuclear weapon so you will have no time to prepare. The first indication of a nuclear bomb is a very intense light that is brighter than the sun. This light can cause temporary or permanent blindness. The thermal blast from the bomb will follow just seconds after the flash of light. The heat released from a nuclear bomb is millions of degrees. It is so hot that it turns matter into plasma. Seconds after that, the blast wave will hit. This will be a cloud of dust and debris and will be very loud.

One mile away from the detonation there will be significant structural damage and fires. Power and water lines will be down. Possibly severe bodily injury and death will occur if you are outside. As we saw on 9/11, visibility will be low to zero due to all the dust, smoke, and debris.

From three miles away, after seeing the light, you should have enough time to find shelter.

If you survive the initial explosion, the most important thing to do is seek substantial shelter and remain there. The destruction isn’t over. Next to come is the fallout from the bomb. Fallout and gamma rays can be potentially deadly even up to 26 miles away from Ground Zero. Fallout is the radioactive particles from the bomb that fall back down from the sky.

The best shelter is a cement or brick underground bunker, parking garage, tunnel, or basement. If you are stuck in a high-rise building, move to the core of the building and try to pick a space or an office in the internal part of the building, preferably without windows. A one-story wood structure offers little protection from fallout and gamma rays. If that is all you have, move into an internal area of the house, and build extra “walls” against the doorways and windows. Sand bags or wood, if that is all you have, are better than nothing to cover doorways and windows. Seal off all airways in the room including vents.

The worst of the fallout will be visible, about the size of sand and will come within a 24-hour period. You should plan to hole up for at least 24 hours, if not 72 hours. Do not expect federal response for this same amount of time. Fallout decreases with time and it is best to wait it out if you can.

If you must leave, you have to protect yourself from the fallout. Cover yourself completely with long sleeves and a facemask. Shed your outer laying of clothing before reentering your safety location. Put the clothing into a plastic bag and keep the bag away from people and animals.

Going outside means you are contaminated. Wash your body and hair with soap and if you have a way, use a scrub brush. Blow your nose and be careful to wipe down around your eyes, lips, and ears.

After three days, the fallout will have stopped actually falling and will have lost 90% of its potency.

Besides stocking food and water, add the following to your bug-in gear list:

If you aren’t in the middle of Ground Zero when the bomb goes off, you have armed yourself with knowledge. Add a few extra items to your bug-in and bug-out bags, you have a 90% chance of surviving a nuclear bomb.

Have you already prepped for a nuclear disaster? If so, how? Tell me about it!

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Comments (11)

  1. There are now 4 actualy different nuke scenarios , if a India designed field tactical neutron and you are some 5 miles minimum you will most likely feel no ill effects at all and its radiation is of short duration.
    WTF did author come up with this radiation level drops in a few days and did they forget that the fallout from a subsurface nuke will circle the earth for years.
    The heaviest and most deadly particulates will fall without the blast center for a few miles 20-50 and if even i grain Is injested you are a walking dead man. AND THOSE 50 MILES WILL BE HEAVILY COVERED WITH THOSE KILLERS OF 25,000 YEAR HALF LIFE.
    An above surface bomb spreads its destructive blast the farthest and causes most property damage outside ground zero.
    Best study the dietary ecommendations and while in US it may already be too late have fresh iodine tablets to protect childrens thyroids and brain and heart functions.
    Today massive numbers of children and younger males and females throughout old chenobyl fallout zones are dying of brain and holes and heart cancers.
    Fukushima Diatchi in the initial explosion and three months more of massive fisson released 8000 times the amount of Chernobyl and threwinto air pluto ium that landed as far away as IrelNd and France and no it did not just pass over US ad 4 +years later fukushima continues to emit tons of adiated wTers and no one from US and Japan will tell of amounts of radioactive releases are ongoing.
    Water is most important so do not ski.p on best prtective filter systems availabe .
    They try but do not remove all radiation and do not forget to buy extra filters.
    Sorry to say but not all can goods that one may find close to blast zones will be safe to eat as the cans themselves becomme radioactive.
    In the old central asian nations live hundreds of thousands of half brain dead and geneticly impaired (for lack of better definition no longer full humans.
    They have lower IQ and throw off monsters no longer human births but the live in areas way above the limits imposed in civilized world for radiTion exposures.
    The eT drink and breathe it and have shortened life spans especially of their mutated animal flocks and pet dogs.
    Yes you will live after a nuke attack and your government authorities will find ways to use your now limited and mental capacity .
    Good luck.

  2. The initial damage from a nuclear blast must consider having just about everything on fire that will burn for 10 or 20 miles; cars, clothes, houses, trees, grass and brush. The fire storm radius depends on the distance from the blast and the size of the blast. The less flammable and lighter the color the better. An in ground tornado shelter with air filter would likely keep you alive for a long time.

  3. I feel at least a little bit safer than most, living at about 5000ft. up in the north eastern part of the Sierra Nevada mountain range of Crummyfornia. lol I do agree with Bill from Boomhower most preppers are not adequitly prepared for a nuclear blast of todays proportions. We, as I`m sure at least Russia and China, have 10 Mega ton bombs or bigger. A ten mega-ton bomb is the equivalent of I believe 1000 /10K-ton bombs. I`m not sure anybody wants to be within a 1000 miles of a blast like that, so I believe the key here would be the location, location, location! After that, most preppers have most of the stuff needed for sustaining and biding time. I don`t yet have a radiation detector but plan on getting one. The one thing besides gas masks and protection clothing I believe is essential, is LOTS of visqueen! (sorry about the spelling?)Good Luck preppers et al in such an event, and God Bless.

  4. All I know about this is what I see on the Military Channel. The suff that’s built, stock piled and ready to use today is supposed to be 10 or30 or some such times more powerful than what was dropped on Japan. Here in Boomhower, Texas, the hub of national security and weapons stockpiling, we’re sitting on ground zero. I know for a fact that I’m woefully unprepared for a blast, but believe most preppers are as well. If everyone is thinking it’ll be like Hiroshima, or even several bombs like that, I believe the people preparing for such an awful event are woefully unprepared as well. Like I said though, I don’t know that much about this topic. May God bless us all though. We should be inteligent, kind to each other, and appriciate every day we have on this big blue ball. Happy camping preppers.

  5. I looked over the way I wrote it and I was awfully condescending. I’m very sorry for that. I had seen an article a few days before this and they had a very close island quote and it was from wiki. So I’m sorry for blasting.

  6. I am wondering where you got your information for this article. Most everyone knows that Wikipedia is not good to use as a credible source. Hiroshima and Nagasaki are cities on the island of Japan. Also, there are two blast waves with a Nuclear blast. One wave going away from blast and one wave heading back to the blast.

  7. Don’t live in or near the big cities, you will die!! If we get hit by a nuke or even several nukes, the enemy will most likely target large cities to get the most bang for their buck. If you take out a handful of cities you have sealed the deal on the destruction of America, if you want to wait it out, however if you take out 12-20 U.S. cities you would be able to basically put your troops right in to America’s heartland. It’s not if nuclear war happens….it’s when. How do you think America will get out of debt, and be pushed into the New World Order? Wake up!!!!! It’s happening right before everyone’s eyes!!

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