Donald Trump has caused many nerves to fray around the world due to the threat of a nuclear apocalypse with North Korea, Russia and or Iran causing many to wonder, “How would I survive a nuclear attack?”

“If you hear a large explosion, don’t run to the window to see what it was — you’ll get shredded by the blast.”

Here are the plain and simple facts. If a nuclear attack ever took place on U.S. soil, you’d want to know about it. Why?

Because if you didn’t, that likely means that you were too close.And if you were too close, that means you’re dead.

A nuclear attack is one of the most frightening things that could happen, period.

A nuclear explosion can kill millions

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Just the explosion alone can wipe out countless numbers of people. Unfortunately, even after the blast nuclear weapons can do damage through something called nuclear fallout.

In essence, fallout refers to a process by which the wind carries radioactive materials through the air and people, plants, and wildlife can all be poisoned; in a large dose death can come soon after.

Unfortunately, nuclear fallout can sicken or even kill people in its path.

So, here’s the question. How can one survive a nuclear attack? is here to brief you on the basics.

How to survive a nuclear attack

Well, the first thing is to not be right there when it occurs. What can you do to make sure that happens? Unfortunately, not a ton. However, if there is an alert for a particular event- say a football game- it might be wise to avoid it. On the other hand, doing so allows the terrorists to win. Thus, there’s no easy answer in terms of avoidance ( other than really solid Homeland Security, perhaps ).

Still, things should be put in perspective. A nuclear bomb emits such tremendous heat and power that it can literally destroy structures and kill on contact within five miles of detonation ( depending on the power of the bomb ). So, if you’re in the general vicinity when a nuclear bomb or missile detonates, that’s not good.

Now if you’re outside when this occurs and manage to survive, take immediate cover ( inside a structure ). Further, if you get debris on you, wash it off with soap and water as soon as possible.

However, in all likelihood you’ll either be at work or at home if such an occurrence were to take place. Therefore, if you pay heed now, you might have a plan in place when/ if it all breaks down.

Planning in advance of a nuclear attack – Why would you ever want to plan for such a terrible occurrence? For the same reason that you want to be ready for that presentation at work. Preparation oftentimes leads to success, and survival during such a tragic situation is no different. Thus, here are some things to consider.

Have you been exposed to radiation in the air carried by the wind and blast? – If you’re still alive and standing, congratulations. That means you’re several miles out from the detonation and your chief concerns first are radiation levels. Have a personal radiation dector (personal responders and even the military carry personal radiation detectors; not all of course, just some, but it’s a smart move anyway for civilians to do the same).

One more step to being prepared for a nuclear attack: A civilian gas mask rated for a nuclear or chemical emergency.

Chain of contact – Know how you are going to contact loved ones ( have a chain of contact ). However, don’t waste time and put yourself in danger in order to simply call someone if the danger is intense and immediate ( perhaps you’re right in the path of everything ). Under such circumstances, you and your loved ones should already know where you’re going.

The fallout chamber

Nothing is more important than this in terms of protecting from nuclear fallout. The radiation from nuclear fallout can be dangerous for up to several days after an explosion and can seep through any material. However, it loses it’s negative attributes as it passes through things, so the thicker the wall between you and it the better.

Hence, a fallout room.

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Building a fallout room

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A fallout room should be as safe as possible. Further, it would be smart to have this within your own home as it may be dangerous to leave. Thus, if your fallout chamber can be within your home, go with that ( and wait to hear from local emergency authorities ).

Regardless, here are some best practices and things to consider when designing/ deciding on a fallout room or chamber ( called such because it’s designed to protect from fallout ).

1. Make sure your fallout room is within a well insulated structure. Bungalows, cabins, trailer homes, and the like don’t tend to fit the bill. Therefore, if you live in one of these it might be prudent to make plans to take shelter with a loved one or friend very close by.

2. Choose the place furthest from the outside walls within your home. Oftentimes, this is the cellar or basement. The greater the distance you are from the radiation, the better.

3. Still, the mere walls of your home may not be enough. You’ll want to shut off openings like windows, etc. In addition, you’ll want to bolster the walls around you with dense materials like bricks, sand, concrete, wood, and even furniture. This is why planning is important.

Further, have these things on hand before the event occurs ( in your fallout chamber ). Along with this, it might be prudent to have a hammer, some nails, and wood housed in your fallout chamber in case building or adding on is required.

Of course, if the extra materials are already built in, you’ll be best off. Thus, you’ll have to decide just how worried you are in advance.

4. All of this said, the fallout room may not be enough ( particularly during the first couple of days after detonation when things are most dangerous ). Thus, you’ll want to build some kind of fallout inner shelter within your fallout room. One way to do this is to use doors reinforced on the outside with sand or another bolstering material. Another option is to hide within a closed off cupboard. Regardless, make sure that you take care to close off openings to this as well. Further, build it so that it won’t fall apart.

However, you should also make sure that it and your fallout room will allow a sufficient amount of oxygen in.

All of this said, the fallout inner shelter within your fallout room may only need to be used for a couple of days. However, you can plan on spending upwards of fourteen days or more in your fallout room. Thus, there are some supplies you should definitely have on hand if such an occurrence were to take place.

Supplies to have on hand in your fallout room

1. Have enough food for 14 days. Most people don’t live in downtown areas, which are the most likely places for a terrorist nuclear attack. If you lived downtown, you would need to have a bunker far underground to survive a blast in such close proximity, and then be able to stay down there for up to several weeks, before attempting to exit and flee the area. The reason is because you would be much closer to the site of the detonation, which is where the majority of radiation would be concentrated.

In this case, have several weeks of food and water on hand. Though you may have some perishable items on hand, such as those kept in a freezer (that will soon thaw, so eat these frozen foods first), the majority of food should be able to last. Further, you should choose to eat the perishable items first ( obviously ).

2. Have enough water for 14 days, unless you’re in an area that is near a likely strike zone; in this case you’ll want several weeks more. In fact, try to have extra supplies of this on hand ( you’ll almost certainly need to buy jugs of water in advance in order to accomplish this ). Remember, also to cover and secure your food and water. If radioactive dust gets on to it, there’s no real way to get it off.

3. Have a radio and extra batteries as this will be your only real connection to emergency contacts and the outside world. Without this, you won’t know what to do or when to do it. Have a lot more batteries than you think you will need; you can also use these in flashlights and lanterns (see below).

4. Have tin openers, cutlery, bowls, plates, and etc. for obvious reasons.

5. Have warm clothing on hand. Gloves and boots may be especially important in order to protect the outer extremities.

6. Have bedding on hand and a comfortable bed pad or cot (folding cots will take up less space in your fallout room).

7. Have bathroom supply products. Consider knowing where you will toilet in advance.

Since you cannot waste water in a toilet- and may not even have one in your fallout room- have buckets, bags for waste, and disinfectants/ cleaners with you as well. It may be smart to have a garbage / dustbin right outside of your fallout room to store human and food waste materials ( consider not putting things out of the room at all until at least two days after the event ).

Additional tips for fallout room waste disposal

Invest in a portable 5 gallon toilet.

Also invest in several pounds of bulk cat litter. Yes, cat litter.

You see, if there are more than one of you sheltering in your fallout room (perhaps family or friends who live nearby ), it will be important to keep smells to a minimum – which will make the experience of sheltering in place for several days a lot more pleasant than being trapped in a sealed room filled with foul odors.

Imagine the smell of poo and urine in a confined space with no ventilation… Thus the importance of a good waste storage system in your fallout room. The portable 5 gallon toilet mentioned above uses bags under the toilet lid that can be sealed shut and placed in a seperate sealed container (a seperate bucket with a screw top lid, for example, or even a 55 gallon plastic drum, should you be sheltering in place with several people and need a disposal container with much larger capacity).

As a last resort, have Vick’s Vapor Rub ( or a generic brand ) that you can lather on your skin, just below your nostrils, as a way to distract from any possible foul smelling odors.

8. If you have a generator and electricity, have a portable electric stove and pots / pans. However, unless you have a self-powered fallout room with ventilation and recycled air, you should not cook inside as you can die from carbon monoxide poisoning from propane or butane stoves; even candles can be toxic in a room without ventilation; so don’t cook in your fallout room unless you have an electric stove (just a portable single burner is fine). But do you even need to cook? Instead, save on electricity and fuel (supplied by a generator) and eat your food uncooked (that means you need to be stocked with foods that don’t require cooking).

9. Have flashlights and one or two lanterns, depending on the size of your shelter and how many people will be inside.

10. Have cloths, brushes, and brooms for cleaning.

11. Have soap on hand with towels.

12. Have a first aid supply kit.

13. And just as important, have things to keep you busy like books, paper, and pens.

14. Finally, have potassium iodide pills on hand. If taken during a nuclear emergency, these pills help protect against a variety of cancers that can result from exposure to nuclear fallout. Better safe than sorry.

In sum, a nuclear attack could happen under several different scenarios. Thus, it’s important to note that dealing with one will take some flexibility. That said, being ready for at least one or two possible scenarios is better than none.

Also remember that the United States has never been attacked in nuclear fashion. Thus, emergency personnel may very well choose to lead us all in a different direction when/ if the time comes. Therefore, it’s important to remember to have that radio on you so that you can follow emergency directives. No article, good, bad, or otherwise will take the place of that.


Here’s everything you need to know if you want to live through a nuclear attack