EXPOSED TO RADIATION ?.......NOW WHAT DO YOU DO?
What Types of Terrorist Events Might Involve Radiation?
Possible terrorist events could involve introducing radioactive material into
the food or water supply, using explosives (like dynamite) to scatter
radioactive materials (called a “dirty bomb”), bombing or destroying
a nuclear facility, or exploding a small nuclear device.
Although introducing radioactive material into the food or water supply most
likely would cause great concern or fear, it probably would not cause
much contamination or increase the danger of adverse health effects.
Although a dirty bomb could cause serious injuries from the explosion, it most
likely would not have enough radioactive material in a form that would
cause serious radiation sickness among large numbers of people. However,
people who were exposed to radiation scattered by the bomb could have
a greater risk of developing cancer later in life, depending on their
A meltdown or explosion at a nuclear facility could cause a large amount
of radioactive material to be released. People at the facility would
probably be contaminated with radioactive material and possibly be injured
if there was an explosion. Those people who received a large dose might
develop acute radiation syndrome. People in the surrounding area could
be exposed or contaminated.
Clearly, an exploded nuclear device could result in a lot of property damage.
People would be killed or injured from the blast and might be contaminated
by radioactive material. Many people could have symptoms of acute radiation
syndrome. After a nuclear explosion, radioactive fallout would extend
over a large region far from the point of impact, potentially increasing
people’s risk of developing cancer over time.
How Can I Protect Myself During a Radiation Emergency?
After a release of radioactive materials, local authorities will monitor the
levels of radiation and determine what protective actions to take.
The most appropriate action will depend on the situation. Tune to the local
emergency response network or news station for information and instructions
during any emergency.
If a radiation emergency involves the release of large amounts of radioactive
materials, you may be advised to “shelter in place,” which means to
stay in your home or office; or you may be advised to move to another
If you are advised to shelter in place, you should do the following:
Close and lock all doors and windows.
Turn off fans, air conditioners, and forced-air heating units that bring
in fresh air from the outside. Only use units to recirculate air
that is already in the building.
Close fireplace dampers.
If possible, bring pets inside.
Move to a sealed room or basement.
Keep your radio tuned to the emergency response network or local news
to find out what else you need to do.
If you are advised to evacuate, follow the directions that your local officials
provide. Leave the area as quickly and orderly as possible. In addition–
Take your Go Pack.
Take pets only if you are using your own vehicle and going to a place
you know will accept animals. Emergency vehicles and shelters usually
will not accept animals. If you are unable to take your pets you have three
choices: either let your pets loose, leave them to their own trapped in
the house or put them out of their misery. Most will likely release their
pets to the open to fend for themselves, giving them at least a fighting
chance. One thing to consider though is that it may be a good idea to
release cats into the wild but to either kill the family dog or leave it locked
up inside the house as they will become aggressive threats to any human
survivors as pack predators and potential carriers of rabies.
What is Radiation?
Radiation is a form of energy that is present all around us.
Different types of radiation exist, some of which have more energy than others.
Amounts of radiation released into the environment are measured in units called
curies. However, the dose of radiation that a person receives is measured
in units called rem.
How Can Exposure Occur?
People are exposed to small amounts of radiation every day, both from naturally
occurring sources (such as elements in the soil or cosmic rays from
the sun), and man-made sources. Man-made sources include some electronic
equipment (such as microwave ovens and television sets), medical sources
(such as x-rays, certain diagnostic tests, and treatments), and from
nuclear weapons testing.
The amount of radiation from natural or man-made sources to which people
are exposed is usually small; a radiation emergency (such as a nuclear
power plant accident or a terrorist event) could expose people to small
or large doses of radiation, depending on the situation.
Scientists estimate that the average person in the United States receives a dose
of about one-third of a rem per year. About 80% of human exposure comes
from natural sources and the remaining 20% comes from man-made radiation
sources – mainly medical x-rays.
Internal exposure refers to radioactive material that is taken into the body
through breathing, eating, or drinking.
External exposure refers to an exposure to a radioactive source outside of our
Contamination refers to particles of radioactive material that are deposited anywhere
that they are not supposed to be, such as on an object or on a person’s skin.
Effects of Radiation Exposure
Radiation affects the body in different ways, but the adverse health consequences
of exposure may not be seen for many years.
Adverse health effects range from mild effects, such as skin reddening, to serious
effect such as cancer and death. These adverse health effects are determined
by the amount of radiation absorbed by the body (the dose), the type of radiation,
the route of exposure, and the length of time a person is exposed.
Acute radiation syndrome (ARS), or radiation sickness, is usually caused when
a person receives a high dose of radiation, to much for the body to handle in a
matter of minutes. Survivors of the Hiroshima and Nagasaki atomic bombs
and firefighters responding to the Chernobyl nuclear power plant event
in 1986 experienced ARS. The immediate symptoms of ARS are nausea, vomiting,
and diarrhea; later, bone marrow depletion may lead to weight loss,
loss of appetite, feeling like you have the flu, infection, and bleeding.
The survival rate depends on the radiation dose. For those who do survive,
full recovery takes from a few weeks to 2 years.
Children exposed to radiation may be more at risk than adults. Radiation exposure
to the unborn child is of special concern because the human embryo or
fetus is extremely sensitive to radiation.
Radiation exposure, like exposure to the sun, is cumulative.
Protecting Against Radiation Exposure
The three basic ways to reduce radiation exposure are through—
Decrease the amount of time you spend near the source of radiation.
Increase your distance from a radiation source.
Increase the shielding between you and the radiation source. Shielding is anything
that creates a barrier between people and the radiation source. Depending
on the type of radiation, the shielding can range from something as
thin as a plate of window glass or as thick as several feet of concrete.
Being inside a building or a vehicle can provide shielding from some
kinds of radiation while a dust mask or clothing will shield you from others.
Fallout arriving within a few hours after a nuclear explosion is highly radioactive. If it collects on the skin in large enough quantities it can cause beta burns. People who are caught outside in fallout should brush fallout particles off themselves and shake out their outer garments as soon as they get inside. Some people may be carrying umbrellas and wearing raincoats to keep the fallout particles off their skin and hair. Most fallout particles will be like grains of fine, dark sand and can be easily brushed off from dry surfaces. Fallout particles may stick to moist or oily surfaces, including sweaty or oily skin or hair. These surfaces
should be carefully wiped or washed off. If contaminated hair cannot be washed, it should be thoroughly brushed or combed, with frequent shaking and wiping of the hair and also of the brush or comb. It is not necessary to get the last speck of fallout out of the clothing or hair or off the skin. A few grains of fallout carried by each person into the safest parts of the home or shelter will produce no noticeable increase in the radiation hazard and will not be detectable by the radiological instruments. Daily sweeping of the area for hygienic reasons will eliminate most fallout particles that may be carried into the area even after decontamination procedures. After they have shaken out their clothing and wiped off their exposed skin, they should dust off their shoes with a brush or broom before moving further into the shelter and sweep the area. If the shoes are caked with mud or dust, they should be left in the quarantine area or outside. Because the fallout particles will fall down to the floor, decontamination of a person should begin with the
head and end with the feet. Brushing off or removing the shoes will be the last step of decontamination before a person enters the safer parts of your home or shelter.
TAKING POTASSIUM IODIDE (KI)
Potassium iodide, also called KI, only protects a person’s thyroid gland from exposure to radioactive iodine. KI will not protect a person from other radioactive materials or protect other parts of the body from exposure to radiation. It must be taken prior to exposure (for example, if people hear that a radioactive cloud is coming their way) or immediately after exposure to be effective. Taking KI is not recommended unless there is a risk of exposure to radioactive iodine which is a major uranium fission product and of fissionable materials used in nuclear power plants. Taking (KI) is most advisable in the event of a radioactive dirty bomb detonation or meltdown of a nuclear power plant. KI (potassium salts) saturate the thyroid preventing it from absorbing radioactive iodine. The most likely scenario is radioactive fallout from a nuclear power plant meltdown, even possibly fallout originating from far overseas, but would at the most only require 10-14 days protection from radioiodine by taking Potassium Iodide (KI) tablets and having pre-stocked safe food and water in case people panic and stampede food stores.
USING IODINE TO SHIELD AGAINST RADIATION
In an emergency, if you are unable to acquire KI tablets, you can topically (on the skin) apply an iodine solution, like tincture of iodine or Betadine, for a similar protective effect. (WARNING: Iodine is NEVER to be ingested or swallowed, it is poison to drink.) For adults, paint, 8 ml of a 2 percent tincture of Iodine on the abdomen or forearm each day, ideally at least 2 hours prior to initial exposure for absorption. For children 3 to 18, but under 150 pounds, only half that amount painted on daily, or 4 ml. For children under 3 but older than a month, half again, or 2 ml. For newborns to 1 month old, half it again, or just 1 ml. (One measuring teaspoon is about 5 ml, if you don't have a medicine dropper graduated in ml.) If your iodine solution is stronger than 2%, reduce the dosage accordingly.
Absorption through the skin is not as reliable a dosing method as using the tablets, but tests show that it will still be very effective for most. Use half these doses when using 10% providone iodine solution.
DRINKING RED WINE TO SHIELD AGAINST RADIATION
One of the isotopes likely to be released in a fissionable reactor is strontium 90, which is absorbed in the bones as beta radiation because it´s chemically similar to calcium. So you end up with nuked bones cooking you up from the inside out, same as beta radiation from radioactive ash fallout following a nuclear detonation. Wine, and apparently red in particular, contains strontium 85 which is non radioactive, so if you load up on red wine following a nuclear detonation or reactor meltdown, you saturate the amount of strontium your body can absorb with the non-radioactive strontium 85 and thus the bad isotope strontium 90 just passes through in your urine unable to attach to the bones.
DRINKING LIQUOR TO FLUSH RADIATION
Drinking liquor helps flush radioactive alpha particles that have been ingested through your system by acting as a diuretic forcing your body to dump excess water. This of course can probably be achieved by drinking copious amounts of water but would not be anywhere near as much fun. Plus, the effects of alcohol may help alleviate the stress of the situation in which you are currently in. Some argue that another reason to use liquor instead of water is that alcohol makes the blood viscous preventing particles that lodge in the bones from being able to get to the bones and are flushed out in the urine, either way you had me sold at liquor. Apparently this is what the general Russian public was taught during the cold war in order for them to protect themselves following a nuclear war from radiation. They were told to drink vodka as it was their responsibility to the state to remain alive and fit to help rebuild the country in order to ensure they were able to strike back at their enemies, you've gotta love their survivalist mindset.
For more information about radiation, check the following Web sites: www.epa.gov/radiation, or
Should any calamity befall you or your family that changes your situation to one of survival, do you know what to do, where to go, how to get there, what to do once you get there, how to provide for yourself and loved ones or what you will need and how much? Most lack the forethought to plan ahead and prepare themselves for any likelihood other then a flat tire, and even then only because the automobile factory placed it in the vehicle for them. Feel free to read, experiment and improvise what I have put on this site to potentially help you one day.