How to Survive a Nuclear Strike (with Pictures)

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How to Survive a Nuclear Strike (with Pictures)
How to Survive a Nuclear Strike (with Pictures)

The Cold War ended more than two decades ago, and since then, many people no longer live under the shadow of radiological and nuclear threats. However, a nuclear strike remains a very real danger. World politics is far from stable, and human behavior has not changed in the last two decades. As Arthur Koestler said, "The longest lasting sound in the history of human life is the sound of the drums of war." As long as nuclear weapons exist, the dangers of using them will also lurk.

Will you be able to survive when a nuclear war breaks out? There are no definite answers, only predictions: some say yes, while others say no. You should know that modern thermonuclear weapons are several hundred times (even thousands of times in their greatest versions) more powerful than the bombs dropped on Hiroshima and Nagasaki in 1945. We certainly cannot imagine what will happen when thousands of These weapons are used at the same time. Some people, especially those living in densely populated areas, may argue that trying to survive a nuclear war is futile. Otherwise, only those who are mentally and logistically prepared and live in remote, unimportant areas will be able to survive.


Method 1 of 2: Prepare

Survive a Nuclear Attack Step 1
Survive a Nuclear Attack Step 1

Step 1. Make a plan

In the event of a nuclear attack, don't travel outside in search of food – you need to stay protected for at least 48 hours, the longer the better. Preparing a supply of food and medicine can relax your mind and allow you to focus on other aspects of survival.

Survive a Nuclear Attack Step 2
Survive a Nuclear Attack Step 2

Step 2. Prepare perishable food stock

Such food can last several years, either in storage or to defend itself after an attack occurs. Choose foods that are high in carbohydrates so you get more calories and store them in a cool, dry place.

  • white rice
  • Wheat
  • Nuts
  • Sugar
  • Honey
  • Oats
  • Pasta
  • Milk powder
  • Dried fruits and vegetables
  • Collect supplies gradually. Every time you go to the grocery store, buy an item or two to spare. In the end, you will have stock for several months.
  • Make sure you have a can opener for canned food.
Survive a Nuclear Attack Step 3
Survive a Nuclear Attack Step 3

Step 3. Save the water

Consider storing water in food-safe plastic containers. Clean the container with bleach and then fill it with filtered or distilled water.

  • Aim to save 4 liters of water per person per day.
  • To purify water during wartime, stock up on bleach and potassium iodide (Lugol).
Survive a Nuclear Attack Step 4
Survive a Nuclear Attack Step 4

Step 4. Purchase communication equipment

The ability to get information and share your position with others can be very useful. Here's what you'll need:

  • Radio: try to find a radio that runs on diesel or has a crank system. If you must use the radio with batteries, make sure you have some spare batteries. Also consider purchasing a NOAA weather radio – to broadcast emergency information 24 hours a day.
  • Whistle: You can blow it for help.
  • Cell phones: cell service may or may not be on, but be prepared for any eventuality. If you can, find a solar charger for your phone.
Survive a Nuclear Attack Step 5
Survive a Nuclear Attack Step 5

Step 5. Gather medical supplies

Availability of medical items can make the difference between life and death if you are injured during an attack. Here are the things you will need:

  • First aid kit: buy the package or make your own. You will need sterile injections and bandages, antibiotic ointment, rubber gloves, scissors, tweezers, a thermometer, and a blanket.
  • Instructions for doing first aid: buy from an organization such as the red cross, or create your own guide with materials from the internet. You'll need to know how to bandage wounds, give artificial respiration, deal with shock, and treat burns.
  • Prescription or stock medications: if you have to take certain medications every day, try to make sure you have an emergency supply.
Survive a Nuclear Attack Step 6
Survive a Nuclear Attack Step 6

Step 6. Buy other necessities

Equip your emergency kit with the following items:

  • Flashlight and battery
  • dust mask
  • Plastic coating and tape
  • Garbage bags, plastic ropes, and wet wipes to take care of personal hygiene
  • Wrench and pliers to turn off facilities such as gas and water
Survive a Nuclear Attack Step 7
Survive a Nuclear Attack Step 7

Step 7. Watch the news

A nuclear attack is likely to occur suddenly from an enemy nation. An attack like this may be preceded by a deteriorating political situation. War with conventional weapons between nuclear-weapon states, if not ended quickly, could escalate and lead to nuclear war; even a nuclear strike confined to a region could lead to nuclear war all over the world. Many countries have a scoring system to determine the level of attack they have experienced. For example, in the US and Canada, you have to study the DEFCON levels (DEFense CONdition).

Survive a Nuclear Attack Step 8
Survive a Nuclear Attack Step 8

Step 8. Analyze risks and consider evacuating yourself if it looks like nuclear war is imminent

If this is not possible, you should consider the type of shelter you are going to build. Learn your distance from the following targets: and plan appropriately:

  • Airfields and naval bases, especially those known to enemy nuclear bombers, ballistic missile submarines, or ICBM silos. These places Certain attacked in a nuclear war.
  • Commercial lines to freeways up to 3,000 m long. All of these usually attacked – even in a limited nuclear war, and Certain become the target of a full-scale nuclear war.
  • Government centers. Most likely attacked in limited nuclear warfare and Certain become the target of a full-scale nuclear war.
  • Large industrial cities and population centers. Very likely attacked in a full-scale nuclear war.
Survive a Nuclear Attack Step 9
Survive a Nuclear Attack Step 9

Step 9. Learn the different types of nuclear weapons:

  • The fission bomb (A-Bomb) is the most standard type of nuclear weapon and is classified into a variety of other weapon classes. The bomb's power is generated by splitting the nucleus (plutonium and uranium) using neutrons; because the uranium or plutonium splitting the atom produces enormous amounts of energy - as well as many more neutron derivatives. These neutrons then cause a very fast nuclear chain reaction. The fission bomb is by far the only nuclear bomb used in warfare. This type of bomb is the most likely to be launched by terrorists.
  • Fusion bomb (H-Bomb), compresses and heats deuterium and tritium (an isotope of hydrogen) using heat energy from the spark plugs of a fission bomb. The two elements that exist then combine and produce enormous energy. Fusion weapons are also known as thermonuclears because deuterium and tritium can only be combined at high temperatures; weapons like this are usually hundreds of times more powerful than the bombs that destroyed Nagasaki and Hiroshima. Most of the US and Russia's strategic arsenal consists of bombs of this type.

Method 2 of 2: Survival in Attack

Survive a Nuclear Attack Step 10
Survive a Nuclear Attack Step 10

Step 1. Immediately seek shelter

In addition to geopolitical warning signs, there will usually be an alarm or warning signal to signal a nuclear strike; or the explosion of the nuclear bomb. The bright light that emerges as a result of the release of a nuclear weapon can also be seen within kilometers of its launch point. If you're in the blast radius (or ground zero), your chances of survival are zero, unless you take cover in a place that has a VERY, VERY great explosion-proof system. If you're within a few kilometers of the detonation point, you'll have about 10-15 seconds to run before being hit by the heat wave, and maybe 20-30 seconds before being hit by the shockwave. You must not see the fireball created for any reason. On a sunny day, this can cause temporary blindness. However, the actual damage radius varies greatly depending on the size of the bomb used, the height of the explosion, and even the weather conditions when the bomb exploded.

  • If you can't find shelter, find a shorter area near the explosion point and lie down on your back. Cover the skin as much as possible. If there was no place like this at all, dig as much land as possible. Even within an 8 kilometer radius, you will suffer third degree burns; while a distance of 32 kilometers can still cause your skin to burn. The winds generated by the explosion will blow at a speed of about 960 kilometers per hour, and will destroy everything or everyone affected by the gust.
  • If all of the above options are not feasible, enter a building only if you are sure that it will not be damaged by explosions and significant heat generation. At least, the building is able to protect you from the dangers of radiation. You will know whether your choice is right or not depending on the construction of the building and how close it is to the explosion point. Stay away from all windows, if possible, take shelter in a windowless room; even if the building is not damaged, a nuclear explosion will shatter windows at a great distance.
  • If you live in Switzerland or Finland, check if your house has an atomic bunker. If not, find out where the shelter is in your village/town/district and how to get there. Remember: you can always find shelter for atomic hazards in Switzerland. When sirens sound in Switzerland, it is recommended that you alert those who may not be able to hear them (eg due to deafness) and then listen to the National Radio Services (RSR, DRS and/or RTSI) broadcasts.
  • Stay away from explosive or flammable objects. Materials such as nylon or any other oil-based material will ignite due to nuclear heat.
Survive a Nuclear Attack Step 11
Survive a Nuclear Attack Step 11

Step 2. Remember that exposure to radiation can cause many deaths

  • Initial radiation. This radiation is released at the time of the explosion, and is short lived and radiates only a short distance. In modern nuclear weapons with a wide blast radius, this radiation can kill those who survive after being hit by a heat wave or an explosion at the same distance.
  • Residual radiation. This radiation is also known as fallout radiation. If an explosion occurs on the surface or a fireball hits the earth, this radiation will appear. Dust and debris are hurled into the atmosphere and then fall back, carrying high amounts of radiation. Fallout rain may be black and is referred to as "black rain". This rain is very dangerous and the temperature may be extreme. Fallout rain will contaminate everything it touches.

    Once you survive the explosion and the initial radiation, you should immediately seek shelter from the residual radiation.

Survive a Nuclear Attack Step 12
Survive a Nuclear Attack Step 12

Step 3. Identify the types of radiation particles

Before continuing to read the article, you must master the three types below:

  • Alpha Particles: these particles are the weakest. When an attack occurs, these particles are not very dangerous. Alpha particles will stay only a few inches high in the air before being absorbed by the atmosphere. The risk is small, however, still fatal if swallowed or inhaled. You can wear standard clothing to protect yourself from Alpha particles.
  • Beta Particles: are faster than Alpha particles and travel longer distances. Beta particles will reach a height of up to 10 meters before being absorbed by the atmosphere. Exposure to beta particles is not fatal, except over a long period of time – it can lead to a "Beta burn" condition, which is similar to sunburn. Beta particles are harmful to the eyes, as well as if swallowed or inhaled. Wear clothes to prevent Beta burn conditions.
  • Gamma rays: are the most lethal particles. These rays can travel up to several km in the air and will penetrate any barrier. The radiation will cause serious damage to the body's internal organs, even if it occurs only externally. You have to hide behind a thick layer of objects.

    • The PF level of radiation in a shelter will tell you the amount of radiation that can hit a person compared to if he was in an open space. For example, an RPF of 300 means that you will receive 1/300 of the radiation inside the shelter than outside it.
    • Avoid exposure to Gamma radiation. Try to limit the hazard time to no more than 5 minutes. If you live in a rural area, look for caves or empty logs that you can crawl into. Alternatively, you can dig a trench and fortify it with stacked soil.
Survive a Nuclear Attack Step 13
Survive a Nuclear Attack Step 13

Step 4. Start strengthening the shelter from the inside by stacking soil or whatever else you can find around the walls

If you're in a trench, make a roof – only do this if the building materials are readily available – don't expose yourself to risk when it's not needed. The canvas material of the parachute or tent will help hold the falling debris out, although it can't stop the Gamma rays. Protecting yourself completely from all radiation is physically impossible. Use the following reference to determine the amount of material you need to reduce the radiation penetration rate to 1/1,000:

  • Steel: 21cm
  • Stone: 70-100 cm
  • Cement: 66 cm
  • Timber: 2.6 m
  • Ground: 1 m
  • Ice: 2 m
  • Snow: 6 m
Survive a Nuclear Attack Step 14
Survive a Nuclear Attack Step 14

Step 5. Plan to stay in the shelter for at least 200 hours (8-9 days)

You must not leave the shelter for any reason in the first forty-eight hours.

  • The reason is that you should avoid the "fission products" created by nuclear explosions. Fission is the most dangerous type of radioactive iodine. Fortunately, radioiodine doesn't last long (it's only 8 days old before it decomposes naturally and forms a safer isotope). However, be aware that after 8-9 days the air will still contain a lot of radioiodine, so limit your time outside. The time required for the radioiodine level to decrease to 0.1% of its initial amount may be 90 days.
  • Other fission nuclear products are cesium and strontium. These two ions have a longer lifespan, up to 30 and 28 years, respectively. Cesium and Strontium are also easily absorbed by living things and harm food products for decades. These materials can be carried by air for thousands of kilometers – so if you think you are safe because you live in a remote place, you are wrong.
Survive a Nuclear Attack Step 15
Survive a Nuclear Attack Step 15

Step 6. Perform supply sharing

You must divide the available supplies in order to survive; then in the end you still have to go out and be exposed to radiation (unless your shelter has plenty of food and drink in stock).

  • You can eat processed foods as long as the container doesn't crack and remains intact.
  • You can eat animals, but they must be carefully skinned and their heart, liver and kidneys removed. Do not eat meat close to the bone, because the marrow can store radiation.

    • Eat pigeons or pigeons
    • Eat wild rabbit
  • Plants growing in the "hot zone" are edible; especially tubers (such as carrots and potatoes). Do a food test on these plants. Read How to Test If a Plant Is Edible.
  • Open water sources may contain radiation and harmful particles. Water from an underground source, such as a spring or covered well, is the best option (consider also creating a solar-based water source). Use water from streams and lakes only if there is no other option. Make a filter by digging a hole about 30 cm from the river and taking only the water that has been absorbed by the filter. The water may look dirty or muddy, so let the sediment settle down first. Then, boil the water to kill the bacteria. If you are in a building, the water in it is usually safe. If there's no water (it probably is), use the water that's already in the pipes by opening the faucet at the highest point in the house to let air blow in, then opening the faucet at the lowest point in the house to filter it.

    • Look for instructions on how to get emergency water from a water heater.
    • Know how to purify water.
Survive a Nuclear Attack Step 16
Survive a Nuclear Attack Step 16

Step 7. Put on all clothing (hat, gloves, safety glasses, closed collared T-shirt, etc

), especially when you are about to go outside the shelter. This is important to prevent Beta burn conditions. Decontaminate by shaking clothes and washing them with water and cleaning all exposed skin. The accumulated residue will eventually cause burns.

Survive a Nuclear Attack Step 17
Survive a Nuclear Attack Step 17

Step 8. Treat thermal and radiation wounds

  • Minor burns: Also known as Beta burn (although it may be caused by other particles). Soak the burned area in cold water until the pain subsides (usually for 5 minutes).

    • If your skin starts to ooze, crack, or a rash develops; rinse with cold water to remove contaminants, then cover with a sterile compress to prevent infection. Don't pop any boils!

    • If your skin is clean, don't cover it, even when you cover most of your body (such as when you have a sunburn). Wash the injured area and apply Vaseline or a mixture of baking soda and water if available. You can also use moist soil that is free of contamination.
  • Severe burns: also known as thermal burns, as they mostly occur as a result of heat from a high-intensity explosion instead of ionizing particles (though it's still possible). These burns can be life threatening; You have to take everything into account as risk factors: lack of water, shock, lung damage, infection, etc. Follow the steps below to treat severe burns.

    • Protect the burn from possible further contamination.
    • If clothing covers the burned area, cut and remove clothing from the wound. DO NOT attempt to remove clothing that is stuck to or has adhered to the burn. DO NOT pull clothes over it. DO NOT apply any ointment on the burn. Better yet, contact the Medical Therapy Unit.
    • Wash the burned area ONLY with water. DO NOT apply creams or ointments.
    • DO NOT use ordinary sterile medical drugs that are not intended to heal burns. Since nonstick burn ointments (and other medical supplies) may not be plentiful, you can use plastic wrap as an alternative (eg advice wrap, food wrap, cling film). These wraps are sterile, do not stick to the wound, and are easy to find.
    • Prevent shock. Shock here is not ordinary shock, but speaks of a lack of blood flow to vital tissues and organs. If not treated, the consequences can be fatal. Shock occurs as a result of excessive blood loss, deep burns, or reactions to wounds/blood. Symptoms include a feeling of constant wakefulness, thirst, pale skin, and a fast heart rate. The sufferer may also sweat, even when the skin is cool and healthy. As the symptoms worsen, he will be short of breath and his eyes will go blank. To perform the treatment, you must maintain a normal heart rate and breathing. Do this by massaging the chest and adjusting the patient's position to make it easier to breathe. Loosen all ties of clothing and body support. Remain confident and treat the patient with gentleness and confidence.
Survive a Nuclear Attack Step 18
Survive a Nuclear Attack Step 18

Step 9. If you want, help people with radiation sickness, also known as Radiation Syndrome

The disease is not contagious, and it all depends on the amount of radiation a person absorbs. Here's the short version of the chart:

Survive a Nuclear Attack Step 19
Survive a Nuclear Attack Step 19

Step 10. Familiarize yourself with radiation units

(Gy (gray) = is the SI unit used to measure the dose of ionizing radiation absorbed by the body. 1 Gy = 100 rad. Sv (Sievert) = is the SI unit of equivalent dose, 1 Sv = 100 REM. Simply put, 1 Gy is usually equivalent with 1 Sv.)

  • Less than 0.05 Gy: No visible symptoms.
  • 0.05-0.5 Gy: The number of red blood cells will decrease temporarily.
  • 0.5-1 Gy: Decreased production of immune cells; sufferers are susceptible to infection; and may feel nauseous, have a headache, and vomit. This amount of radiation is usually harmless even if it is not treated.
  • 1.5-3 Gy: 35% of sufferers will die within 30 days. Patients will experience nausea, vomiting, and experience hair loss all over the body.
  • 3-4 Gy: This is a severe stage of radiation poisoning. 50% of patients will die after 30 days. Other symptoms are similar to doses of 2–3 Sv, with uncontrolled bleeding from the mouth, under the skin, and in the kidneys (50% probability at 4 Sv) after entering the latent phase.
  • 4-6 Gy: This is the acute stage of radiation poisoning. 50% of patients will die after 30 days. The fatality rate increased from 60% at a dose of 4.5 Sv to 90% at a dose of 6 Sv (unless there was intense medical treatment). Symptoms begin within half to two hours after radiation and last up to 2 days. After that, there is a latent phase of 7 to 14 days, with the same general symptoms at a dose of 3-4 Sv irradiation, only the intensity increases. Women usually become barren. Healing usually takes several months to a year. The main causes of death at this stage (usually within 2 to 12 weeks after radiation) are infection and internal bleeding.
  • 6-10 Gy: Acute radiation levels, with nearly 100% of sufferers dying after 14 days. Survival depends on intensive medical care. Bone marrow is completely destroyed or almost completely destroyed, so the patient should receive a bone marrow transplant. Gastric and intestinal tissues are also severely damaged. Symptoms will appear within 15 to 30 minutes after radiation and last up to 2 days. There is a latent phase for 5 to 10 days, after which the patient will die of infection or internal bleeding. The healing process takes years and may never be completed. Devair Alves Ferreira received a radiation dose of about 7.0 at the Goiânia incident and survived, in part because his exposure was incomplete.
  • 12-20 REM: 100% mortality rate at this stage; the symptoms will appear soon. The gastrointestinal system was also completely destroyed. Uncontrolled bleeding will occur in the mouth, under the skin, and in the kidneys. Patients are also easily tired and sick. The symptoms are the same as the intensity increases. It is impossible for the patient to recover.
  • More than 20 REM: The same symptoms will appear immediately and get worse, then subside over several days in a phase known as a "walking ghost". Suddenly, gastrointestinal cells are destroyed, water in the body is released, and bleeding occurs. Death begins with a state of delirium and mental breakdown. When the brain is no longer able to control bodily functions such as breathing and regulating blood circulation, the sufferer will die. There is no medical therapy to cure it; Treatment measures can only relieve the pain experienced by the patient.
  • Unfortunately, you have to accept the fact that someone might die soon. Don't waste food supplies or stocks for those about to die of radiation sickness (even if it sounds cruel). Keep stock only for those who are healthy and fit. Radiation sickness often occurs in very young children, the elderly, or those who are sick.
Survive a Nuclear Attack Step 20
Survive a Nuclear Attack Step 20

Step 11. Protect critical electrical equipment against EMP hazards

Nuclear weapons detonated at extreme heights will create electromagnetic waves that are very strong and capable of destroying electrical and electronic devices. To prevent it, unplug all devices from the power socket and antenna. Placing the radio and flashlight in a SEALED metal case ("Faraday cage") can help protect it from EMP, as long as they don't touch the lid. The metal guard on the container must also completely cover the object. It can help if you put it on the ground.

  • The items you protect must be insulated from their conductive cases, as EMP fields hitting the shield can still create current in a primed circuit board. A metal-coated "space blanket" (worth around Rp. 26 thousand) wrapped around the device in newspaper or cotton can serve as Faraday's protection, especially if it is far from the point of explosion.
  • Another method is to wrap the cardboard in a copper box or aluminum sheet. Place the item you want to protect in it and bury it in the ground.
Survive a Nuclear Attack Step 21
Survive a Nuclear Attack Step 21

Step 12. Prepare for further attacks

Usually, a nuclear attack doesn't just happen once. Be prepared for the possibility of further attacks or attacks by opposing countries, or the invasion of attackers.

  • Keep your shelter intact, unless the materials used are absolutely essential for survival. Collect all available clean water and excess food.
  • However, if the opposing side attacks again, it is usually carried out in another part of your country. If all the methods in this article don't work, stay in a cave.


  • Make sure you wash everything, especially food, even if it's in a shelter.
  • Beware the military! They might appear, as well as people dressed in anti-radiation. They are usually harmless if you can tell which one is from your country and which one is from the other side!
  • Make sure you don't tell anyone what you have and how much.
  • Stay up to date with the latest developments on government directives and announcements.
  • Don't go outside unless you have anti-radiation suits and need to find nukes or tanks.
  • Build shelter ahead of time. Shelters can be made using cellars or wine cellars. However, many housing estates today no longer have them; if so, consider building a community or private shelter in your backyard.


  • Take the time to learn all you can about emergency situations. Every minute spent learning about "what to do and what's safe" will help you save time when you need it most. Hoping for optimism and luck in a situation like this is foolish.
  • Even after the situation is safe, the government will enforce the crisis law. Bad things can still happen, so stay hidden until it's safe. Generally, if you see tanks (except for opposing tanks), this means that the government order is starting to recover.
  • Do not drink, eat, or have body contact with plants, river water, or any metal objects found in unfamiliar areas.
  • Respond to a counterattack or a second explosion in your area. If this happens, wait another 200 hours (8-9 days) since the last explosion.
  • Don't expose yourself. No one knows how many times a person can be exposed to radiation before he or she catches the disease. Usually this dose is 100-150 roentgen, but the patient can still survive because the level of the disease is mild. Even if you don't die from radiation sickness, you can still get cancer as a result later in life.
  • Stay calm, especially when you're leading. This is important to maintain the morale of others. Uncertain situations require you to think clearly.

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