The ratcheting up of war talk with North Korea and the possibility of a nuclear attack by North Korea has prompted the mainstream media to discuss a subject that is largely taboo with them: preparedness. Specifically, NBC News has a new article titled, “What Should You Do in Case of Nuclear Attack? ‘Don’t Run. Get Inside.’”
We have been warning our readers about the need to be prepared – for nuclear or biological attacks, attacks on the electrical grid or for natural disasters — and have a plan and stockpile for any conceivable contingency for more than 40 years. And we’ve often been called a crank and a crackpot because of it. Of course preparedness means far more than knowing what to do and what not to do in case of a nuclear attack, which is all NBC tells you.
They don’t tell you because government men don’t want you to be alarmed, according to Irwin Redliner, director of Columbia University’s National Center for Disaster Preparedness.
Redlener, told NBC that informing the public has been slowed by concerns about creating undue alarm. But a worse failing would be to leave people in the dark about simple precautions that could save lives, he said.
“The public should be treated as adults,” Redlener said. “We live in a complicated world and we want people to be prepared.”
But Redliner doesn’t even tell you about the one thing you can do to protect yourself against radiation poisoning. Preparedness is a long-term process and a lifestyle.
Years of novels, television and movie dramatizations have popularized visions of nuke victims flowing out of cities in unruly masses, seeking out radiation-free air. But experts say that finding a route to safety would range from difficult to impossible, given the droves who would be gridlocking freeways.
Survivors of an immediate blast would be much better served by finding cover. A car is better than the open air, while most houses are considerably safer than a car, particularly if there is room to hunker down in a basement.
“Go as far below ground as possible or in the center of a tall building,” says Ready.gov, the website created by FEMA and the Department of Homeland Security. “The goal is to put as many walls and as much concrete, brick and soil between you and the radioactive material outside.” The site recommends staying inside for at least 24 hours, unless authorities recommend coming out sooner.
The sheltering directives go against the basic human instinct to flee and to reunite with family members as quickly as possible, emergency preparedness officials acknowledge. But parents are directed to leave their kids in school or day care, rather than risk driving to them in the radiation-laden atmosphere.
But unless you’ve been stockpiling food, water and other essentials, as we’ve suggested, staying inside longer than 24 hours if utilities are cut off is impractical and will be uncomfortable if not impossible; hence, the need to be prepared.
Here’s an excerpt from my book, “How to Survive the Collapse of Civilization”:
…radioactive energy can penetrate walls, clothing and almost everything else, and the deadliest particles (gamma radiation) can travel up to a mile from ground zero and can penetrate buildings. So you need to put as much between you and the outside as possible. You should have a safe room prepared ahead of time. The more mass you put between yourself and the outside, the more radiation will be absorbed before it reaches you. If there is time you should shield your room with mattresses, blankets, plywood, sheetrock and whatever else you have on hand.
According to the CDC, in a nuclear event, radioactive iodine released into the air can be breathed into the lungs, or contaminate food or water. When radioactive materials get into the body through breathing, eating or drinking, internal contamination has occurred.
In the case of internal contamination with radioactive iodine, the thyroid gland quickly absorbs this chemical. Radioactive iodine absorbed by the thyroid can then injure the gland.
Because non-radioactive Potassium iodide (KI) acts to block radioactive iodine from being taken into the thyroid gland, it can help protect this gland from injury. While KI cannot prevent iodine from entering the body, it can protect the thyroid from absorbing radioactive iodine. KI cannot reverse the health effects caused by radioactive iodine once damage to the thyroid has occurred. KI cannot protect the body from radioactive elements other than radioactive iodine—if radioactive iodine is not present, taking KI is not protective.
The thyroid gland cannot tell the difference between stable and radioactive iodine and will absorb both. KI works by blocking radioactive iodine from entering the thyroid because KI contains so much stable iodine, the thyroid gland becomes “full” and cannot absorb any more iodine — either stable or radioactive — for the next 24 hours.
Since radioactive energy dissipates to 1/100th of its initial strength after 48 hours, you would need to have on hand enough KI to protect you and your family for that long.
You can purchase KI – the one thing you can do that is proven to help protect the body from some effects of radiation poisoning — in tablet form from Amazon. But it’s best to go to your local pharmacy and ask the pharmacist’s recommendations for which potassium iodide to purchase.
In “How to Survive the Collapse of Civilization,” I explain, among other things, how to set up a safe room, how to prepare for most any kind of disaster, what medicinal plants you can find outside your home and much more. You can buy it by going here.
You can also get preparedness tips from our On Your Own section.