Current tensions from wars like that of Vladimir Putin, fully nuclear-armed states like North Korea, the existence of rogue states and the apparent revival of nuclear power put us in a fatal situation.
Who presses the “red button” first or when does a reactor accident happen?
While this guide is specifically designed to help you survive a nuclear attack or war, the same tips can also be applied in the event of a Chornobyl-style nuclear disaster.
You probably think it’s impossible to survive a nuclear bomb being dropped near you
After all, this is an incredibly destructive force, destroying almost everything in its immediate vicinity, right?
Yes and no.
Sure, a nuclear strike is enormously deadly, but there are ways and means that you can also survive this apocalyptic event.
In order to be able to do this, however, you should first understand how a nuclear strike works and what exactly its effects are. The same applies, of course, to a reactor accident.
In view of this, this article will give you an insight into how a nuclear bomb works and how it works and you will find out when and where you have the chance to survive.
A first overview
As you know, a nuclear bomb is the ultimate instrument of destruction, pulverizing everything and everyone in its vicinity. However, it is not the explosion alone that makes the bomb so dangerous.
Even small nuclear strikes, so-called “tactical nuclear strikes” or “tactical nukes” are capable of causing enormous damage. They don’t even need a fraction of the explosive power of their larger cousins.
Even so, this explosion is powerful enough to ignite or pulverize any combustible material, including clothing and flesh, in a matter of milliseconds.
This is true even if you are a few miles from the explosion.
If you are one of the “lucky ones” who survive the nuclear attack more or less unscathed, there is still a high probability of suffering from it.
The radioactive radiation emanating from the bomb will make you sick or kill you within days or weeks.
In particular, the radioactive dust that will fall to the ground after the explosion can cause severe radiation damage even if it comes into contact with the skin. If you are temporarily exposed to all of this, the risk of cancer increases rapidly and exponentially.
That’s not a very rosy outlook, correct? As you have often read in this blog, being a prepper involves a whole package of realism, which is why you only get facts described here.
But don’t worry, there are solutions for everything.
The first step: understanding the atomic bomb and nuclear weapons
Before you start planning, you should first understand what mechanisms work in a nuclear bomb and what makes it so dangerous. As in other areas, “knowledge is power” applies here.
An atomic bomb is a killing tool par excellence, both in the short term and in the long term.
It is all the more important for you to understand how it works. In this way, you can develop techniques and make plans that will ensure your survival. Above all, 5 primary factors make a nuclear attack so dangerous for you:
- shock wave
- Ionizing radiation
- Fallout (radioactive fallout)
- Electromagnetic Pulse (EMP)
In addition to these 5 primary factors, the enormous radius of the atomic bomb also plays a role.
A 2020 study commissioned by Greenpeace found that a small 20-kiloton nuclear bomb on Berlin would already kill 145,000 and damage within a 6km radius.
So that you can assess the 5 primary factors a little more precisely, the next sections will shed some light on them for you.
This article is not intended to scare you, just to convince you of the importance of understanding the nuclear weapon as a whole and developing the ability to survive despite its tremendous destructive power.
1. The shock wave
As with any explosion, the number one source of destruction is the shock wave and the fireball that goes with it. The further away you are from the explosion, the less it can affect you.
In the vicinity of ground zero, i.e. the point of impact, there is no hope of survival. In the closer radius of the explosion, all matter is pulverized within milliseconds. Most nuclear bombs emit not just one shock wave, but at least two.
So if you are far enough away from the blast and found a way to take cover, stay there at least until all the blasts have passed over you.
Usually, a blast wave repels its surroundings with incredible force, then attracts them back in and then repels them again with slightly less force.
2. The flash of light
The flash of light threatens you together with the heat radiation that occurs. If you look into the flash of light, severe eye damage can be the immediate result.
Important: Even if you are far away from the explosion, the flash of light can still blind you from several kilometres away, so avoid any eye contact!
The thermal radiation will shoot at you with extreme heat. Severe burns and ignition of combustible materials are possible even at a great distance.
How strong these two factors depend on the force of the explosion and the size of the fireball.
3. Ionizing Radiation
Now we come to a slightly more subtle method of killing: ionizing radiation. This is a collective term for many forms of radioactive radiation released when a nuclear bomb explodes.
Some forms of radiation are absorbed through the respiratory system, and other forms are through the skin. If you come into contact with it, you can often expect irreversible damage to your DNA.
Depending on the amount of radiation you’re exposed to, you’ll get better or worse off. Low levels of radiation can cause radiation sickness, but it won’t necessarily kill you (instantly).
Higher doses of radiation can potentially kill you within a few hours or even minutes.
4. Fallout (Radioactive Fallout)
Radioactive fallout is one of the most long-range threats from a nuclear attack.
The powerful explosion ejects radioactive particles high into the air. What flies up must also come down over time.
This radioactive precipitation, also called fallout, can have the same effect as the previously mentioned ionizing radiation.
After all, this is nothing more than matter raining down, filled to the brim with radioactive radiation.
5. Electromagnetic Pulse (EMP)
The electromagnetic pulse does not damage organic matter, including you, directly.
Rather, it ensures that all nearby electronics stop working. The problem with this is that it also means any vital infrastructure, such as hospitals or public transport networks.
This makes caring for the wounded or a coordinated escape enormously difficult or even impossible.
What can be concluded from this?
After all this information, you’re probably not exactly convinced that there’s any way at all to more or less survive a nuclear attack. That you think so is more than understandable.
However, there are ways and means that will help you survive such a scenario. At least that’s true if you prepare yourself properly.
But as a prepper and friend of crisis prevention, that’s to be expected of you, isn’t it?
Surviving Nuclear War: What’s the best way to prepare?
To prepare as well as possible in the event of a nuclear catastrophe, you should pay particular attention to two main aspects: supplies and protection.
Protection is designed to help you survive the immediate threat of explosion, shockwave, and heat, provided you have enough time to retreat to your shelter.
The supplies are mainly for your long-term survival when the local infrastructure has collapsed.
So that you know what you should have on hand to survive the nuclear attack, the next few lines contain a list of the most important utensils.
1. Food and water
You probably won’t need to be told this, but you should carry at least about 72 hours’ worth of water and food with you.
If the infrastructure has collapsed, it will take a while before the first evacuation measures can be coordinated and started.
If you are dependent on being alone for a long time, you will probably not have access to supermarkets or the like, which is why you can only rely on your own supply measures.
2. Protective gear
Of course, you could also throw yourself into a full NBC protective suit including an NBC protective mask, but that is not necessary.
Always have gloves and respirators handy so you don’t run the risk of ingesting radioactive particles through your airways or mouth.
So that you don’t misunderstand anything: If you can handle an NBC protective suit, this will certainly help you the most. Don’t forget, however, that this is a timed game where time is no friend.
3. Radio and walkie-talkies
In case of an emergency, you should definitely carry a radio and emergency two-way radios with you. Both should be battery or crank operated.
Whatever happens, most government directives and information will still be available over the radio, so be sure to remain receptive to them.
But keep in mind that it can take a while for the frequencies to get through to you. Shortly after the bomb detonates, it will probably not be possible to receive any signals at all.
4. Medical equipment
It goes without saying that you should carry at least one first-aid kit with you per person. It is best to also provide options for treating burns, for example with special bandages.
Potassium iodide and charcoal tablets are particularly important in your situation. Both help you, at least to a certain extent, against the radioactive dose that is stressing you.
You should also have the option of cooling. This can be especially after the flash of light and the subsequent heat wave.
5. Change of clothes
Logically, you should change the clothes you were wearing during the detonation and the horror that followed (if they are still in one piece).
If possible, pack the spare clothing well so that you have fresh and non-radioactive clothing ready.
6. Lighting options
Once the nuclear strike has had its full effect, the lights will usually go out first. So have flashlights, lanterns, candles or other lighting options ready.
Especially at night, you want to be able to find your way around despite the lack of electricity. Keep in mind that the flashlight, like the emergency radio, should be battery or crank operated.
What some preppers like to neglect are hygiene items. Depending on your needs, you should always have disinfectants, soap, rubbish bags, baby wipes, wet wipes, powder and the like at hand.
If you are wondering how important personal hygiene is in such a situation, take a close look at the hygienic conditions in the Middle Ages and their consequences.
Without electricity and a functioning sewage system, your personal hygiene will suffer enormously, at least without preparation.
Inflammation, disease and serious plagues can result – and let’s face it, dangerous wound infections or plagues are the last things you need in your current situation.
8. Acquire skills
The world around us is constantly changing. It can be difficult to keep up with the changes. But it’s important to have skills that will help you weather a crisis or disaster.
The most important skill is critical thinking and problem-solving. You should also be able to communicate well and collaborate with others. These skills not only help in a crisis but also in everyday life.
Examples of skills you should acquire:
- develop a plan for a crisis
- know how to make fire
- camouflage and be the “grey man”.
- Apply first aid
- navigation and orientation
Where is the best place to stay?
In addition to all the preparation related to your materials, your whereabouts play at least as important a role.
For this reason, the first thing you should do is explore your immediate surroundings and look for safe places.
Therefore, mainly check the places where you stay for a longer period of time, such as your job, your home or with friends and relatives. Always know how to get to a safe and secure place quickly.
The rule of thumb is the more massive the building, the better protected you are.
Underground structures can also serve as protection, especially from radioactive fallout. Even if you don’t have the means or time to reach the shelter of your choice, stay inside a building whenever possible.
A normal vehicle does not offer you any protection, neither from the blast wave nor from the radioactivity. In the open, you are fully exposed to the deadly power of a nuclear strike anyway.
So quickly seek refuge in the most massive building you can reach and stay there!
You should also think about where you currently live. Normally no one would throw blunt nuclear bombs on cities nowadays without wiping out strategically valuable targets.
So check whether you currently live near such a strategically important destination.
Do you live right next to the Chancellery or another important government body? Is your house maybe just a few hundred meters from a major military base or right in the industrial area, along with chemical plants?
If so, then unfortunately there is bad news: a nuclear strike in these areas is more likely than anywhere else.
If you can’t cope with this risk, you should actually think about moving, or even better prepare yourself.
But remember, in the immediate blast radius of a nuclear bomb, all that’s left is dust. If so, then you should at least not be directly at a strategically important goal.
If you’ve already received a warning…
…you’ve received a small, but by no means insignificant, benefit that will allow you to survive the inevitable disaster.
Should the government or any other legitimate authority put everything on alert or a curfew, you have a maximum of half an hour before the impact of this weapon of mass destruction occurs.
In order for you to use this time appropriately, a predetermined plan is essential and can ensure your survival.
Take all the tips above to heart: take cover, don’t look into the flash of light or the direction of the blast, and protect what you have as best you can from the nuclear blast!
What if you survived the bomb?
If you survived the nuclear attack more or less in one piece and were able to act, the next few hours and days are crucial.
Be sure to stay indoors to avoid radioactive fallout. The good news is that its harmful effects also wear off over time.
It’s especially important to keep the dangerous radiation away from you and your loved ones over the next few days, which is why you should follow all the tips and tricks you’ve learned so far.
Discard contaminated clothing, stay indoors, practice personal hygiene, and try to stay in touch with the outside world via radio and radio.
Help for your fellow human beings
If possible, you should avoid going outside on your own to find other people.
The danger of being acutely contaminated and killed by the dangerous radiation is too great. Try to keep in touch with the outside world, but always remain protected.
If other people come to you, take all possible decontamination measures. This includes changing clothes and cleaning the body.
questions and answers
Is a nuclear war possible?
Nuclear war is fundamentally possible in any country. However, it is very unlikely that a nuclear war will take place.
Can you survive a nuclear attack?
The odds of surviving a nuclear attack depend on a number of factors. Among other things, the size and type of the weapon, the height and angle of the detonation, and the proximity of the explosion to buildings or other objects. In general, however, the chances of surviving an attack are very slim.
What does nuclear winter mean?
Nuclear winter is a hypothesis that a global nuclear war could lead to a cooling of the Earth due to the vast amounts of soot and dust that would rise into the atmosphere.
What is the fallout from a nuclear bomb?
Fallout is the radioactive fallout that settles on Earth after a nuclear war. The term can also refer to the radioactive debris that falls to the ground after the explosion.
What happens if a nuclear bomb hits your city?
If a nuclear bomb hits your city, there is a high probability that you will die. The bomb will cause a huge explosion that will destroy everything around. The radioactivity from the bomb can also cause people in the area to get sick or die.
How can I best protect myself from radiation in a nuclear attack?
The best way to protect yourself from radiation in a nuclear attack is to stay in a bomb shelter. Protective bunkers offer the best protection against radioactive radiation.
How does Europe protect itself from an attack with nuclear weapons?
There is no definite answer to this question. Europe could protect itself by arming itself with nuclear weapons, but this would also carry the risk of escalation. Another possibility would be to rely on deterrence and hope that no state would dare use nuclear weapons against Europe.
Bottom Line: You can survive a nuclear attack with a mixture of luck and diligent preparation
As mentioned at the beginning, if you are in the immediate vicinity of the explosion, you will not be left as dust, if at all.
However, if you are far enough away, prepared properly and found shelter, there is a chance of surviving such a powerful catastrophe. The same goes for your loved ones, of course.
As always with prepping, a clear head and proper preparation will help you overcome any challenge.