Regional Homeland Security Coordinating Committee

This site was created in cooperation with the Regional Homeland Security Coordinating Committee, and is supported by funding from the Department of Homeland Security.

 

Nuclear Threats

A nuclear blast is an explosion with intense light and heat, a damaging pressure wave and widespread radioactive material that can contaminate the air, water and ground surfaces for miles around. During a nuclear incident, it is important to avoid radioactive material, if possible.

If there is advanced warning of an attack

Take cover immediately, as far below ground as possible, though any shield or shelter will help protect you from the immediate effects of the blast and the pressure wave.

If there is no warning

    • Shielding: If you have a thick shield between yourself and the radioactive materials more of the radiation will be absorbed, and you will be exposed to less.
    • Distance: The farther away you are away from the blast and the fallout the lower your exposure.
    • Time: Minimizing time spent exposed will also reduce your risk.

Use available information to assess the situation. If there is a significant radiation threat, health care authorities may or may not advise you to take potassium iodide. Potassium iodide is the same stuff added to your table salt to make it iodized. It may or may not protect your thyroid gland, which is particularly vulnerable, from radioactive iodine exposure. Plan to speak with your health care provider in advance about what makes sense for your family.

Information courtesy of ReadyAmerica.