The following are guidelines for what to do in the event of a nuclear explosion.
Listen for official information and follow the instructions provided by emergency response personnel. Based on what is known about the threat, you may be asked to take shelter, go to a specific location or evacuate the area.
If an attack warning is issued, take cover as quickly as you can, below ground if possible, and stay there until instructed to do otherwise.
Find the nearest building, preferably built of brick or concrete, and go inside to avoid any radioactive material outside.
If better shelter, such as a multi-story building or basement can be reached within a few minutes, go there immediately.
Go as far below ground as possible or in the center of a tall building. The goal is to put as many walls and as much concrete, brick and soil between you and the radioactive material outside.
Stay where you are, even if you are separated from your family. Inside is the safest place for all people in the impacted area. It can save your life.
During the time with the highest radiation levels it is safest to stay inside, sheltered away from the radioactive material outside.
Radiation levels are extremely dangerous after a nuclear detonation but the levels reduce rapidly.
Expect to stay inside for at least 24 hours unless told otherwise by authorities.
When evacuating is in your best interest, you will be instructed to do so. All available methods of communication will be used to provide news and / or instructions.
People in the path of the radioactive material – downwind from the detonation – may also be asked to take protective measures.
If you are caught outside and unable to get inside immediately:
Do not look at the flash or fireball – it can blind you.
Take cover behind anything that might offer protection.
Lie flat on the ground and cover your head. If the explosion is some distance away, it could take 30 seconds or more for the blast wave to hit.
Take shelter as soon as you can, even if you are many miles from ground zero where the attack occurred – radioactive fallout can be carried by the winds for hundreds of miles. Remember the three protective factors: Distance, shielding and time.
If you were outside during or after the blast, get clean as soon as possible, to remove radioactive material that may have settled on your body.
Remove your clothing to keep radioactive material from spreading. Removing the outer layer of clothing can remove up to 90% of radioactive material.
If practical, place your contaminated clothing in a plastic bag and seal or tie the bag. Place the bag as far away as possible from humans and animals so that the radiation it gives off does not affect others.
When possible, take a shower with lots of soap and water to help remove radioactive contamination. Do not scrub or scratch the skin.
Wash your hair with shampoo or soap and water. Do not use conditioner in your hair because it will bind radioactive material to your hair, keeping it from rinsing out easily.
Gently blow your nose and wipe your eyelids and eyelashes with a clean wet cloth. Gently wipe your ears.
If you cannot shower, use a wipe or clean wet cloth to wipe your skin that was not covered by clothing.