Have you watched the new HBO documentary about Chernobyl? It’s completely terrifying–and it made me think about what a smart survivalist could do if something like that happened here.
What Exactly Happened in Chernobyl?
A little background. In case you need a refresher, on the night of April 25, 1986, a safety test went horribly wrong at the Chernobyl Nuclear Power Plant in the town of Pripyat. The resulting disaster created a fire that burned for more than a week and nuclear poisoning that claimed more than a hundred lives.
Pripyat remains a ghost town to this day–and scientists estimate that it will be more than 20,000 years before the land is safe again.
Although nuclear power plants have become safer since then–and, thankfully, Chernobyl remains the worst nuclear disaster in history–no plant is 100% safe. Just ask the people living near the Fukushima Daiichi Power Plant in 2011, when an earthquake led to a massive meltdown and explosion.
If you live anywhere near a nuclear power plant, you need to be prepared for another Chernobyl. Even if you don’t live near a plant, you should know how to protect yourself and your family in the event of a nuclear attack. It may not be the Cold War anymore, but the nuclear threat is more real than ever thanks to emerging powers like North Korea.
Dangers of Radiation
Outside of a one-mile radius around a nuclear blast or reactor meltdown, you’ll be safe from the initial disaster. Unfortunately, the problems are just beginning after the first blast.
After about 15 minutes, nuclear fallout will start to rain down. That’s the very narrow window you’ll have to find a shelter–ideally, one that’s underground, or at least without any windows or external doors. This shelter should be stocked with, at minimum, 72 hours of supplies.
If you were caught outside, it’s vital that you decontaminate as quickly as possible. That means removing your outer layer of clothing and bagging it up immediately. You then need to wash your skin and hair with soap and water. If you can’t get to a shower, use wipes and focus on your hands and face. Those wipes, as well as any towels you use, should also get bagged.
Build a Radiation Emergency Kit
The key component of a radiation emergency kit is a supply of potassium iodide pills. Radioactive iodine is a byproduct of a nuclear blast. The airborne compound can spread for hundreds of miles–an invisible enemy intent on attacking your body. Specifically, you’ll need to shield your thyroid by taking potassium iodide pills.
It’s also vital that you have water filtration systems specifically designed for radiation. As mentioned above, you’ll also need some way to decontaminate, such as specially create wipes for your skin. Aside from that, you should have face masks, plastic bags, duct tape–all standard supplies for any emergency kit.