Saturday, April 02, 2005

"Duck and cover," circa 2005

From the Department of Homeland Security: "What to do during a nuclear or radiological attack." Some helpful tips:
1. Do not look at the flash or fireball-it can blind you.
2. If you hear an attack warning:
* Take cover as quickly as you can, BELOW GROUND IF POSSIBLE, and stay there unless instructed to do otherwise.
* If you are caught outside, unable to get inside immediately, 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.
* 3. Protect yourself from radioactive fallout. If you are close enough to see the brilliant flash of a nuclear explosion, the fallout will arrive in about 20 minutes. Take shelter, even if you are many miles from ground zero-radioactive fallout can be carried by the winds for hundreds of miles. Remember the three protective factors: shielding, distance and time...
If in a fallout shelter, stay in your shelter until local authorities tell you it is permissible or advisable to leave. The length of your stay can range from a day or two to four weeks...
* A 'suitcase' terrorist nuclear device detonated at or near ground level would produce heavy fallout from the dirt and debris sucked up into the mushroom cloud.
* A missile-delivered nuclear weapon from a hostile nation would probably cause an explosion many times more powerful than a suitcase bomb, and provide a greater cloud of radioactive fallout.
* The decay rate of the radioactive fallout would be the same, making it necessary for those in the areas with highest radiation levels to remain in shelter for up to a month.
Here's the last item:
5. Cooperate with shelter managers. Living with many people in confined space can be difficult and unpleasant.
"Difficult and unpleasant!"

At least there's some faint acknowledgement of the emotional aspects of the described circumstances. It's not simply "Duck and cover, kids. Crawl under your desks!" (That was our drill, in grade school.) Who can imagine how "difficult and unpleasant" this would be, if we were attacked?
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