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Nuclear War Won’t Be Like Hollywood Portrays It- Part 2, by 3ADscout

If you believe the Hollywood hype, you are probably like many people (prepper or not) who don’t even bother to prepare for nuclear attack and hope that you go quick if it happens. Yet, with some basic knowledge and pre-planning, you can survive. We are taking a look at what is required to do this. In part 1, radiation basics and principles of protection were discussed as well as the importance of location. Let’s continue to discuss what can be done to prepare for survival.

Home Construction

Your home should also have been built after 1946. This is because home construction techniques before 1946 did not physically attach the home to the basement walls; thus, a powerful wind, blast, or even an earthquake can move the home off its basement foundation.

It is not desirable for your home to have been built with the newer, light-weight construction products/techniques of today and the past decade. Homes/buildings built with the light-weight construction are not built to survive anything except “normal” conditions.

Complete Loss of Home Built With OSB Board and Glue

I was talking to a local fire chief who responded to a small kitchen fire in a very new house. He was shocked to see the whole house being totally torn down several days later. He stopped and talked to the home owner who said that the insurance company deemed it a complete loss due to the smoke and water damage, the water damage being the the major issue. The home was less than 10 years old and built with lots of OSB board and glue.

Blinding Flash and Heat

Besides the blast, you may also have to contend with the blinding flash from detonation. People out to 13 miles away in daylight can suffer from “flash blindness”. The range at night can reach almost 53 miles, depending upon cloud conditions.

Along with the flash is the heat. Those inside the five mile radius of the blast that are not protected will suffer third degree burns. First degree burns can be expected to those unprotected out to about seven miles. However, something as simple as wearing dark clothes may increase your heat impacts, due to darker colors absorbing more heat.


There is also the initial radiation that is released from the bomb which is mostly in the form of gamma and some neutron rays within the first few minutes of the blast. After that, there is the residual radiation or fallout, which can be alpha, beta and/or gamma.

All Around Us in Our Everyday Lives

The average person understands little about radiation, thus it creates undue fear when people with no understanding think about it. Radiation is all around us in our everyday lives. We receive radiation from the sun. It’s emitted from rocks, et cetera. This is commonly referred to as “background radiation”.

Geiger Counters/Meters

Since radiation cannot be detected without meters, it is vital that your preps include metering devices– a Geiger counter. In our shelter area I keep a sticky note with the background level of radiation detected in the shelter area by one of our CDV-700 Geiger counters/meters.

CDV-700 Geiger Counter/Meter

This model (the CDV-700) has a silver probe, which is often referred to as a hot dog probe. It can detect lower levels of radiation (beta) and is the go-to meter to detect if someone is contaminated or clean. On my sticky note, I also wrote what meter it was taken with.


Some people get uptight about calibration; I don’t. If I know what meter and the background reading that that particular meter read, whether calibrated or not, and then fallout arrives, you will still be a able to ascertain how much fallout there is by taking the current meter reading and subtracting your original background reading. This also assumes that your meter is working.

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Check Source Button

Many meters have a “check source” button on the side of the meter. The check source allows the operator to ensure that the meter is working. If your CDV-700 does not have a check source button, look for a set of white gas lantern mantels that still use thorium, which is slightly radioactive. Note that Coleman stopped using Thorium around the year 2000, but many other manufacturers still use thorium. The thorium in the mantels will be enough for the CDV-700 to start clicking with the “Hot Dog” probe shield open. To learn more on these meters look on YouTube, which is full of civil defense training films specifically on these models of meters.

CD-715 Meter

While the CDV-700 is good for detecting lower levels of radiation and for performing contamination surveys, you may also want to obtain a CD-715, which is for very high levels of radiation. Short of being down wind of a nuclear weapons blast, this meter is relatively useless.


The other metering you will need is dosimeters. There are several civil defense types, but you will need one for each person that read mili-roentgens (m/R) and one that reads roentgens. You will also need a charger to zero the dosimeters.

You should also have pre-printed dosimeter logs to log each person’s accumulated dose by writing down the dosage indicated on the dosimeter every day or two. I would also suggest that you include a dosimeter in your EDC as well, since you never know when you will need it. You will have to “zero” it every so often. If you are outside after a blast, the dosimeter will tell you how much dosage you received.


First, do not confuse a bomb shelter with a fallout shelter. Many people incorrectly use the terms interchangeably.

Bomb Shelter and Fallout Shelter Not the Same Thing

A bomb shelter and fallout shelter are not the same thing. A bomb shelter is constructed to protect against the effects of the weapon’s detonation, while a fallout shelter’s only purpose is to protect the occupants from radiation caused by a nuclear weapons fallout.

Fallout Shelters

There are many old civil defense films that are available on YouTube for free that cover how to build several types of fallout shelters. These include how to construct one in an existing basement and how to quickly make an improvised shelter.

The fallacy of the 1960’s fallout shelter program was that the shelters, in places like downtown New York, Chicago, Washington, Los Angeles, et cetera, were going to survive the blast and fire ball. With even larger megaton weapons, it is even more important that you live well outside any possible blast zones. I would also recommend that if you do live in one of America’s larger cities or near a military installation that you plan for a larger megaton device. The bigger the city or importance of the military installation, the bigger the yields of the bomb. You may also see two or more weapons targeting the area.

Shelter Living

Where you live will determine when you will probably be able to come out of you shelter. Two weeks is a good planning assumption. I would probably continue to sleep and live in my shelter area to reduce the more radiation exposure even after the two weeks, but security will still need to be provided.


Sanitation will be a key factor to ensure everyone stays healthy. Wet wipes can replace showers. The use of disposable plates, cups, et cetera will help cut down on having to clean dishes. Very tight-sealing garbage cans will be a must. A method for using the bathroom and disposing of waste is a must too.

Protect Elderly and Young From Radiation With Potassium Iodide or Liquid Iodine

Those who are elderly, have chronic medical conditions and the young (still growing) should also be less exposed to situations where they might receive higher than normal radiation doses. Potassium iodide tablets or liquid iodine, such as betadine, rubbed onto the surface of the stomach can protect one from thyroid cancer. Check a reputable medical website for more information.

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Keep Busy Brushing Up On Skills, In Prayer, and Taking Inventory

Keeping busy for two weeks is often cited as an issue. Do not view this as down time but rather time for brushing up on skills, knowledge, just-in-time training, planning, and of course prayer. Everyone should know how to use and read the radiation metering, review first aid training, provide refresher training on sanitation practices, et cetera. Spend time taking a thorough inventory of equipment, supplies, and skills.

Tomorrow, I will talk about decontamination and more.

See Also:

SurvivalBlog Writing Contest

This has been part one of a three part entry for Round 80 of the SurvivalBlog non-fiction writing contest. The nearly $11,000 worth of prizes for this round include:

First Prize:

  1. A $3000 gift certificate towards a Sol-Ark Solar Generator from Veteran owned Portable Solar LLC. The only EMP Hardened Solar Generator System available to the public.
  2. A Gunsite Academy Three Day Course Certificate. This can be used for any one, two, or three day course (a $1,095 value),
  3. A course certificate from onPoint Tactical for the prize winner’s choice of three-day civilian courses, excluding those restricted for military or government teams. Three day onPoint courses normally cost $795,
  4. DRD Tactical is providing a 5.56 NATO QD Billet upper. These have hammer forged, chrome-lined barrels and a hard case, to go with your own AR lower. It will allow any standard AR-type rifle to have a quick change barrel. This can be assembled in less than one minute without the use of any tools. It also provides a compact carry capability in a hard case or in 3-day pack (an $1,100 value),
  5. Two cases of Mountain House freeze-dried assorted entrees in #10 cans, courtesy of Ready Made Resources (a $350 value),
  6. A $250 gift certificate good for any product from Sunflower Ammo,
  7. American Gunsmithing Institute (AGI) is providing a $300 certificate good towards any of their DVD training courses.

Second Prize:

  1. A Model 175 Series Solar Generator provided by Quantum Harvest LLC (a $439 value),
  2. A Glock form factor SIRT laser training pistol and a SIRT AR-15/M4 Laser Training Bolt, courtesy of Next Level Training, which have a combined retail value of $589,
  3. A gift certificate for any two or three-day class from Max Velocity Tactical (a $600 value),
  4. A Three-Day Deluxe Emergency Kit from Emergency Essentials (a $190 value),
  5. Two 1,000-foot spools of full mil-spec U.S.-made 750 paracord (in-stock colors only) from (a $240 value).
  6. An assortment of products along with a one hour consultation on health and wellness from Pruitt’s Tree Resin (a $265 value).

Third Prize:

  1. A Royal Berkey water filter, courtesy of Directive 21 (a $275 value),
  2. A large handmade clothes drying rack, a washboard, and a Homesteading for Beginners DVD, all courtesy of The Homestead Store, with a combined value of $206,
  3. Expanded sets of both washable feminine pads and liners, donated by Naturally Cozy (a $185 retail value),
  4. Two Super Survival Pack seed collections, a $150 value, courtesy of Seed for Security, LLC,
  5. Mayflower Trading is donating a $200 gift certificate for homesteading appliances.

Round 80 ends on January 31st, so get busy writing and e-mail us your entry. Remember that there is a 1,500-word minimum, and that articles on practical “how to” skills for survival have an advantage in the judging.

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