Skip to content

What to do in the event of a nuclear attack? Keep calm and follow these steps to protect yourself!

The war in Ukraine and especially the statements and actions of the Russian president regarding military technology and weapons make Europe and the rest of the world hold their breath. For many people the fear of a 3rd world war, a nuclear war, or at least the use of nuclear weapons is rising. Thus, the question also arises: What to do in the event of a nuclear attack? No matter whether Putin’s threats are to be taken seriously or not, it is always an advantage to be well prepared for any kind of crisis situation. Having already explained what basic food and quantities you should always have in the house, we will now explain how to proceed in case of a possible war attack of this kind.

What happens in the event of a nuclear explosion?

What to do in case of a nuclear attack - These are the steps you should follow according to WHO.

When a nuclear bomb explodes, atoms combine or split (fusion or fission). These processes create an intense pulse or wave of heat, light, air pressure, and radiation. This nuclear explosion (also called a nuclear explosion) creates a fireball inside which everything vaporizes and is carried upward. We all know the characteristic mushroom cloud that results from this from movies, but unfortunately also from real nuclear attacks – the attacks on Hiroshima and Nagasaki in Japan at the end of World War II . This ensures that the radioactive material from the bomb is also carried upwards and cools down there, condenses and falls back to earth in the form of particles like dust as precipitation (called fallout). Everything that comes into contact with the radioactive material is contaminated.

What to do in case of a nuclear attack - What happens when a nuclear bomb explodes.

What is particularly bad is that the cloud of fine dust can travel great distances due to winds and wind currents and thus contaminate much larger areas than “just” the area of the bomb’s impact. Food and water supplies are also threatened. Therefore, it is also advisable to be prepared and know what to do in the event of a nuclear attack to protect yourself as much as possible.

What to do in the event of a nuclear attack - Protect from fallout

The effects of exposure depend on both the size of the bomb and the distance. Both factors affect the amount of radiation that affects the body. In addition, exposure can be external, from the bomb itself, or internal, from ingestion through food and drink.

What to do in case of a nuclear attack?

Contaminated areas should be evacuated when fallout is over

Unfortunately, you cannot prevent an attack with a nuclear weapon. However, you can take some measures to protect yourself and your family as much as possible. So, what to do in the event of a nuclear attack? In the event, federal, state and local authorities activate an emergency plan developed by the World Health Organization. Exactly what you do immediately after the blast depends on where you are at the time:

In the event of a nuclear attack, what should you do if you are near the blast?

First important steps to take in the event of a nuclear bomb attack with radioactivity as a result

  • Do not look into the light of the bomb, but avert your eyes. Otherwise, you risk damage to your eyesight. Also, cover your eyes.
  • Drop face down on the ground. Put your arms under your body.
  • Stay in this position until you feel that two waves have passed. The heat should also pass before you stand up.

If you are outside, but not in close proximity:

What to do in case of nuclear attack - Cover mouth and nose with a scarf or cloth

  • Cover your mouth or nose well. Use a scarf, cloth, or other fabric for this purpose.
  • Remove any dust from your clothing by shaking, wiping, or brushing it off outside, even before you go to shelter. You should not inhale this dust. Therefore, do not remove the respiratory protection you previously put on.
  • Go to an underground shelter (e.g. a cellar). If this is out of the wind direction, all the better.
  • It is best to get rid of your clothes beforehand, as they may be contaminated. Also, if possible, take a shower before going to the basement to remove dust from your hair. Put on fresh clothes.

If you are already in an underground shelter:

What to do in the event of a nuclear attack - locate basements and underground spaces

  • Cover your mouth and nose. This respiratory protection should remain until the fallout cloud of radioactive fallout has passed.
  • Close ventilation systems and seal windows and doors until the fallout has passed. After that, you may and should ventilate the area.
  • Do not leave your shelter until authorities deem it safe to do so. Therefore, follow radio or television news. Authorities will also provide information about a possible evacuation.

In shelter, lock windows and doors and turn off fans

  • Also, if you must leave the shelter for any reason, be sure to cover your mouth and nose with a damp cloth, scarf or T-shirt.
  • Consume only food and drink from your camp. Local food and water from open sources are contaminated and dangerous.
  • Clean and disinfect open wounds on your body immediately and cover them.

In the event of a nuclear attack, what should you do if authorities initiate an evacuation?

Media provide information on evacuation plans, routes and shelters

  • Follow the media for more detailed information: evacuation routes, temporary shelters, and other calls.
  • Before heading out, turn off ventilators and other fans or air conditioners and the furnace. Close and lock windows and doors and fireplace dampers.
  • Pack essentials: Flashlight and spare batteries (or even better, a flashlight with a hand crank that works without batteries), first aid kit and important medications, food, can opener, cash and credit cards, important papers and documents, sturdy shoes, some clothing.
  • Check if neighbors may need help (especially children and elderly).

Pack the right things during an official evacuation