Friday, July 07, 2017

What to do if the big one happens

Dirty bomb drill.
Here's a pleasant thought to start your weekend: What would you do if a nuclear bomb exploded near you?

When 9/11 happened I was working in Manhattan. We had that, and we also had a massive blackout that stranded hundreds of thousands of people. As a result, the place where I worked stockpiled grab and go bags for the employees.

Some companies issued masks, and a friend of mine carried one in his briefcase. I did, too, along with a small radio.

We took it all very seriously. I remember downloading a big Rand Corporation document advising people what to do if a radiation bomb exploded in a city. I also downloaded a pocket version.

With North Korea threatening, these questions come up again. You have this headline: "Hawaii, Alaska contemplate coming into North Korean missile range." And this: "HACKERS TARGETED A US NUCLEAR PLANT (BUT DON'T PANIC YET)"

We live midway between two nuclear power plants, and I long ago realized that trying to drive away during a disaster would be useless. Our north/south roads aren't great, and everyone else would be trying to drive away at the same time. We're also close enough to Manhattan to worry about something happening there. Our local emergency preparedness team contemplates the possibility of thousands of people fleeing the city and arriving here.

So there. What's a mother to do.? Shelter in place.

The best thing for us would be to get to a school or town building made of brick and concrete and with a basement. Well, plenty of other people will think of that. So we may be left with our basement. It's not ideal. One expert says: "Soil is a great shield from radiation, so ducking into a home with a half basement would be better than going into a place with no basement at all."

Here's what various buildings can do:

The higher the number the better. Then stay put for 24 hours. You'll need some food and water there. Two articles, here and here, will help you stay depressed. You're welcome.

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