As more and more people are becoming concerned about a nuclear exchange with North Korea, so-called experts are coming out of the woodwork to provide advice about how to cope with this threat. I recently came across one suggestion that people who are developing a fixation or serious fear about an attack should seek psychological help. Another tip was to try relaxation techniques such as meditation or yoga to center the mind and calm jitters.
Counseling? Meditation? Yup. Those are the tools that are recommended for anyone to help them cope with the anxiety associated with thinking about being nuked. Now, there’s nothing wrong with developing strategies to deal with fear or anxiety, but there’s also a lot more that we can all be doing to channel nervous energy in a more-productive direction.
How about becoming familiar with what to do before, during and after an attack?
A lot of people are under the impression that there is little or nothing that they can do to increase their chances of survival following a nuclear detonation. While this is probably true for some, particularly those who are unfortunate enough to be at ground-zero when a bomb goes off, the reality is that the majority of people affected can take steps to protect themselves. So, wouldn’t it be better to stress things that we can do instead of telling people to see a shrink or to breathe deeply?
It’s Been a While
It’s been a long time since we, as a society, have been forced to live with the perpetual fear of being annihilated at any moment by Soviet missiles, and we’re out of practice. So, we look to the past for help. Unfortunately, a lot of the advice that was being fed to the population at large was just as idiotic as what some people are suggesting today. Does “duck and cover” ring any bells?
So what can we do? Well, not much. However, every little bit helps, and here are some basic, general guidelines:
Shelter and Patience
First, find a shelter underground that can protect against the initial blast. If you can’t get underground, seek shelter in a structure that is made from thick concrete. While far from ideal, this represents the best chances of survival.
Second, remember that the greatest danger following a nuclear blast is being exposed to fallout. Fallout occurs when radioactive particles attach themselves to things that we come into contact with, and this can be anything imaginable. Consequently, finding shelter from fallout and quickly washing ourselves after being exposed can significantly reduce the risk of those harmful radioactive particles from penetrating our bodies.
Finally, be prepared to hunker down until officials declare that it is safe to come out. This can be anywhere from a few days to a few weeks following the blast. Consequently, it’s important to have some kind of bunker and basic supplies that can carry you through until the all-clear is sounded.
Resist the Urge to Bug Out
It’s also important to note that vehicles do not protect us from exposure to radiation. Consequently, it’s unwise to bug-out until it’s safe to do so. While it seem logical to get away from the affected area as quickly as possible, it’s much safer to hunker down in a good shelter than to take your chances on the open road.
In addition to these basic steps, take time to learn about things like decontamination procedures, how to identify signs of radiation poisoning, and what to do to make your shelter as resilient to fallout as possible. All of these things are easier to accomplish than you may think, and a little bit of preparation now can give you a fighting-chance at survival later.
Obviously this is a very simplified overview of how to survive the immediate aftermath of an attack, but it does illustrate the point that there are proactive things that we can all do if we’re concerned about this threat. So, instead of focusing on calming the mind, try focusing on preparedness efforts instead. Not only will your chances of survival increase, but you’ll probably feel better along the way as well.