Nuclear War Survival Tips

March 21, 2023 in Articles by Narasimha das

Hare Krishna — I wrote this more than ten years ago but it now seems much more relevant than ever before.

Nuclear War Survival Tips
By Narasimha das

Like death itself, no one likes to talk about nuclear war. We prefer to avoid this line of thinking. But although we tend to ignore the possibility of nuclear holocaust, that doesn’t make the problem go away.

As death is certain, war is certain. In a nuclear-armed world, nuclear war is certain. Just because we have somehow avoided it since 1945 doesn’t mean it won’t happen again. But we hate to admit this danger due to its ghastly implications and our feelings of helplessness. A responsible person makes preparations for many kinds of dangers but avoids the thought of nuclear war due to feelings of fatalistic helplessness.

There is no need to remain helpless and hapless in the face of this growing danger. Hiding our heads in sand is no solution. Education and positive action, on the other hand, can help assure us that death, although certain, will come naturally in our old age and not in a ghastly and untimely way through nuclear holocaust.

The first step toward a safer future is education. We need to dispel the myths surrounding ideas of nuclear war. In this regard ignorance and apathy are very dangerous.


Twelve Myths of Nuclear Warfare

Below, I have briefly summarized twelve prominent myths regarding the probable cause and effects of a nuclear world war.

Myths 1 through 8 are what I call “Myths of Despair.” These myths create false feelings of hopelessness.

Myths 9 through 12 may be called “Myths of Bliss.” These myths create false optimism.

Both types of myths are extremely dangerous because they rob us of our free will and independence and cause us to do nothing to prepare for what may come sooner than later.

(Myths of Despair, 1-8)

Myth One: Nuclear war means the end of mankind and perhaps all life on Earth.

Fact: A full-scale nuclear war may destroy much of mankind’s inventions and infrastructures. It may also disrupt the climate for a few years. It will not destroy the whole environment, all life on Earth, or all of mankind. This understanding does not minimize the horrors of nuclear war, which will likely kill millions of people living in major cities, but exaggerations of its probable effects will make us uselessly hopeless.

Myth Two: Nuclear fallout will be all pervading and will make the whole planet uninhabitable for many years. Survivors will need to live underground for decades.

Fact: Nuclear fallout will indeed spread far and wide but most rural areas, as well as many small towns, will not experience any lethal direct blast or “fresh” nuclear fallout.

Myth Three: Nuclear fallout lasts for decades and will make the whole world uninhabitable for humans.

Fact: Deadly radiation from nuclear fallout, even direct blast nuclear fallout, lasts only a few days or, at most, a few weeks.

Myth Four: Nuclear fallout contaminates anything it touches, such as the soil, and makes it radioactive for years.

Fact: Particles of “fresh” nuclear fallout on the skin will cause damage if it remains on the skin for a few seconds, but it can be easily washed off of skin, clothing, food, roofs and other objects. Airborne fallout consisting of fine particles can be easily filtered when passing through air intake vents. Unlike nuclear waste and emissions from power generating plants, it has a short lifespan of harmful radioactivity and a very limited ability to contaminate other objects without prolonged direct contact.

Myth Five: Nuclear war will pollute the whole planet for many decades by contaminating the air, groundwater, streams and oceans.

Fact: Mankind’s unbridled use of oil- and coal-burning technologies and nuclear power, along with many of the industries they fuel, are more dangerous to the environment in the long-term than a nuclear war, which will be brief. As mentioned above, dangerous radioactivity is short lived in nuclear fallout. It briefly contaminates mostly only things it comes in direct contact with. Ordinary walls and roofs can protect us from contact with harmful radioactivity in fallout. Quite unlike nuclear waste and emissions from nuclear reactors, fallout does not radiate deadly rays from several feet away nor does it penetrate solid objects, nor does it last for years.

Myth Six: There is nothing I can do to protect myself or my family from the evils of nuclear war.

Fact: There are many precautions people can take to survive nuclear war and to live comfortably after the war. (See below.)

Myth Seven: Nuclear war will come unexpectedly, when we least expect it, by an accidental launch of missiles and the enemy’s response, or by a surprise attack.

Fact: Although at least two near-disaster missile launch accidents have been reported, this scenario is unlikely to launch a full-scale war. Far more likely is the deliberate use of nuclear weapons during a conventional war that escalates out of control. There will likely be several warnings signs.

Myth Eight: Modern nuclear warheads are so powerful and so numerous that they will destroy everything on Earth.

Fact: Most nuclear missiles do not carry the most powerful nuclear bombs. Nor are the most powerful bombs able to completely destroy more than a radius of 5 or 6 miles. Many experts believe that small- to medium-size enemy missiles are aimed mostly at major industrial cities and military installations. Nuclear destruction will not blanket the whole nation, but one big city may receive multiple hits. No one knows for sure if subsequent missile fire after a first-wave nuclear attack will work at all.

(Myths of Bliss, 9-12)

Myth Nine: All we need to do is make it to the nearest underground bomb shelter, which will be stocked with tons of food and medical supplies, and our children can duck for cover under their school desks. We’ll be fine. The government will protect us.

Fact: Unlike in Russia, civil defense facilities designed for the event of nuclear attack are almost nonexistent in the USA for the general public. The federal government gave up on programs for civil defense against nuclear warfare decades ago, considering such programs too expensive. They decided taxpayer money would be better spent developing more powerful nuclear warheads and missiles as a deterrent. Unfortunately, our rivals have done the same.

Myth Ten: All the world’s nuclear missiles are controlled by highly intelligent, sober men whose aim is to protect mankind and our highly evolved way of life at all costs.

Fact: The world’s nuclear arsenals are largely controlled by egotistical madmen who have little regard for the environment or general public.

Myth Eleven: Although many nations have heavily invested in nuclear warfare, they will never use nuclear weapons. They are afraid of launching nuclear missiles due to the principle of “mutually assured destruction” (MAD).

Fact: The main leaders of all nuclear nations have all facilities for surviving a nuclear holocaust, along with their friends, family, major supporters and military leaders. Apparently most world leaders are more concerned with overpopulation and threats to their control than they are about protecting the general public.

Myth Twelve: The US military has many ABMs (Anti-Ballistic Missiles), which will protect us from any nuclear attack.

Fact: The US military has nowhere near enough ABMs to protect even our principle cities from the far more numerous ICBMs (Intercontinental Ballistic Missiles) aimed at America. Moreover, their effectiveness to shoot down several ICBMs in a major attack is doubtful. Several nuclear warheads are certainly aimed at each major target.


Twelve Steps to Prepare for Nuclear War

Step One: Get out of Dodge! Be prepared to leave your home in the big city when nuclear war seems imminent. This means you should always have extra fuel cans full and a full tank in your SUV or 4WD vehicle, along with boxes of food supplies ready to go. Invest in “Never-Go-Flat” tires and carry two spares, winches, pry-bars and saws. Read some reputable nuclear war survival guides. Build a bomb shelter in your backyard—to be used in case you are caught off guard and haven’t left town before the attack.

Step Two: Buy land with a cabin or house at least fifteen miles from the city– in the opposite direction of the normal prevailing winds and other likely nuclear targets.

Step Three: Organize an evacuation plan for your family and friends.

Step Four: Stock your retreat with hard grains and beans, cooking oil, dried fruits and vegetables, preserves, fuel oil, wood fuel, propane, generators, candles, kerosene lamps, wood stoves and other necessities, enough to last for at least four years of nuclear winter and chaos.

Step Five: Invest for self-defense and be prepared to fight for survival if you are near cities or are not well hidden. Many of those who survive will stop at nothing to get your food. Give up sentimental beliefs that men’s noble ideals will prevail in the chaos that will likely ensue for weeks, months or years.

Step Six: Buy radiation detectors, or dosimeters (dose rate meters), and protective clothing. For going outdoors, heavy rubber rain boots, rain pants, rain hats and rain coats are all you really need for fallout protection in most rural places. (Ordinary homes that can be shut tightly and have filtered systems of ventilation will serve as fallout shelters in most rural places that are not likely to received high amounts of fresh nuclear fallout.)

Step Seven: Make sure you have well water, a water tank and a way to pump water without grid electricity. Best are hand pumps. Second best are pumps with battery packs, which are charged with solar panels. Some types of small gasoline pumps are also highly efficient and reliable.

Step Eight: Have plenty of gardening tools and seeds on hand. In the event of nuclear winter, most crops will not grow well, so be prepared to live on what you have stocked for at least three years. Erect a greenhouse.

Step Nine: Organize a survival retreat with friends and persons of like mind, such as good neighbors and relatives or fellow churchgoers and preppers. There is safety in numbers, and life will be easier, but a large facility with many people, unless remote, may also attract the attention of gangs of thugs. Remember: the rule of law will be nonexistent. Better to unite only with principled persons, or those who believe in God and karma.

Step Ten: Remember to duck and cover if you see a super bright flash, which may be several times brighter than noonday sunshine. If possible duck behind a tree, car, rock or solid object. Do not run for shelter until the initial blast wave has past. A nuclear blast creates a wave of gamma rays that can burn skin and cause blindness from many miles away, but even regular clothing can protect your skin from this flash of intense rays. Never look toward it. Turn away, duck down behind something, and quickly cover yourself with clothing or anything available until the blast wave has passed. Duck and cover!

Step Eleven: If your retreat or getaway is in a region that might receive direct blast, or fresh, nuclear fallout, construct a fallout shelter following the advice of the “Bible” of nuclear survival guides, namely Nuclear War Survival Skills, by Cresson H. Kearny, the renowned civil defense researcher from Oak Ridge National Laboratory. Also, stock up on potassium iodine tablets.

Step Twelve: Wake up! Understand that our present way of life is unnatural, harmful to the planet and ultimately doomed. It is like a fantastic house of cards or a castle in the sand. It can’t last. Due to elaborate and frail interdependencies inherent in modern societies, the whole show can be ruined at any moment by any disaster capable of launching the domino effect. Understanding the fragile condition of today’s world is common sense for those who are awake.