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Updated on September 17, 2008

How to survive a nuclear bomb?

Well that's not a question that you ask yourself often, actually probably never; if you do, then you may want to talk to someone about that. Nuclear winter, It's not a real concern for us these days, but there was a time when it was an issue, and it was a real big one. The arms race between the Soviets and the USA lasted for decades, and luckily it ended without a nuclear holocaust, but during that time period paranoia was an infectious disease that played into the psyche of population of both countries. The bombs are still there today, there just not pointing at one another waiting to have the button pushed. For some people though, they still believe the end is near, and If you happen to be in a situation where you see yourself being an unlucky soul who might have a nuclear bomb dropped on your head some day, then you'll find some of this information quite useful; otherwise go and frolic and run about in your merry lives. If you have decided that living through a nuclear attack is something you need to know about, please read on.

If you dig around the internet, or the library of congress (you'll probably stick with the internet) you're going to find an alarming amount of info on "how to live through a nuclear attack". You won't have to dig hard; I guess there are quite a bit of McCarthy nuts running around still. You'll find a ton of national safety flyers, and other random public service announcements that were printed up back in the 50's and 60's. It's all nice and smiley of course, clad with the all American mom, showing how to properly fit a gas mask, and all types of other stuff that deals with a nuclear attack. I guess that was the fever of the time. It was just another day when you saw Mrs. Beaver flipping pancakes in her tight mock up kitchen on a Sunday morning while the family relaxes and waits for the bomb in the fallout shelter. Now if you happen to watch too many Youtube videos and haven fallen victim to some kooky conspiracy theorist, and now think that there is a ICBM (inter-continental ballistic missile) on rout to your place of residents as we speak then I suggest you look over this and do something. Or you could just get your thoughts straightened out and stop believing that the end is near all the time.

The Blast-

Most ICBM’s made during the arms race released between 1-25 megatons of energy. Now if you don't have an idea of how much energy a one megaton bomb is, well it's a lot. A one megaton bomb roughly equals 400 million sticks of dynamite. The bomb dropped on Hiroshima was 0.15 megatons and that seemed to mess the place up quite a bit. So were just going to say for math purposes that the bomb coming straight for you is exactly 1 megaton, in the scheme of things that's a relatively small bomb.

The first thing felt is going to be Thermo Radiation; it's basically all the heat and light that is generated during a nuclear explosion. The heat will travel at supersonic speeds and will radiate from the center of the explosion outwards at over 5 miles per second. So that means if your outside within a five mile radius, you're going to be turned to ashes instantly. The heat blast coming at you is superheated air that has been condensed to over 4 times our normal atmosphere, so think of it as a super convection over reaching temperatures close to the surface of the sun. Also, don't worry about your ashes; they'll be spread by the shock wave that follows. The shockwave is the second thing that is felt when facing an nuclear blast. The concussive blast with hit you like wind from a hurricane, generating wind speeds of over 1,000 mph, so remember to bring your kite. If you manage to live through the first few seconds of the blast you're lucky. Now all you have to deal with is Gama Rays, a deadly form of radiation that will kill you quite rapidly. Gamma Rays and Neutrons cause ionization, otherwise known as nuclear fallout. You really don't want this coming down on you. It is generated by the massive fireball that explodes up to 6 miles into the sky and mixes into our atmosphere and then falls back down like a radioactive snow. The deadliest fallout material is going to be at ground zero, right where you are of course. Never fear, that's what your trust American made bomb shelter is for. When you’re sitting nice and cozy in your concrete paranoia box, I mean home, you'll have nothing to worry about.


When dealing with any blast of any kind, especially a nuclear one, shelter is going to be the most elemental component to your short and long term survival. If you plan on being within a five mile radius of the blast and you expect to survive you're going to need a bonafide military style bomb shelter. At that proximity the shelter walls would have to have made out of concrete, and they would need to be at least four feet thick. The door would have to be a thick steel blast door lined with lead to keep radiation out. The bomb is going to create a crater almost half a mile wide and over 300 feet deep at the center. So that means if you want to live, you're going to have to bury the shelter at least 300 feet below the surface, that means a lot of stairs. The initial seconds of a nuclear blast are going to send hell your way. If you didn't make it down to your shelter, you're not going to be happy camper.

You will also need food and air for at least thirty days. The radiation released at the center of a nuclear bomb is quite potent but decays fast. The shelter would have to be completely self sustained. Almost all electronic equipment would be rendered useless by the EMP (electromagnetic pulse) that is created when a nuclear blast occurs.


Now that we have a viable bomb shelter, we need supplies. Now if you're think that it's safe to go back outside after 30 days, so maybe you'll play it safe and get enough for 45? Not smart, you should have at least a year's worth of supplies down in the shelter. You have no idea about the conditions outside, or if you can even get back outside at all. There is a possibility that you may have to spend months digging your way out. So with that said, it's also a real smart idea to include an alternate exit rout from your shelter. When planning, you need to think about other things beside what your every day consumption is going to be. You also have to think about waste and what you plan on doing about it. Whether or not you're going to have a generator down there and how much fuel you will need to run it. Some people even build a green house in order to clean the air inside and produce food and oxygen while scrubbing carbon dioxide.

Hardware and First Aid-

Chances are that if you made it down to your ultra lavish doomsday bunker you're physically okay, but you never know. First aid is of paramount importance, not only for the initial happening of the blast, but for the time that you will spend. Having on hand professional medical supplies should be a top priority. That means the whole nine yards; you should have everything from medical text books to amoxicillin and everything in between. Also having plenty of extra building materials on hand and tools, such as saws, power drills, screws etc.


Your ability to communicate and contact others may just be your only salvation. That is if you choose to come out of your little hiding spot. You never know, it could be some sneaky Russian trying to lure you out of the lap of luxury to come be assimilated into their rigid communist takeover of the world. It's more likely that it's FEMA coming to rescue your sorry paranoid butt. So make sure you have a shortwave radio, and some sort of hand held communication such as a two way radio.


If you think it's bad that you have to be stuck down in some over glorified prison cell, well trying being down there with nothing to do. Now that would suck. So bring a friend, family, dog, pet rock. Or you could even use this situation as leverage to snag that hot guy or girl you've been eyeballing for some time now but never wanted to talk to in fear that they might find out how much of a mental case you really are. Who wouldn't jump on the prospect of someone offering salvation from nuclear holocaust, now that's a way to get a date. See this nuclear bomb thing has some advantages huh. Realistically you really should just stick with a few books, some DVD’s and of course your psychotherapist.

What to do if WWIII never comes? Well you can always freak people out when they come over to your house and you show them the extent of your weirdness as you give them the tour of your bomb shelter you're never going to use.


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    • Ryan Hupfer profile image

      Ryan Hupfer 8 years ago from San Francisco, CA

      haha! Whaaaat? This is an awesome Hub. :)

    • DuqueDupre profile image

      DuqueDupre 8 years ago from North Carolina

      I am trying to figure a way to promote my random hubs like this one. I think this is my best hub unfortunatly it has the least traffic

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