Nuclear Explosion

The force, heat, and radiation from nuclear explosions can result in substantial damage and fatalities, but you can keep your family safe by being ready and knowing what to do in the event of one.

A nuclear weapon is a device that produces an explosive force through a nuclear reaction.

From a small, personal device carried by a person to a warhead carried by a missile, nuclear devices come in many shapes and sizes.

An explosion of nuclear material could happen with or without a few minutes’ notice.

The radiation levels in fallout are at their peak in the first few hours following detonation, which is when it is most harmful. Fallout takes a while to return to ground level; for regions outside of the immediate blast damage zones, it frequently takes longer than 15 minutes. By taking these easy precautions, you have ample time to avoid significant radiation exposure:


Avoid radiation by entering the nearest structure right away. Concrete or brick are preferable.

If you were outside after the fallout arrived, remove contaminated clothing and wipe off or wash exposed skin. Fallout is not prevented by hand sanitizer. If at all possible, refrain from touching your lips, nose, or eyes. On your skin, avoid using disinfectant wipes.

Head to the centre or basement of the structure. Avoid touching the exterior walls and roof. Try to keep at least six feet between you and anyone who isn’t a member of your household. If you’re sheltering with individuals who are not members of your family, consider donning a mask. Masks shouldn’t be worn by anyone under the age of two, those who have breathing issues, or those who are unable to take them off independently.


Unless different instructions are given by local authorities, remain indoors for 24 hours. Wear a mask and keep at least six feet between you and persons who are not family members as you continue to practice social distancing.

Family members should remain indoors. To prevent being exposed to harmful radiation, reunite later.

Pets should remain indoors.


Watch any available media for official announcements on when it is safe to leave and where to go.

Radios with batteries or hand cranks will still work after a nuclear explosion.

Internet, television, text messaging, and cell phone service outages or disruptions are possible.


Prepare NOW

Determine where the shelters are. Find the greatest shelter location close to the places you spend a lot of time, such as your house, workplace, and place of education. The ideal spots are in the heart of bigger buildings and underground.

Determine the best shelters to seek out in the event of an explosion while you’re commuting. Numerous locations you may pass on your commute to and from work may be closed or not have regular business hours as a result of COVID-19.

Vehicles, mobile homes, and outdoor spaces do NOT offer appropriate protection. Locate the center of huge multistory structures or their basements.

Be sure to have an emergency plan.

In case you need to spend the night somewhere you frequently visit, make sure you have an emergency supply kit. Bottled water, packaged snacks, emergency medications, a hand-crank or battery-powered radio to acquire news in case of a power outage, a flashlight, and extra batteries for necessary equipment should all be included. Store goods for at least three days if you can.

  • If you are able to, set aside items like soap, hand sanitizer that contains at least 60 percent alcohol, disinfecting wipes, and general household cleaning supplies that you can use to disinfect surfaces you touch regularly. Keep in mind each person’s specific needs, including medication. Don’t forget the needs of pets. Obtain extra batteries and charging devices for phones and other critical equipment.
  • Being prepared allows you to avoid unnecessary excursions and to address minor medical issues at home, alleviating the burden on urgent care centers and hospitals.
  • Remember that not everyone can afford to respond by stocking up on necessities. For those who can afford it, making essential purchases and slowly building up supplies in advance will allow for longer time periods between shopping trips. This helps to protect those who are unable to procure essentials in advance of the pandemic and must shop more frequently. In addition, consider avoiding WIC-labeled products so that those who rely on these products can access them.


Survive DURING

If you receive a warning that an attack is about to occur, run inside the closest building and stay away from windows. This will aid in shielding you from the detonation’s blast, heat, and radiation.

  • When you have reached a safe place, try to maintain a distance of at least six feet between yourself and people who are not part of your household. If possible, wear a mask if you’re sheltering with people who are not a part of your household. Children under two years old, people who have trouble breathing, and those who are unable to remove masks on their own should not wear them.

If a detonation occurs while you are outside, hide from the blast behind anything that might provide protection. To shield exposed skin from the heat and flying debris, lie face down. If at all possible, refrain from touching your lips, nose, or eyes. If you’re in a car, pull over safely and crouch down inside.

Get inside the closest, best refuge spot as soon as the shock wave has passed to avoid potential consequences. You have at least ten minutes to locate a suitable refuge.

Before the fallout happens, be indoors. Immediately after fallout hits, outdoor radiation levels are at their peak; they then gradually decline over time.

Watch this space for new guidance from emergency response authorities. Listen for details on routes, shelters, and procedures if you’re told to evacuate.

If you evacuated, wait until local authorities tell you it is safe to return before doing so.

  • Make plans to stay with friends or family in case of evacuation. Keep in mind that public shelter locations may have changed due to COVID-19. Check with local authorities to determine which public shelters are open.
  • If you are told by authorities to evacuate to a public shelter, try to bring items that can help protect yourself and your family from COVID-19, such as hand sanitizer that contains at least 60 percent alcohol, cleaning materials, and two masks per person. Children under two years old, people who have trouble breathing, and people who cannot remove masks on their own should not wear them.
  • Review the CDC’s guidelines for “Going to a Public Disaster Shelter During the COVID-19 Pandemic.”


If you were outside when the fallout hit, enter the shelter as soon as you can.

In order to rid your body of radiation and fallout, take off the outermost layer of contaminated clothing. If at all possible, refrain from touching your lips, nose, or eyes.

To eliminate any residue from unprotected skin or hair, take a shower or wash with soap and water. Use a wipe or a fresh, moist cloth to wipe any exposed skin or hair if you are unable to wash or shower. Fallout is not prevented by hand sanitizer. If at all possible, refrain from touching your lips, nose, or eyes. On your skin, avoid using disinfectant wipes.

After the fallout, clean up any pets that were outside. If possible, wash your pet with soap and water and give them a gentle brushing to eliminate any fallout.

Food that has been packaged or that has been in a building is safe to eat or drink. Avoid consuming any food or liquids that may have been exposed to fallout while outdoors.

When officials say it is safe to leave, pay heed for instructions on how and where to get medical help if you are ill or hurt. Call your healthcare practitioner for advice if you are ill and require medical help. If you are at a public shelter, alert the workers right once so they can dial a nearby hospital or clinic on your behalf. Call 9-1-1 in the event of a medical emergency, and inform the operator if you have COVID-19 or suspect you may have it. Put on a mask if you can before assistance arrives.

Virtually interact with your neighborhood through conversations and video. Recognize that experiencing tension or anxiety is normal. Take care of your body, and if you’re upset, talk to someone. The coronavirus of 2019 may have already caused worry and anxiety in many people (COVID-19). Stress can increase if a nuclear explosion is a possibility. Observe the CDC’s recommendations for handling stress during traumatic events and COVID-19.

Hazards related to nuclear explosions

  • Bright FLASH can cause temporary blindness for less than a minute.
  • BLAST WAVE can cause death, injury, and damage to structures several miles out from the blast.
  • RADIATION can damage cells of the body. Large exposures can cause radiation sickness.
  • FIRE AND HEAT can cause death, burn injuries, and damage to structures several miles out.
  • ELECTROMAGNETIC PULSE (EMP) can damage electrical power equipment and electronics several miles out from the detonation and cause temporary disruptions further out.

  • FALLOUT is radioactive, visible dirt and debris raining down from several miles up that can cause sickness to those who are outside.

Last Updated: 17.11.2022