More than just a radiation detector, the NukAlert™ is a patented personal radiation meter, monitor and alarm. Small enough to attach to a key chain, the device operates non-stop, 24/7 and will promptly warn you of the presence of unseen, but acutely dangerous levels of radiation.
Carried everywhere your keys go, with NukAlert's 24/7 constant radiation monitoring, you'll always be promptly alerted to the unseen, but acutely dangerous, levels of radiation if/when present. A benefit of the NukAlert™ radioactive material detection, not to be overlooked, is that it will also confirm when and where those high levels of radiation are not present, too.
Used nationwide by federal, state and local first responders, law enforcement and the Dept. of Defense, the device is the ideal solution for increasing individual security and awareness of radiological threats. With the anticipated general public angst accompanying any future developing nuclear emergency it will be very reassuring to know with confidence that, for your locale, your family is out of the worst danger.
NOTE! No returns on these type of items!
PLEASE NOTE: This item can not be shipped outside of the contiguous United States, it can't be shipped to APO addresses, Hawaii or Alaska.
Features & Benefits:
Meets the following DoD EMP immunity standards:
MIL-STD 461D (Control of EM Interference)
MIL-STD RS105 (EMF Transients)
Tested & Verified by Naval Air Warfare Center
Always "ON" 24/7, Includes long-life 10+ year battery
Detection Range: 100 mR/hr to 5,000 R/hr,
Metering: 100 mR/hr to 50 R/hr, in 10 calibrated ranges
Proportional Increasing Chirp Rate: 50 R/hr to 5,000 R/hr
Over range survivability: Functional after 5K R/hr. for 2hr.
Temperature Range: -20 C to +50 C
Physical: 1.75"x1.25"x .75"H (LxWxH), Wt <1.0 oz.
NOTE! No returns on these type of items!
NukAlert Demonstration Video
"This is the most remarkable advance in civil defense equipment in many, many years. These are truly great devices."
- Dr. Arthur B. Robinson, Director of Oregon Institute of Science and Medicine, Publisher of 'Nuclear War Survival Skills' book, Co-Author of the Civil Defense book 'Fighting Chance' which sold over 500,000 copies.
Your personal NukAlert Radiation Monitor & Alarm is designed to respond to gamma ray
and x-ray radiation fields and produce audible alarm chirp groups at specific time inter-
vals. The approximate radiation exposure is indicated by the number of chirps produced
in each group.
A benefit of the NukAlert, not to be overlooked, is that it will also confirm when and
where dangerous levels of radiation are not present, too. With the anticipated general
public panic accompanying any future nuclear emergency it will be very reassuring to
know with confidence that, for your locale, your family is safe to continue going about
their daily routine.
The State of the Art, Patent-Pending, NukAlert sensor is composed of a Cadmium
Sulphide photocell exposed to light emitted by a radioluminescent rare earth phosphor
(scintillator). The sensor signal is sampled with every tick or alarm chirp group by a small
microprocessor. This rugged unit is completely sealed to prevent moisture or contami-
nants from affecting the readings.
The accuracy, consistency and reliability of the NukAlert has been independently con-
firmed by a nationally recognized radiological laboratory. Additionally, every unit is indi-
vidually tested with a NIST traceable Cesium-137 source to assure the highest quality
control before being released.
The NukAlert is always “ON” 24/7 continuously monitoring and sampling its immediate
environment. The long-life battery provides continuous monitoring for a minimum of ten
years with enough reserve to respond to a prolonged radiation emergency. Even at full
continuous alarming at the highest exposure range the battery will continue to provide
power and be alarming for at least a full month.
The monitor’s functioning can be confirmed by a faint ticking that can be heard each time
the microprocessor cycles through its sampling program. The rate of ticking varies with
temperature changes and radiation exposure but, by itself, changes in this ticking rate do
not necessarily indicate that any significant radiation is present. Two to five ticks per sec-
ond, with occasional skipped ticks, are typical. Double ticks repeated every eight seconds
will be observed as the unit approaches the first alarm threshold.
Exposure of the NukAlert to gamma or x-ray radiation of about 0.1 Roentgen per hour
(R/hr) is sufficient to trigger the initial single chirp alarm response. The unit will then
repeat this single chirp alarm about every 35 seconds. With each doubling of the radia-
tion exposure rate the number of chirps per alarm will increase by one. At about 0.2 R/hr
the unit will double chirp every 30 seconds. Around 0.4 R/hr it will chirp three times in a
row, repeating every 25 seconds, etc. At the highest level of 50+ R/hr the alarm will
change to an uninterrupted series of siren like sounds that become shorter and more fre-
quent if the exposure rate continues to increase.
Because the unit could be exposed to radiation that is
close to an adjacent threshold, but not enough to force an
increase or decrease in the number of chirps, it should be
considered accurate to within plus or minus one range. In
other words, if you were to have 4 chirps which would
indicate 0.8 R/hr, you should consider that the true radia-
tion exposure is accurate to between the two extremes
above and below it; 0.4 R/hr and 1.6 R/hr. It would be
prudent to always respond as if the higher exposure rate
The higher the radiation exposure the quicker the
NukAlert will respond and alarm. At the lowest levels it
will alarm within 3-5 minutes, mid-range 1-2 minutes and
at the highest ranges within seconds. After removal from
the radiation field it will quickly drop down to the next
lower range alarm and then more slowly reset back down
through all the ranges till silent once again.
The NukAlert is designed to operate between freezing
and 120 degrees F. However, exposure to temperatures
between -40 degrees F up to 185 degrees F will not cause
The NukAlert can also be tested by chilling it and forcing low-level alarm chirps for 10-
15 minutes when it’s then later exposed to a warmer environment. This temperature
induced 1 to 3 chirping level is normal as it achieves temperature equilibrium and does
not occur with gradual temperature increases. You can use this test to hear what the
alarm chirp sounds like by putting the unit in the freezer for a couple minutes and then
removing it and allowing it to warm up to room temperature. It’s also possible when the
unit is on a key chain and in your car dangling in front of one of the blowing air condi-
tioner vents that when you then exit the car and put your keys in your warmer pocket
you could get a few minutes of low-level chirps as it warms up. It will then cease chirp-
ing when it again is at a temperature equilibrium with its warmer environment. This 1-3
chirping level, when moved from a much colder to warmer environment, should NOT be
mistaken for radiation exposure. Also, if ever unsure if it was a cold-to-hot temperature
induced chirping or radiation exposure, remember that it will be stopping soon if it was
simply temperature induced. (The unit may also produce isolated sporadic chirps when
exposed to extreme static electric fields produced by rubbing against synthetic fabrics in
a very dry environment.) For any concern during those couple minutes, remember, too, that true radiation exposure at this lowest initial level of 0.1 R/hr is such that one would
have to be exposed to it continuously for close to a month and a half before any ill effects
might even begin to be noticeable. Remember, if the unit is alarming, because it is sim-
ply warming up, it’ll be silent again in a few minutes.
Note: NEVER place the NukAlertTM in a microwave oven - microwaves are not nuclear
radiation - the unit will be destroyed and the 1 year warranty voided.
What the R/hr numbers mean...
Since nuclear radiation affects people, we must be able to measure its presence. We also
need to relate the amount of radiation received by the body to its physiological effects.
Two terms used to relate the amount of radiation received by the body are exposureand
dose. When you are exposed to radiation, your body absorbs a dose of radiation.
For radiation measurements the common measurement units and terms are...
Roentgen (Pronounced “Rent-gen”), rad and rem.
Fortunately, cutting through any confusion, for purposes of practical radiation protection
in humans, most experts agree (including FEMA Emergency Management Institute) for
gamma radiation and x-rays that Roentgen, rad and rem can all be considered roughly
equivalent. The exposure rates you'll usually see will be expressed simply in terms of
roentgen (R) or milliroentgen (mR).
Your NukAlert is calibrated in Roentgens and exposure rates are expressed in R/hr. So,
if the NukAlert is alarming at the 6 chirp level (3.2 R/hr) and you stay there in that
same radiation field for a total of 1 hour, you will have accumulated a dose of 3.2 R.
The key thing to remember here is that “When you are exposed to radiation, your body
absorbs a dose of radiation.” And, that the radiation dose is cumulative! So, if you are
exposed to a radiation field of 3.2 R/hr, then that is your exposure rate and if you remain
there for ten hours you've just accumulated a radiation dose of 32 R (3.2 R/hr X 10
hours). This is essential to understanding the expected and potential radiation health
effects that any radiation detecting device might make you aware of.
What are the potential radiation dose health effects?
The response to radiation varies widely amongst people and the longer the time frame
over which a specific dose is accumulated the better your body can respond to, and
recover from, the radiation damage. In other words, a normally fatal (to 50% of a group
exposed to it) cumulative dose of 400 R, if received all within a week, would create few
noticeable ill health effects at all if it was received, spread out, over a year’s time at the
rate of about 7.7 R per week.
Compare the difference in acquiring a suntan gradually over a years time at a rate of half-
an-hour per day compared to packing that years worth of sun exposure (182 hours) all
into one solid non-stop week, 24 hours a day, night and day, for 7 days. The difference
in the ability of your body to recover from those two extremes, but both the same total
dose, is obviously very dramatic.
Here below is a general overview of the expected health effects assuming the cumulative
total radiation exposure was all received within a week’s time. Remember, too, promptly
removing yourself from the radiation source would have you no longer absorbing and
adding to that cumulative dose. And, that can make all the difference between absorb-
ing a dangerous radiation dose or getting only a tiny fraction you might not even be able
to later notice. (Note: Adult doses below, 1/2 for children).
30 to 70 R Total Dose
From 6-12 hours: none to slight incidence of transient headache and
nausea; vomiting in up to 5 percent of personnel in upper part of dose
range. Mild lymphocyte depression within 24 hours. Full recovery
expected. (Note: fetus damage possible from 50 R and above.)
70 to 150 R Total Dose
From 2-20 hours: transient mild nausea and vomiting in 5 to 30 per-
cent of personnel. Potential for delayed traumatic and surgical wound
healing, minimal clinical effect. Moderate drop in lymphocyte, platelet,
and granulocyte counts. Increased susceptibility to opportunistic
pathogens. Full recovery expected.
150 to 300 R Total Dose
From 2 hours to three days: transient to moderate nausea and vom-
iting in 20 to 70 percent; mild to moderate fatigability and weakness
in 25 to 60 percent of personnel. At 3 to 5 weeks: medical care
required for 10 to 50%. At high end of range, death may occur to
maximum 10%. Anticipated medical problems include infection,
bleeding, and fever. Wounding or burns will geometrically increase
morbidity and mortality.
300 to 530 R Total Dose
From 2 hours to three days: transient to moderate nausea and vom-
iting in 50 to 90 percent; mild to moderate fatigability in 50 to 90 per-
cent of personnel. At 2 to 5 weeks: medical care required for 10 to
80%. At low end of range, less than 10% deaths; at high end, death
may occur for more than 50%. Anticipated medical problems include
frequent diarrheal stools, anorexia, increased fluid loss, ulceration.
Increased infection susceptibility during immunocompromised time-
frame. Moderate to severe loss of lymphocytes. Hair loss after 14
530 to 830 R Total Dose
From 2 hours to two days: moderate to severe nausea and vomiting
in 80 to 100 percent of personnel; From 2 hours to six weeks: mod-
erate to severe fatigability and weakness in 90 to 100 percent of per-
sonnel. At 10 days to 5 weeks: medical care required for 50 to 100%.
At low end of range, death may occur for more than 50% at six
weeks. At high end, death may occur for 99% of personnel.
Anticipated medical problems include developing pathogenic and
opportunistic infections, bleeding, fever, loss of appetite, GI ulcera-
tions, bloody diarrhea, severe fluid and electrolyte shifts, capillary
leak, hypotension. Combined with any significant physical trauma,
survival rates will approach zero.
830 R Plus Total Dose
From 30 minutes to 2 days: severe nausea, vomiting, fatigability,
weakness, dizziness, and disorientation; moderate to severe fluid
imbalance and headache. Bone marrow total depletion within days.
CNS symptoms are predominant at higher radiation levels. Few, if
any, survivors even with aggressive and immediate medical attention.
Reference: FM 3-7. NBC Field Handbook, 1994. FM 8-9. NATO Handbook on the Medical
Aspects of NBC Defensive Operations, 1996. FM 8-10-7. Health Services Support in a
Nuclear, Biological, and Chemical Environment, 1996.
Bottom Line: While the grim reality of the above health effects created by the higher
levels of radiation are at first overwhelming to grasp, we need to remember that simply
and promptly removing oneself from the radiation field will stop further accumulation of
dangerous radiation. The NukAlertTM chart has in its third column the exposure time
required to accumulate a total dose of 100 R for each of the ten levels of radiation inten-
sities it will alarm you to. At the lowest initial alarming threshold of 0.1 R/hr you would
have to stay exposed in that radiation field continuously for 41.6 days before you would
have even accumulated a dose of easily survivable 100 R. Even if you failed to remove
yourself from that area during that lengthy time, few ill effects would likely ever be
noticed by a healthy individual, as your body would naturally be able to repair any radi-
ation damage spread out over such a long time period. On the other end of the NukAlertTM
range, for instance at the 9 chirp alarming level (25.6 R/hr), you would need to get out
of that higher intensity radiation field within a couple hours to assure staying beneath a
total accumulated radiation dose of 100 R.
Obviously, the key to surviving a future nuclear emergency is in both being immediately
alerted to the presence and intensity of any radiation in your local environment and then
promptly minimizing your continued cumulative exposure to it. Be assured that nuclear
survival can be confidently secured for your family with the proper knowledge, tools and
Note: Many today will argue that any radiation at all will cause ill effects and zero dose
accumulation is the only safe and healthy amount. Unfortunately, besides radiation
always being present and occurring naturally, for a future nuclear emergency we have to
be initially most concerned with recognizing and minimizing those temporarily excessive,
most harmful, higher levels where immediate survival is our first and primary focus.
However, after first successfully surviving that immediately life threatening radiation
emergency, late and delayed effects of radiation can occur following a wide range of
doses and dose rates. Delayed effects may appear months to years after irradiation and
include a wide variety of effects involving almost all tissues or organs. Some of the pos-
sible delayed consequences of radiation injury are life shortening, carcinogenesis,
cataract formation, chronic radiodermatitis, decreased fertility, and genetic mutations.
Irradiation of almost any part of the body increases the probability of cancer. The type
formed depends on such factors as area irradiated, radiation dose, genetic predisposition,
and age. Irradiation may either increase the absolute incidence of cancer or accelerate
the time or onset of cancer appearance, or both. Risk analysis and comparison is very
difficult due to the high concern and controversy of radiation exposure. However, the
Committee on the Biological Effects of Ionizing Radiation (BEIR V), National Research
Council, estimated that the risk of dying of cancer for low-level exposure to radiation is
about 0.08% per rem.
Here below is the spectrum of published radiation limits from different sources as com-
piled in The Medical NBC Battlebook, USACHPPM Tech Guide 244 (August 2002):
LD 50/60 above refers to Lethal Dose for 50% exposed to that dose within 60 days.
STANAG 2083 is the NATO Commanders Guide on Nuclear Radiation Exposure of Groups.
ICRP is International Commission on Radiological Protection.
EPA is Environmental Protection Agency.
10 CFR is from the Nuclear Regulatory Commission.
NCRP is the National Council on Radiation Protection and Measurements.
Bottom Line: Regardless of the controversy and debate surrounding acceptable limits of
radiation exposure, the guide to action in limiting ones radiation exposure, both in a
nuclear emergency and in everyday life, is always ALARA - As Low As Reasonably
Achievable. Below follows what to do when the alarm is real to best assure your future
radiation exposure stays ALARA.
~ Nuclear Response Survival Strategies ~
First, some critical background information.
Before your NukAlert would even alarm you may have an indication of an initial nuclear
detonation with its characteristic blinding bright flash. The first effects you may have to
deal with before radiation, depending on your proximity to it, are blast and thermal ener-
gy. Promptly employing the old “Duck & Cover” strategy will save many from avoidable
flying debris injuries and also minimize thermal burns. Think tornado strength wind
destruction descending upon you as you quickly dive behind any solid object or into any
available depression. A 500 KT blast, 2.2 miles away, will be arriving about 8 seconds
after the detonation flash with about a 295 mph wind blast that’ll last about three sec-
onds. An even larger 1 MT blast, but 5 miles away, would arrive in about 20 seconds.
Regardless of the cause or proximity of a nuclear ‘event’, if your detector produces an
alarm due to exposure to radiation, you should note and write down the time and the
chirp rate as soon as possible. Then you should either use additional instrumentation to better determine the radiation field and/or consult your radio or other news sources for
additional information. At the same time you should try to move out of the radiation field.
A lot will depend on why you are in a radiation field.
There will be a big difference between a terrorist attack with a dirty bomb or a small
nuclear weapon or multiple nuclear detonations in a nuclear war. A terrorist attack will
probably allow you to move out of the danger area more easily. The weapons used in a
nuclear war are another matter. However, both scenarios are survivable with the proper
knowledge and preparations. A lot will depend on your initial exposure, your pre-planning
for different potential nuclear emergency scenarios and what you first do after your
You may have to deal with both internal radiation contamination and exposure, where one
could inhale or ingest radioactive materials OR external radiation exposure, that gener-
ates radiation much like an X-ray machine stuck in the “ON” position would create.
To minimize internal exposures much can be done by simply assuring your water and food
stays free from contamination by fallout particles and by employing a simple common
dust mask or damp cloth over your mouth and nose to reduce inhaling airborne radioac-
tive particles. While this will not guarantee full internal protection, it will go a very long
ways towards protecting the lungs from inhaling radioactive particles and should not be
Additionally, the internal uptake by the body of radioisotopes can be blocked in some
cases. For example, potassium iodide (KI) or iodate (KIO3) if given prior to or soon after
an intake of radioiodine, will reduce the uptake of radioiodine by the thyroid gland.
Similarly, orally administered Prussian Blue will reduce the absorption of cesium from the
gut and Alginate will reduce strontium absorption.
There are three fundamental principles involved in the protection of people from the
effects of external radiation (basically gamma radiation). These are time, distance and
Protection of a person from harm by external radiation may be provided by, first, con-
trolling the timeof exposure; secondly, by controlling the distancebetween the person
and the radiation source; and third, by placing a radiation absorbing material, i.e., some
shieldingbetween the source of radiation and the person. The first of these, time, is
always involved. That is, timeis used in conjunction with distanceor shieldingor both.
As a comparison, consider protection of your eyes while trying to obtain a tan from a sun
lamp. The ultra-violet rays that produce the tanning are harmful to the eyes. A small
amount can be tolerated but exceeding that amount will cause damage to your eyes. You
can protect your eyes by any one or a combination of three ways. First, you can protect
your eyes by limiting the amount of timeyou spend under the sun lamp. The less time
you look at the lamp, the less damage will be done to your eyes. Second, the greater the
distanceyou are from the sun lamp the less the intensity of the ultra-violet rays will be
on your eyes. Thus, by regulating the distance between you and the sun lamp, the source
of harmful rays, you are protecting your eyes. Third, you can shieldyour eyes by wear-
ing effective tanning goggles.
To better understand these three types of protection, let’s consider each separately. First,
timeis very important. The dose received by a person exposed to radiation is the prod-
uct of the rate of exposure and the total time exposed. Thus if you are exposed to a radi-
ation field of 12.8 roentgens per hour (R/hr), the NukAlertTM eight chirp alarm level, for
2 hours, you will have received a radiation dose of approximately 25.6 R. That is very
straightforward. It is simply the rate times the time. Minimizing that time exposed will
minimize your total dose received.
Another time consideration is the fallout radiation intensity following a nuclear explosion.
Time is a major protection factor following a nuclear explosion. The fallout radiation
intensity “decays” or is diminished at a specific rate. The rate of decay is usually identi-
fied as the radioactive half-life. Half-life is the time required for the activity of a partic-
ular isotope to be reduced by one-half. The half-lives of the multitude of radioisotopes
produced in a nuclear detonation range from fractions of a second, to seconds, to min-
utes, to hours, to years and to multiple years. The total radioactivity of the newly formed
fallout from a nuclear explosion decreases very rapidly at first because it contains many
radioisotopes with very short half-lives. The rate of decrease lessens as time goes by
because the short half-life materials have decayed and the remaining materials are
radioisotopes with longer half-lives.
There is a mathematical formula to describe the average decay of the fallout from a typ-
ical nuclear weapon, but a generalized “rule-of-thumb” serves us better for emergency
field use. The rule-of-thumb is “for every seven fold increase in time after a nuclear det-
onation, the radiation intensity (exposure rate) decreases by a factor of ten”. It is impor-
tant for you to know that as time increases the radiation intensity decreases. For exam-
ple: if the radiation level is measured to be 1,000 roentgens per hour (R/hr), one hour
after a nuclear detonation, then seven hours after the detonation the radiation intensity
will be 1,000/10 or only 100 R/hr. Additionally, for another 7 fold increase in time (7 x 7
hr = 49 hr) the radiation intensity will have reduced to only 10 R/hr. And, yet another
seven fold increase in time (7 hr x 7 x 7 or 49 hr x 7 = 343 hr or 14.3 days) the radia-
tion level would be reduced to 1 R/hr. The following chart graphically illustrates this
The previous chart shows why Civil Defense planning placed so much emphasis on fall-
out shelters and why sheltering in the event of a nuclear disaster can be so important.
Sheltering allows you to take advantage of the natural factors of radioactive fallout decay
and allows you to wait out the danger, putting time on your side to provide you with pro-
Note that the above chart applies only to fission and fusion weapons and does not apply
to the so-called “Dirty Bomb” or RDD (Radiological Dispersal Device). The reason it does
not apply to an RDD is that they are expected to be made up of only a couple of the com-
mon and more easily obtainable commercial isotopes (such as Cobalt-60 or Cesium-137)
that all have relatively long half-lives. Fortunately, though, they will likely not have con-
taminated as extensive an area as a fission or fusion nuclear bomb and effective prompt
evacuation will likely be a more viable alternative.
The second item in your defense is distance. There is a relatively simple mathematical
relationship between the distance and intensity for a “point” source of radioactive mate-
rial. It is somewhat more complex for an extended or “plane” source where the radioac-
tive material is all around you. However, it is sufficient to note that the further you are
from radioactivity, the less your exposure will be.
For example: suppose you are standing by a large fluorescent light panel. Up close, the
light will appear to be very bright. However, as you move away from the light panel, the
brightness of the panel will appear to diminish. The same effect occurs when you move
away from a large, extended source of gamma radiation. As you move away from the
source of radiation, the intensity of the radiation that reaches you diminishes.
Now let’s consider the third method of protection, shielding. One of the ways that gamma
radiation damages living tissue is by knocking electrons from their orbits in the atoms
composing the tissue. This is called ionization. If ionization occurs to a sufficient number
of atoms in living tissue, without sufficient time for recovery, the result is radiation dam-
age. To prevent radiation damage we can stop a large portion of the gamma rays before
they reach the living tissue by placing a shieldof some dense material, containing many
electrons, between the source of the gamma rays and our body. Just as body armor can
stop bullets, shielding can protect us from gamma rays and radiation damage. In gener-
al, the denser the material used for a shield, the more electrons available to interact with
the gamma rays and act as absorbers.
So, considering the density of shielding material, lead is better than concrete, which is
better than dirt, which is better than water, which is better than wood. Any one of which
may be used to provide an effective shield against gamma radiation. To compare, the
“tenth-value” thickness, in inches, for concrete, 11; for earth, 16; for water, 24; for wood,
38. That means that where you have those thicknesses you’ll have only 1/10th as much
gamma radiation pass through with that barrier material. Plain dirt is free and plentiful
and just 3.6 inches of packed earth reduces the gamma radiation penetration by half
which means you have a Protection Factor (PF) of 2. With 18 inches you have a PF 32
and with 30 inches it’s over PF 300 and with 3 feet of earth you are at about 1000 PF
under it or 1/1000 the radiation on the topside!
Considering the three protection methods of time, distance and shielding, when the alarm
sounds, there are two options that you have in order to assure your survival. You will
need to choose whether to seek shelter or evacuate. The following discussions will aid
you in making the choice that is best for you, your situation, and the nature of the par-
ticular future nuclear emergency you may have to deal with.
Your initial concern should be, “Why did my NukAlert alarm?”
First, it is important to note the time of the alarm and approximate the radiation intensity
by the number of chirps from your alarm. It would be a good idea to write down the time
and number of chirps. That will allow you to determine your initial approximate exposure.
Immediately afterwards, you should try to determine if there is information available on
the radio or television. If you have access to additional radiation instrumentation, you
should also try to measure and confirm the radiation field in your immediate area. Then,
as quickly as possible, try to move to an area with less radiation intensity. This is impor-
tant because you want to keep your radiation exposure As Low As Reasonably Achievable
(ALARA). Ideally, in the event of a nuclear emergency, you would like to keep your acute
exposure (exposure received within a two week period) at 100 roentgens (R) or less.
That is because a person who has received 100 R or less of acute exposure has a 100%
probability of survival and will have little or no symptoms of radiation sickness. (Note that
even if your NukAlertTM monitor is in the highest continuous alarm mode, you probably
still have time to move to a lower radiation level before you have received a dangerous
dose.) The alarm rate indicates the radiation intensity in R per hour but may be just on
the verge of the next alarm level. So, if your alarm is giving 6 chirps in each sequence
that would indicate 3.2 R per hour. But, to be conservative, you should consider it to possibly be approaching the next higher level, which would be 6.4 R per hour. And it would
take over 15 hours before you would have a cumulative exposure of 100 roentgens. (6.4
R/hr X 15.6 hr = 99.84 R) However, during that time you should be doing things to
reduce your exposure to As Low As Reasonably Achievable (ALARA).
Now, should you evacuate or shelter?
Variables to be considered are whether a nuclear emergency has already commenced or
is only imminent. Also, the nature, quantity, and proximity of the nuclear threat; local-
ized nuclear terrorism or a possible escalation into an international nuclear exchange.
Quickly changing scenarios may even deteriorate to where evacuation becomes impossi-
ble and last minute sheltering in-place is your only option. Or, you may even be forced
from an inadequate shelter situation into a rushed evacuation and refuge status. The fol-
lowing table lists some of the factors that you should consider in making these important
decisions for future nuclear emergencies.
If you plan to evacuate, there is a very good checklist of what you need on page 33 of
“Nuclear War Survival Skills” by C. H. Kearny, author of the original Oak Ridge National
If you decide to shelter, you have several options with a little pre-planning. First, you
may explore if any buildings in your community have been identified as Civil Defense
Shelters. Less emphasis has been placed on these in the past few years. However, if you
look around and contact government agencies, before an emergency develops, you may find buildings marked with the signs identifying these shelters.
Additionally, you should become aware of other potential sheltering options in your area
and along regularly traveled routes. Tunnels, subways, caves, culverts, overpasses,
ravines and heavily constructed buildings. In the case of existing buildings, below ground
basements give the best protection. With minimum effort, windows and the overhead
floor can be sandbagged or covered with dirt to provide additional protection.
Likewise, the following illustration shows you how to make the “best use” of existing
buildings and how different locations may provide an acceptable radioactive fallout pro-
tection factor (FPF) in an emergency. The important thing to remember is to put as much
mass and distance between you and the source of the radiation and then allow sufficient
time to pass for the radiation to die down to a tolerable level.
Your other choice is to provide your own shelter. Kearny’s book, “Nuclear War Survival
Skills,” again available free on-line, provides plans and instructions on how to do this at
home or at a remote location, even if caught out on the road.
Amongst expedient last-minute sheltering options at home you’ll learn how simply push-
ing a heavy table or pool table into the corner of a below ground basement and piling
atop and around it any available mass (such as books, wood, bricks, sandbags or boxes
of anything heavy) is extremely effective when then crawling in under it. A basement
already provides a 10 to 50 PF (Protection Factor) and hunkering down under that table
of extra mass can add another 2-4 PF which would give you a total of 20 to 200 PF. That means that if there was an initial 1,000 R/hr radiation intensity outside you would have
under that table only 5 – 50 R/hr. And, with every passing hour that fallout would be
decaying and quickly losing its energy to where 7 hours later, it would only be 1/10th of
that strength. As cramped as that might be, you would have achieved a Protection Factor,
in less than half an hour of moving some mass into place, that could clearly be the dif-
ference between exposure to a lethal dose or survival for your family.
Think what you could accomplish if you started now, well before any nuclear emergency,
to explore your available options and built (or at least acquired the materials for) a mass
encased small fallout shelter in your own basement. Or, a combination tornado/fallout
shelter in the backyard. With 30” of earth covering alone you would achieve a PF of 300
and occupants would receive less than 1/300th of the gamma-ray dose of fallout radia-
tion that they would otherwise have received out in the open.
Now, a few words about what to do if you or someone with you develops the symptoms
of radiation sickness. The most important thing to rememberis that the majority of
people who have received a dose of radiation sufficient to induce radiation sickness will
recover. That is assuming that they are prevented from becoming infected with common
illnesses because of their radiation induced lowered immune response. A person with
radiation sickness needs to be treated as any burn victim. You should provide fluids, eas-
ily digestible food and keep them in a clean sanitary environment. If available, provide
antibiotics to fight infection. Additionally, give them moral support with the positive atti-tude that they will be soon recovering.
In summary, you will survive, if you keep your exposure low (ALARA) and take care of
yourself and your loved ones. Dangerous levels of radiation from fission or fusion deto-
nations in most all areas affected will be of a very temporary nature, and actually quite
brief measured in only days or a week or two at the most. (For those small areas of longer
lasting ‘dirty bomb’ contaminations, prompt evacuation till clean-up is accomplished will
be your likely best protective action.) You will need to have become educated about radi-
ation dangers, secured provisions of food and clean water, and have continuing updated
information, either from the government via radio or from your own radiological instru-
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