How to Survive a Nuclear Blast

Dear Reader,

As we covered in our most recent issue, the world is on high alert for a possible nuclear attack. North Korea continues to conduct intercontinental ballistic missile tests aimed at intimidating the United States and our allies.

Of course, the U.S. has missile interceptors at the ready to shoot down any projectiles launched from North Korea. The problem is no one knows just how successful these interceptors will be. If North Korea launches a nuclear attack on the U.S., our government will likely deploy multiple missile interceptors to stop the projectiles from reaching U.S. soil.

Not only that but as soon as our government detects and verifies the launch of North Korean missiles, they will immediately initiate a counterattack. I have no doubt our government would respond with massive military force and blanket North Korea with everything in our arsenal.

I pray none of this happens, but it’s a possibility for which we need to be prepared. Today, I want to share with you how to prepare for such an attack and what to do if, God forbid, it should come to pass.

Before the Blast


In any emergency situation, food and water storage is critical. Ideally, I recommend storing 30 days’ worth of food and water in your home, but at the very least you should have two weeks’ worth of these items. After all, experts say that radioactive fallout poses the greatest threat during the first two weeks after a nuclear explosion.

Be sure to have a manual can opener and a way to cook food for your family (such as a camping stove) if there is no power. The closer you are to the initial blast, the more likely it is that critical infrastructure (power, water, communications) will be disrupted.

You need to prepare a bug-out bag for each member of your family as well as a detailed emergency plan. Whether you are forced to evacuate or decide to shelter in place, each family member needs to know what to do. Click here for a list of resources you can use to tailor a plan unique to your family.


In the aftermath of a nuclear attack, it is critical that you have some way of getting information from the outside world. Invest in a quality survival radio and plenty of extra batteries so you can stay up to date on the conditions in your area.

Be sure to pre-program emergency frequencies into your survival radio and designate a specific frequency to communicate with friends or neighbors nearby.


Contact your local government now and ask if there are any designated fallout shelters in your community. Make a list of those nearest to your home and work.

If your community does not have any designated fallout shelters, make a list of potential shelters. According to, “Fallout shelters do not need to be specially constructed for protecting against fallout. They can be any protected space, provided that the walls and roof are thick and dense enough to absorb the radiation given off by fallout particles.” Think subways tunnels, underground parking garages and windowless basements.

I cannot emphasize enough the importance of gathering supplies and outlining your emergency plans now. When an attack warning is issued, the time to prepare is over.

Sound the Alarm

If the sirens start blaring, here’s what to do:

Get Inside

When the government issues an attack warning, immediately get inside and go to the room with the fewest windows. Ideally, you want to be below ground. If you’re at work, go straight to the basement. If you’re trapped on the upper floors, find a windowless room in the center of the building.

Radiation from a nuclear blast is extremely dangerous, although it dissipates rather quickly. The more barriers you can put between you and the outside world and the more time you can stay indoors the better your chances of survival.

At the very least, you should remain indoors for 24 hours after a nuclear explosion, but this can vary depending on how close you are to the detonation site and which way the wind is blowing.

Get Clean

If you happen to be outside when the explosion occurs, get inside as soon as possible and follow these steps from to reduce your exposure to fallout:

  • Remove your clothing to keep radioactive material from spreading. Removing the outer layer of clothing can remove up to 90% of radioactive material
  • If practical, place your contaminated clothing in a plastic bag and seal or tie the bag. Place the bag as far away as possible from humans and animals so that the radiation it gives off does not affect others
  • When possible, take a shower with lots of soap and water to help remove radioactive contamination. Do not scrub or scratch the skin
  • Wash your hair with shampoo or soap and water. Do not use conditioner in your hair because it will bind radioactive material to your hair, keeping it from rinsing out easily
  • Gently blow your nose and wipe your eyelids and eyelashes with a clean, wet cloth. Gently wipe your ears
  • If you cannot shower, use a wipe or clean wet cloth to wipe your skin that was not covered by clothing.

Hunker Down

Remember, the longer you stay indoors, the better. This is why it’s critical that you have a way to stay up to date on the latest information from local authorities. Pay attention to the local news if your TV still works, or tune your survival radio to the emergency channel.

One of the keys to surviving a nuclear attack is to be aware of the affected areas. If your home happens to be near the explosion site (or downwind), you may need to take your bug-out bag and evacuate to a less affected area.

Whether North Korea launches a nuclear attack in the coming days ­— or the threat comes from somewhere else sometime in the future — you must get ready now. It’s certainly not a pleasant scenario to think about, but the people most likely to survive are those who have prepared. Will you be one of them?

Stay safe,

Jason Hanson

Jason Hanson
Editor, Spy & Survival Briefing

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