How To Survive Nuclear Attack

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The question “How to survive a nuclear attack?” is becoming more and more discussed in 2023. With the increase of the global unrest and certain difficulties in the international discussions field, a fallout with entailed radiation and a following nuclear war seem likely to occur. Prepare your basement and learn some prepper tricks to promote your safety should the nuke starts. You will surely need to know how to give first aid and keep your eyes, lungs, and skin intact from radioactive particles and nuclear dust. Read on to maximize your safety.

A nuclear attack and nuclear war is perhaps the worst scenario that can happen. Moreover, the consequences of a nuclear explosion are as dire as the attack itself. If you managed to survive a nuclear blast itself, it does not mean that the worst is over.

Radiation sickness, wounds, destruction, all this can kill even after an explosion.

But the prepared ones always have a better chance of surviving. Therefore, we will consider such topics in our article:

  • factors influencing the destruction that a nuclear bomb carries;
  • can you survive a nuclear attack;
  • what items and resources should be ready in the event of a nuclear war.

Starting With The Bad News For A Prepper


If you are in a nuclear attack zone, then there is no chance. Sorry. The good news (if it is appropriate to call it such) is that death occurs in one moment without suffering. You will not even have time to feel anything.

But if you are outside the blast zone itself but still too close, then you will not die immediately. You will die of suffering, pain, and injury. So-so perspective, I agree.

It is possible to avoid primary radiation in the next zone, but if you go out, you should not wait for a good outcome. Radioactive fallout covers the entire area. It also causes radiation poisoning and painful death.


Let’s say your location is even farther away, but it is in this direction that the wind is blowing. This is also the end. Nuclear fallout will reach this territory, and the outcome will be the same.

We begin this article so pessimistically, not to intimidate you. (Although the more people hate and fear a nuclear bomb, the greater the chance that this will never happen.) Our goal is to show the cruelty of the consequences and the problem to prepare as well as possible.

Nuclear Fallout

You cannot influence many factors in any way, but you need to be aware of them. There are also factors that you can apply to your advantage, and you should be aware of them too. We will tell you about everything.


The Nuclear Attack Factors You Cannot Control


A lot of reasons influence the outcome of a nuclear explosion and damage zone consequences:

  • Weapon size
  • Some weapons to be detonated.
  • Wind, its speed and direction
  • Weather, precipitation
  • Ground Zero
  • Explosion type — in the air or on the ground

Agree. All these moments are not in your power.

Mother nature and the weather determine wind and rainfall. Where the wind blows is very important in understanding which areas will be contaminated. The weather also affects how quickly the area recovers from the disaster.

Government and those who decide to launch a nuclear attack control the type of nuclear blast and its volume. You can predict where the explosion will be aimed, but misfires happen.

Yes, we do not influence these factors, but understanding them gives us knowledge about the nature of the explosion, its direction, and so on. And we can use this knowledge to our advantage.

What Is Nuclear Fallout

Nuclear fallout is a hazardous thing, capable of contamination vast territories even at a great distance from the blast. How and why is it formed?

The moment the explosion releases a pulse of radioactive energy. And this energy is very, very much. It is equal to the trillions of bullets that are shot at you, striking all the human body cells.

This energy carries in itself radiation, which is very terrible for humans and for all life on the planet. It carries the danger of a terrible disease, acute radiation syndrome.

Oddly enough, the initial pulse does not itself infect everything around, and it comes from nuclear fallout.

Radioactive isotopes and uranium are released at the moment of the explosion and mix with dust, dirt, and debris, all the smallest particles in the air. And they are responsible for radioactive contamination. A radioactive plasma is formed, passing miles away. This is nuclear fallout.

Fallout cloud covers the ground, settling on it. It is this that carries the most terrible consequences.

As we mentioned, there are ground burst and air burst. The amount of fallout will greatly depend on this type.

The Dire Consequences Of Nuclear Fallout

Air Force Survival Handbook

Not only is nuclear blast terrible, but also the consequences. If you survived, unfortunately, this does not mean that everything is over. Long-term zones miles away will be contaminated with fallout radiation.

Radiation exposure causes terrible diseases like cancer and leukemia. Suffer all people and animals.

If you read the USAF Survival Manual, you will find out that if you want to try the wild game, it is better not to eat meat within 3/8 ” of the bone. The animal’s bone marrow will contain the most radiation—excellent advice. Eat radiation, but not too much.

At least this illustrates how deeply radiation and consequences can get inside.

Nuclear Contaminated Water


If you got into the nuclear blast zone but survived, the question arises where to get clean water. Is there some way to purify the water?

Nuclear fallout will infect all-natural water sources for miles around. The only ones that will remain untouched are underground sources. But if they reach the surface, they will become contaminated in a second.

Unfortunately, there is no way that will definitely purify water. You cannot go to the store and ask for a nuclear contamination water filter. For now, anyway. Boiling will not help either.

The good news is there are no bacteria in the radioactive water because this water kills all living things—such a paradox.

If there are no options, you can try using a charcoal water filter. Perhaps (only perhaps) it will separate the radioactive particles.

The only chance would be to have bottled water from storage.


Even if pure rain comes, after the water reaches the ground, it will be instantly contaminated. Collecting rainwater will not help. For any collection, water will mix with the fallout.

Ground Burst And Air Burst

Ground Burst means that the bomb has exploded on the ground. Then a massive crater was formed.

Ground burst lifts dirt, soil, and more fallout.

Air Burst means that the bomb exploded in the air before it hit the ground. This means that the crater did not form and less soil got into the air. Although the radioactive pulse travels further with an Air Burst, it does not carry as much danger as fallout. Therefore, air blast kills fewer people.

If Nagasaki and Hiroshima were Ground Bursts, there would be even more losses. Yes, they were Air Bursts; not everyone mentions it.

How To Survive A Nuclear Attack

The main rule is to stay inside a building. If you are not in the blast zone, you have a chance.

The first human instinct is to run away. But do not do it. The blast wave, shock wave, and fallout are still faster than you, and you will not have time to run far enough. Of course, it is better to be as far away as possible, but this is already a matter of luck and chance. All you can do now is get inside the building. Find an appropriate shelter—the more buildings between you and the nuclear blast, the better.

The ideal option is an underground bunker. It gives the maximum number of chances for survival.

Surely do not leave the building before 24 hours. But honestly, it is unlikely that it will be safe to leave the shelter just 24 hours later.

Keep in mind that you will have to stay inside the fallout shelter not for a couple of days but for weeks or even months. Therefore, you need to think about stocks.

Besides the obvious food and water, it is also good to plan some kind of entertainment. Yes, this is not the first thing you will think about during a nuclear blast, but definitely think about it sitting locked up for many weeks. Survival books, painting sets, games, movies, everything that will distract you and help pass the time—stock up on everything you might need for a long-time shelter.

Buy A Handcrank Radio

Scorpion Ii Multi-Powered You need a device to stay tuned for messages from the government and monitor the weather and the situation. The grid will definitely stop working, and you should not rely on electricity.

The best option would be to buy a hand-crank radio. By rotating the crank, you will generate enough power to operate this survival radio. This way, you will be able to keep abreast of events and will not be cut off from the outside world.

Buy A Gas Mask

Do you remember that going outside is not only highly not recommended, but very, very dangerous?

But we understand that different things happen. You may need to leave the fallout shelter to replenish food or water supplies, or you may need to get to your children.

Mira Safety Filters And MasksIn such cases, you need to cover your entire body as much as possible, including your face. Especially it is worth taking care of the respiratory tract. You need a quality gas mask.

Pay attention to MIRA Safety filters and masks.

Choose something that completely covers your entire face so that radioactive contaminants do not get inside.

Another important point to keep track of is the weather. More precisely, the direction of the wind.

The wind blows fallout far away from the blast radius. So being 60 miles from a nuclear blast but upwind is better than being 120 miles where the wind is blowing.

Let’s hypothetically say that you live west of New York City. A nuclear attack hit the city center, but you are outside, and the wind is blowing the other way. In such a case, it may not be a bad idea to go even further west. But it is essential to monitor the situation using reliable means of communication.

Such as the radio mentioned above.

Decontamination After Nuclear Attack

If you have been exposed to radioactive particles, there are several things to do:

1. Get inside a building

Leave the infected area as soon as possible. Do not touch people, objects.

2. Take off all your clothes

Put everything, including underwear and shoes, in a tightly resealable plastic bag. About 90% of the fallout particles have accumulated on your clothes.

3. Wash off the leftovers

Now you need to remove 10% of external contamination from yourself. It has not yet managed to penetrate into the body, and you need to quickly wash everything off yourself. Take a shower with soap, rinsing very thoroughly all over your body and hair. Do not rub until it bleeds, but act confidently. You will wash off all radiation particles in water so that they do not enter your body.

Potassium Iodide Pills

Thyroid Protector Potassium To begin with, this is NOT a magic pill that will save you from radiation. This just does not exist. Gamma radiation hits all of your organs, but the thyroid gland is one of the first to be affected.

Potassium iodide will help your thyroid gland. Therefore, every first aid kit must have these pills.

Yes, this is a very partial solution to the problem, but everything is better than nothing. The thyroid gland is one of the first organs to suffer, so you need to take care of it, especially when there is such a remedy.

How Can Preppers Do?

Now the possibility of a nuclear war seems to us like a bad dream. More than 50 years ago, a Treaty on the Non-Proliferation of Nuclear Weapons was signed. Almost all countries, including Soviet Union (Russia), have put their signatures. North Korea also signed the agreement but later withdrew its signature.

Therefore, despite the government’s efforts, some countries, including North Korea, apparently admit they have nuclear weapons.

Is there something we can do on our own for our safety? We can move to live in a remote area. Large cities like New York are more suitable for nuclear war targets. Living in the distance is what we can do for our safety and increase our chances.

You might also consider building an equipped fallout shelter or ask the Federal Civil Defense Administration where the closest shelter is located.

As they say, “duck and cover!”


What is needed to survive a nuclear attack?

You can survive the use of a nuclear weapon if you are lucky enough to be at a sufficient distance from the blast radius.

You need to find possible fallout shelters very quickly. To cover in an underground fallout shelter is an ideal scenario—the more dense objects between you and the blast, the better. Stay inside the shelter and do not go outside.

Stay tuned for government messages.

How far do you have to be from a nuclear explosion to survive?

There is no single answer to this question. The destruction that nuclear blast causes depends on too many factors:

  • whether it ground or air blast;
  • type and size of a nuclear weapon;
  • how many bombs, and how big are they;
  • weather conditions and wind direction.

How wide the damage zone will be spread depends on all this. In any case, if the blast is in the foreseeable distance, then things are bad. Suffice it to say that a 1-megaton bomb can blind people 50 miles away and create a blast wave capable of covering about 100 square miles.

How long does it take for a nuclear bomb to kill you?

People would die from the blast wave and destruction, thermal radiation, building collapses, ionizing radiation, and fallout consequences.

If a person is in close proximity to a nuclear exchange, then death will occur in a second.

At 1 megaton airburst, this zone extends for 3 kilometers. At least it is a quick death.

With radiation poisoning, death will come more slowly and much more painfully.

Is it possible to survive a nuclear bomb?

It is possible to survive a nuclear blast, but many factors must converge to do so. The further you are from the blast site, the better. Besides bombs, you should be afraid of fallout, which, in a dangerous scenario, will bring more losses and a wider damage zone than the bomb itself.

Please remember that inside stay will greatly increase your chances of surviving a nuclear exchange.


A former USA Army sergeant and a highly educated survivalist and prepper with a degree and interest in Engineering and Electronics, Mike Millerson applies his extensive expertise in survivalism, homesteading, backpacking, hiking and hunting, spreading his deep knowledge about handling emergencies and prepping for them reasonably and effectively.




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