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How to Survive a Nuclear Attack: Hide (but You'll Probably Die Anyway)

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How to Survive a Nuclear Attack: Hide (but You'll Probably Die Anyway) © Newsweek How to Survive a Nuclear Attack: Hide (but You'll Probably Die Anyway)

It’s a warm and beautiful day in sunny California—or Guam, for that matter—and despite the dangerous rhetoric employed by both the president of the United States and the leader of North Korea, you’re walking around without a care in the world.

You look up to thank the gods above for such a perfectly peaceful day, only to witness a 2,400-pound intercontinental thermonuclear weapon hurtling through the sky. A feeling of impending doom rushes over you, ruining your day entirely as you kick yourself for never getting around to building that secret fallout shelter in the basement of your apartment complex.

No need to panic: Death in the wake of a nuclear missile attack is almost always imminent.

Google searches for "how to survive a nuclear attack" surged after President Donald Trump said North Korea would suffer "fire and fury like the world has never seen before" if it continues threatening the U.S. But most experts on nuclear fallout and ICBMs are in agreement that there is very little likelihood of surviving an attack on any region of the world.

The best chance of surviving a nuclear blast in your city or town, as well as staying alive during the fallout of toxic particles and dust that lingers in the air months after an explosion, would be to go far underground and stay there.

The safest underground spaces when facing nuclear fallout would be two stories beneath the ground floor of a five-story apartment building, or underneath a large office or apartment building, according to FEMA's planning guidance for responding to nuclear attacks.

nuclear © Provided by IBT Media (UK) nuclear  

The majority of homes, apartments and other buildings built with lightweight materials instead of brick or concrete would be considered "poor" or "inadequate" hideout spots, according to a 2014 study published in The Royal Society journal, titled, "Determining optimal fallout shelter times following a nuclear detonation."

A study conducted by Sandia National Laboratories in 2011 analyzed the likelihood of surviving “a Chicago nuclear detonation scenario,” and it came up with grim results for dwellers of the Windy City.

Just 100,000 Chicago residents would likely be saved in the event of a nuclear blast striking the region, leaving nearly 2.6 million others to fend for themselves, according to the assessment by researchers Larry Brandt and Ann Yoshimura.

If you were to somehow survive a nuclear blast in your area, the government recommends getting inside, away from windows and doors, and staying there to avoid radiation until you receive the latest information or updates from emergency officials trained to respond to disaster situations.

"Fortunately, there are very few situations where an average person is exposed to uncontrolled sources of radiation," the Environmental Protection Agency writes on its radiation protection page.

But that statement feels naïve in Trump’s America, where many feel nuclear war is but a few short tweets away from becoming reality. 


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