In Time of Emergency eBook

Office of Civil Defense
This eBook from the Gutenberg Project consists of approximately 73 pages of information about In Time of Emergency.

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1.  The main hazards of a nuclear attack are blast, heat, fire, and fallout radiation.

2.  You may be able to protect yourself against blast and heat by getting inside a shelter or taking cover, before the nuclear explosions
  occur.  You may be able to avoid fire injuries by putting out small
fires or escaping from large fires that might occur in your area.

3.  You can protect yourself against fallout radiation by getting
inside a fallout shelter—­if possible, before fallout particles begin
drifting down—­and by staying there until you are told to come    out by
authorities who have the equipment to measure radiation    levels.

4.  After a nuclear attack, food and water would be available to most people, and it would be usable.  If any fallout particles have collected,
   they could be removed before the food is eaten or the water is
drunk.  People suffering from extreme hunger or thirst should not be denied food or water, even if the available supplies are not known to be free of fallout particles or other radioactive substances.

5.  Infants and small children should be fed canned or powdered milk (if available) for awhile after the attack, unless the regular milk supply is uncontaminated.  They should not be given water that may contain radioactive substances, if other water known to be pure is available.

6.  A person cannot “catch” radiation sickness from another person.


When a nuclear bomb or missile explodes, the main effects produced are intense light (flash), heat, blast, and radiation.  How strong these effects are depends on the size and type of the weapon; how far away the explosion is; the weather conditions (sunny or rainy, windy or still); the terrain (whether the ground is flat or hilly); and the height of the explosion (high in the air, or near the ground).

All nuclear explosions cause light, heat and blast, which occur immediately.  In addition, explosions that are on or close to the ground would create large quantities of dangerous radioactive fallout particles, most of which would fall to earth during the first 24 hours.  Explosions high in the air would create smaller radioactive particles, which would not have any real effect on humans until many months or years later, if at all.[2]


If the U.S. should be attacked, the people who happened to be close to a nuclear, explosion—­in the area of heavy destruction—­probably would be killed or seriously injured by the blast, or by the heat of the nuclear fireball.

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In Time of Emergency from Project Gutenberg. Public domain.
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