- If a release of radiation is possible/expected, but has not happened yet. (The reactors at Fukushima, for example failed after the earthquake, but it was a while before radiation spread).
- Charge your phones, laptops and anything that needs charging – priority communication devices.
- Switch on the TV/internet and follow any news and instructions that may be given.
- Store drinking water in bottles, utensils and other air tight containers.
- If there is time, buy food that will last long – in sealed packets.
- Procure iodine tablets if available, but don’t take them unless radiation is confirmed and instructed.
- Bring children, pets indoors.
- Secure an area with minimum possibility of radiation and dust entering. Basements are good if you have access to one – the ground around is a good shield, or at least shut and seal closed windows, etc. Choose a room that doesn’t face large open spaces if possible.
- If there is a burst of radiation expected, try to add “shielding” to outer walls, doors, windows, etc. Moving a cupboard in front of a glass window, taping several layers of newspapers, fixing thick quilt, etc for example. Lead, concrete and steel are very good, but anything will work if sufficiently thick.
- Set air-conditioning to recycled air.
|Material||Halving Thickness, inches||Halving Thickness, cm||Density, g/cm³||Halving Mass, g/cm²|
|lumber or other wood||11||29||0.56||16|
- Follow all the above steps as far as possible without risking contamination.
- Wear mask to cover nose and mouth to prevent inhaling radioactive particles. This is the greatest danger in a radioactive environment (even greater than ingestion – dust masks have been observed to reduce this risk to near negligible levels.
- Confirm if your area is contaminated. If you are in a contaminated area and it is possible to evacuate, do so. (suggestions below)
- Avoid going out, unless it is to evacuate. As far as possible decrease time spent exposed to radiation.
- Do not handle contaminated (or suspected contaminated) objects with bare hands as far as possible. Ideally, use uncontaminated instruments to add distance. Tongs, dustpan and stick… whatever.
- If you have been out, have a thorough bath, bathe pets with you to prevent re-contamination.
- Bag and place used clothes outside the house.
- Use food and water sparingly. Avoid using tap water till it is confirmed free of contamination.
- Follow guidance on news media and rescue workers with regard to safety. When following instructions, remember that the instructions from nearest your location overrule others in case of contradictions or differences in guidance say – in national media and local rescue workers.
- Wear your face mask at all times.
- Wear full sleeved clothing, shoes and rubber (or other) gloves as far as possible.
- Pack essentials – money, papers, medications, portable valuables and clean food, water and clothing.
- If you have your own vehicle, use it with windows closed, air-conditioner recycling air.
- Avoid exertion that requires you to breathe harder.
- Avoid touching any objects in the open as far as possible. If necessary, use a tool to keep distance or use a clean barrier you can discard.
- On reaching safe location, follow all decontamination instructions carefully.