How to Survive a Nuclear Attack


Yesterday it was all fun and games in the snow when we learned how to build an igloo, today we’re going to get depressing and learn how to survive a nuclear attack that would melt your igloo 🙁 . I’ve got an awesome video here from a TED talk done by Irwin Redlener, who is the associate dean, professor of Clinical Public Health and director of the National Center for Disaster Preparedness at Columbia University’s

Mailman School of Public Health, and is the author of Americans at Risk: Why We Are Not Prepared for Megadisasters and What We Can Do. This video is 25 minutes long and he only goes into the “how to survive a nuclear blast” bit towards the end around the 15:00 mark, so if you want you can just

skip ahead to that (I’ve also put his list of 7 things to do to survive just under the video for you), but everything prior to that builds up to it and is sort of a “threat assessment” where he covers some basic history of nuclear weapons and WHY a nuclear blast is still a significant threat: in fact, it’s even MORE of a threat than it was during the cold war. Check this out to find out why (also, I’ve got some vintage 1950’s “what to do if the Ruskie’s nuke us” PSA videos from the U.S. and British governments at the very bottom below the resources section you might be interested in seeing if you want a laugh):

Irwin Redlener’s List of 7 Steps to Take to Survive a Nuclear Blast

  1. Avoid staring at light flash, keep you mouth open (prevents eardrums from bursting due to the shockwave).
  2. If very close, duck and cover.
  3. Get away from initial fallout from mushroom cloud (10-20 min) or “shelter in place” (underground or above 9th floor).
  4. Move downwind or crosswind for 1.2 miles (away from area with building damage).
  5. Try to keep skin, mouth, nose covered if it doesn’t impede evacuation or sheltering.
  6. Decontaminate ASAP, seek medical care.
  7. Shelter for 48-72 hours (until cleared to go).

Additional Resources and Further Reading

The best possible book on this specific subject that I can recommend is the official U.S. Armed Forces Nuclear, Biological And Chemical Survival Manual–The author, Dick Couch, an ex-Navy SEAL and author of The Warrior Elite, has culled military and government publications for “best practices” in coping with nuclear, biological and chemical attacks, which he presents along with gruesome lore on the history, use and effects of NBC (Nuclear, Biological, Chemical) weapons. And, of course, as I pointed out above the speaker in the above video has got his own book out on the subject called Americans at Risk: Why We Are Not Prepared for Megadisasters and What We Can Do.

A truly excellent (and completely free) guide on the subject, which they’re also offering as a PDF, is What to do if a nuclear attack is imminent.

Also, has got a really good article on how to survive a nuclear winter.

Completely serious PSA’s from the government on how to not be vaporized by a NUCLEAR FUCKING BOMB by hiding under your desk like Tippty the cartoon turtle

And here’s one from the British government with a nifty cutaway house and paper stick people: