Radiation – how to protect yourself during an event and in the long run
07.10.20 | Friday | Nofit Amir
Radiation technology is all around us. From medical imaging equipment to smoke detectors, we live in a world that is dependent on radiation in one form or another. While this is mostly risk-free when used with the right safety equipment, toxic radiation can happen in so many other ways.
The most dangerous forms of radiation are likely to occur when radioactive materials leak slowly from forgotten or submerged nuclear missiles, in cases of nuclear reactor trouble like the Fukushima earthquake incident in 2011, or even from living in zones that are prone to conflict. An important aspect of radiation is that it is invisible and we cannot see it with our own eyes. Under all such circumstances, what one can do is ensure that appropriate steps are taken to protect themselves and ensure safety, both while it is happening and in the long run.
How to protect yourself during the event?
In the event that you are faced with danger from gamma radiation or ionized particles in the air, the basic principles to remember for radiation protection are time, distance, and shielding. Airways are usually the first organs to get exposed. Gas masks, goggles, and gloves come in handy at times like this, even if it is not possible to access full-body protection.
Get to a place of safety immediately and discard everything that you’re wearing, followed by a shower to ensure that the exposure time is reduced. The shorter the time of exposure, the better protected you can be.
Distance yourself as much as possible from the radiation source. Depending on the size of the event, radiation exposure can happen for several miles around. Even when indoors, it is advisable to stay away from doors, windows, and even walls – stay close to the center of the space to maximize protection. Often, it may not be possible to distance yourself as much as you should from the source when you are within the containment zone. However, it is better to do as much as you can to reduce additional risks.
Radiation shielding is also important when taking shelter from radiation exposure. To minimize the effects of radiation, it is useful to have bunkers, basements, etc. that are lined with materials that prevent hazardous radioactive elements from seeping through. Remember that it is not safe to venture out unless deemed safe to do so by the experts and authorities in charge of the situation. Exposure zones typically require wearing radiation PPE, which can protect you to some extent from harm.
In the long run, radiation protection depends on many factors. If iodized particles have been inhaled, suitable measures have to be taken to ensure that you do not develop thyroid cancer. Regular checks to detect radiation levels around you will be necessary. Radiation PPE is also of use when moving around affected areas, especially for civilians.
It is always better to be prepared for possible emergencies in the future. One way to do this is with radiation shielding. Lead is the gold standard when it comes to protection from radioactive elements in the long run. The density of the material prevents gamma rays from penetrating it.
All of this is possible with a reliable partner like StemRad, which offers patented solutions for protection from radiation. Since radioactive resources are unavoidable in order for certain equipment and industries to function, the prudent approach is to have cutting-edge technology and the knowledge to protect human lives from potentially hazardous radiation. It is not just first response personnel and medical staff who require protection, but also every individual within the potential radiation zone that needs to take adequate precautions.
Civilians are unlikely to ever have control over a radiation event. This is why there are protocols in place that are to be followed in the likelihood that any major or minor events occur. StemRad protects personnel with its technologically advanced shielding that allows for ergonomic movement while also ensuring the safety of vulnerable parts of the body.
While StemRad takes care of your safety needs from radiation, your role is to stay away from the event and keep your family safe. Be prepared for such circumstances by ensuring that you and your loved ones are adequately protected from potentially harmful radiation.
Frequently Asked Questions
What materials can block radiation?
Any material can block radiation, as long as there is enough mass of it. However, some materials are more efficient than others at blocking radiation. High-density and high atomic number elements such as lead and tungsten are very effective against neutral radiation such as gamma, X-ray, and neutron radiation, while hydrogenous materials such as water and hydrocarbons are very effective against charged particles such as protons and alpha particles.
What is the easiest way to be safe from radiation?
The two easiest ways to protect oneself from radiation are to keep one's time of exposure to a minimum and to maintain the maximum possible distance from the source.
How can you protect yourself from radiation exposure?
If in a situation where radiation exposure is unavoidable, shielding can be used to protect oneself from radiation. Examples of sheilding can be concrete bunkers, leaded glass or acrylic barriers, or personal protective shielding, such as StemRad's family of products.
I want to buy a whole body radiation suit for gamma radiation. Where can I find one?
There is no such thing as a whole body radiation suit. Such a suit would be extremely massive and cumbersome. There are diminishing returns in shielding the entire body, since most radiation-sensitivie organs and tissues are located in the head, neck, and torso regions. Selective shielding has been proven to be very effective at reducing the overall risks of acute radiation syndrome and cancer.
Writes content for StemRad’s website, social media, and newsletter. She is an advocate with over twenty years of experience of writing high-end content in academic and industrial settings.