Preparing for a Radiation Event – Simpler Than You Think
10.30.19 | Wednesday | Nofit Amir
With more than 13,000 nuclear bombs in active state (ready to be used), thousands more dismantled (often meaning they could be put back together in a matter of weeks), 50 bombs lost on the bottom of the oceans, and a host of countries (e.g., Egypt, Saudi Arabia, Turkey) setting up their own nuclear reactors to join the weapons race, we are living in a hyper-nuclear world.
In addition, a staggering quantity of nuclear waste and radioactive devices (in medicine, construction) are regular, everyday constructs of modern life.
The potential for accidents grows not only due to the sheer breadth of nuclear material but also with time, as Cold War infrastructure wears down (e.g., a leaking nuclear waste coffin in the Marshall Islands, or a leaking nuclear weapons waste site at Hanford, WA). Trying to stop leaks or salvage old nuclear relics from sea is in itself dangerous (e.g., the recent explosion taking the lives of five Russian sailors to salvage an old sunken nuclear device).
Moreover, nuclear material is becoming more accessible. Radioactive devices go missing at an alarming rate, and the construction of nuclear reactors for weapons grade uranium worldwide raises proliferation concerns. The scenario of a terrorist-detonated dirty bomb or other small nuclear device is the nightmare of every government, and emergency plans for such an event are carefully articulated.
So how can one survive such a potentially explosive environment? With radioactive material transported all around us or stored near civilian centers, it is important, first of all, to understand the types of radiation emitted in the event of a catastrophe. For people residing a few miles away from the the perimeter of the blast, the main threat is fallout, which emits radiation in the form of rays (typically gamma rays) and particles (alpha and beta radiation): 1) gamma rays are highly penetrating and radiation protection against these rays has until recently been widely perceived as impossible except through a radiation bunker 2) alpha and beta particles can be protected against through external covering of the whole body with thick clothing, goggles and an oxygen mask.
StemRad’s groundbreaking technology – used by NASA, nuclear power plants and militaries around the world – allows for wearable gamma radiation protection for the first time. This long-awaited technology significantly increases survival prospects by safeguarding the body’s vulnerable tissue from gamma radiation.
Deaths due to gamma radiation to date have occurred due to the destruction of vulnerable stem cell tissue in the body’s bone marrow. By protecting a significant portion of stem cells, StemRad’s 360 Gamma radiation shielding ensures that the body’s recovery system remains active (indeed, the treatment in hospitals for severe gamma radiation exposure is a stem cell transplant – by preserving one’s own stem cells such a procedure is preempted naturally).
To prepare for a radiation exposure event, keep the 360 Gamma – which is light and enables mobility – in an emergency kit. To prepare against fallout, store full body covering in the kit, including an oxygen mask. Iodine pills can protect against fallout that is inhaled (and may cause thyroid cancer, especially in children). Keep a transistor radio with batteries and water in the kit as well. Plan to shelter in a place that is as insulated from the environment as possible (a basement, or an inner windowless room in a large building). Taking such relatively easy precautions can take you a long way in surviving a radiation event.
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.