Radiation Protection in a Nutshell
11.21.19 | Thursday | Nofit Amir
“Time, distance, shielding” is the touchstone of radiation protection, mentioned in countless federal agency documents.
Put simply, it means that the less time you are exposed to radiation, and the greater the distance from the source of radiation, as well as the more radiation shielding you have – the better off you are.
While civilians who find themselves in the midst of a radiation incident may not have control over their distance from the radiation source or the time they are exposed, they do have some control over the element of shielding, assuming they survive the initial blast.
Shielding includes finding a place that is relatively protected from radiation (such as a basement or an inner room in a building with sufficient concrete mass), as well as having wearable gear that attenuates radiation. In emergency situations in the past, civilians in countries prone to the threat of war and terror attacks, such as Israel, were instructed to carry around gas masks to don in the event of a chemical attack. As such, it is entirely conceivable that civilians can prepare themselves by stocking the StemRad 360 Gamma radiation-protection shield among their emergency “grab and go” kits, which are recommended by the Department of Homeland Security. A radiological attack that occurs with no warning (such as a nuclear detonation or accident at a nuclear power plant) can occur while you are at home, at work or at school. The best preparation is to have your radiation shield with you at all times in your car, office and home.
The derivative of StemRad’s patented selective shielding technology, which gave birth to the 360 Gamma radiation shield used by nuclear workers, hazmat first responders and elite military units, is currently being used to protect NASA astronauts from exposure to a different form of ionizing radiation – solar particle radiation. In both instances, the technology shields the body’s most vulnerable organs and tissue from exposure to deadly radiation, and thus staves off the destruction of the human body’s blood-forming system, which would otherwise lead to Acute Radiation Syndrome (ARS) and eventual death. Less penetrating forms of radiation (alpha and beta particles) that are also emitted in a nuclear catastrophe, are blocked by covering the whole body with plastic coveralls, gloves, goggles, and protective masks). Iodine pills are also recommended – especially for children – to mitigate the later risk of thyroid cancer if radiation particles are inhaled.
As civilians, we do not have control over many things related to radiation emergencies, such as regulating the time and distance of exposure. Yet we can take steps to significantly increase our chances of survival through radiation shielding.