Urban Survival Guide – How to Survive a Nuclear Blast

A nuclear weapon is one of mankind’s most dangerous weapons. A nuclear blast is characterized by an explosion on intense light, heat, a destructive wave of pressure, and an immense release of radioactive energy that can contaminate the surrounding area. A nuclear blast also releases an EMP (electromagnetic pulse) that can destroy electronic devices for miles around (1000s of miles if detonated high enough). It’s a well-known fact that hundreds of lbs. of weapons grade plutonium has been lost or sold by the Russian army and is now most likely in the hands of terrorists and rogue nations like North Korea. Many experts in the intelligence community are predicting with 99% certainty that a nuclear weapon will be used in America within our lifetimes! With the escalating tension between North Korea and the West, now is the time to prepare for a nuclear weapon being used in America!

How to Survive a Nuclear Blast

Nuclear devices come in all shapes and sizes and can be used in a variety of ways to have different effects. If we are to be attacked by North Korea most experts believe they’ll be doing a high altitude nuclear blast for the purposes of releasing an EMP. If done correctly, a well-placed high altitude nuclear blast could take out the majority of the US electrical system, leaving us in the dark. It’s also been speculated that there are already many nukes in the US that have smuggled in and are now hidden among us and shielded from radioactive detection. The threat of a nuclear weapon going off in the US is extremely high right now, and this threat should be taken very seriously. The most likely targets of an attack involving a nuclear weapon by a terrorist group will be highly populated cities like New York or LA. If a nation state attacks us, they’ll likely be setting off high altitude nukes (to create an EMP wave) to take out our electrical grid and communication systems. They may also take advantage of geography and weather to maximize the effects of nuclear fallout.


Nuclear fallout (also known as Black Rain or simply fallout) is the radioactive material that’s been sucked up into the upper atmosphere following a nuclear blast. The particles are then carried by winds for potentially 100s of miles contaminating everything along the way. Fortunately the radiation from a nuclear blast quickly diminishes (safe within 2 weeks outside of ground zero) and you can protect yourself from it. To protect yourself from fallout, you must consider distance, shielding, and time.

  • Distance: Create distance between you and the fallout particles. If you’re in a building, move into the inner most rooms and away from flat surfaces where particles may collect (flat roofs, the ground). If you’re in a condo, you want to either be underground in the parking lot (consider air vents) or near the middle floor, never first floor or top floor.
  • Shielding: Shielding refers to the thickness and density of materials between you and the radioactive material. The greater the density and the greater the thickness of the material between you and the outside, the better. Concrete and brick are ideal common materials to be surrounded by. If you feel the shielding isn’t great enough, consider stacking/piling up material against the walls surrounding your nuclear fallout shelter using materials you can find within the building like mattresses, furniture, books, garbage bags full clothing/paper/stuff.
  • Time: Radioactive material has a half-life (the time it takes for the radiation levels of that material to reduce by half) and fortunately radioactive fallout from a nuclear blast diminishes quite quickly (to about 1% of its initial levels within 2 weeks).


What to Start Doing now!

  • Research: The more you know about nuclear blasts and how to deal with their effects, the better off you’ll be. Research fallout decontamination procedures and how to treat yourself in the event of radiation poisoning.
  • Make an urban survival kit: You’ll not only need the basics like food and water but you’ll want to include a spare change of clothing, tools, defensive items, and first aid equipment. The most important item you’ll need though is Potassium Iodate (anti-radiation) tablets. You’ll want to take the potassium iodate just prior to when you believe the nukes will come down and continue taking them for about a month after the disaster. Potassium iodate works by saturating your system with a stable form of iodine thereby preventing you from absorbing unstable radioactive material.
  • Make a plan: Get your family, friends, neighbours together and make a plan! Gather contact information for each person and designate meet up locations so that you’ll be able to find each other post disaster. You should designate escape routes, code words, where to place messages for each other, and travel routes. You’ll also need to find local places that will work well as fallout shelter and you’ll need to find locations to protect yourself from the initial nuclear blast. Poor planning leads to poor performance! The more extensive your plan in, the better off you’ll be.


What to do During a Nuclear Blast
If a nuclear attack is imminent, you must immediately get to a safe place to survive the initial blast! Ideally you should find a place below ground in underground parking lots or tunnel systems (subways, sewers, etc.). Strong buildings built of thick concrete walls, or bricks can also be adequate for protection. Once you’re in a safe place, surround the entrances with furniture and anything else you can find to suppress the pressure wave created by the nuclear blast. Once everything is secured, curl up in fetal position with your eyes closed and arms wrapped around your ears/head (this will protect your organs and sensory systems from the pressure wave).


If you’re outside and shelter inside a building isn’t possible, find protection behind a large boulder/hill or find refuge in a ditch, or hole. Once in a good location, get into a fetal position and cover your ears/face. Under absolutely no circumstances must you open your eyes as you can instantly be blinded by the intense light of a nuclear blast.


What to do After a Nuclear Blast
After a nuclear blast you must check where the nuclear blast occurred to determine whether or not you’re downwind from the detonation. If you are downwind from the blast you must either take protective measures inside the building you’re currently in or quickly move to a nearby location to protect yourself from the radiation. It’s suggested that you stay inside for at least the first 24 hours to let the initial radiation levels drop. If you’ve been exposed to outside radioactive particles you should remove all your clothing (and store it away from you). Once it’s safe and possible to do so, take a shower and thoroughly clean your body of particles, when cleaning yourself don’t’ scrub or scratch yourself (as it may lodge particles deeper into your skin) and don’t use a conditioner (as it will bind radioactive particles to your hair), use a light soap and water.


After the first 24 hours, you may decide to leave your shelter (but only if your current one isn’t adequate) or remain inside for as long as your food supplies last. After 1 week, it should be safe to leave your shelter and find safety in an unaffected region outside the city. Military and Government agencies will likely be in and around ground zero to rescue survivors. If no help can be found, you must do your best to find the supplies you need to survive (caching supplies in and around your city as preparation is advised).