The second half of the twentieth century was dominated by the spectre of full-scale nuclear war. But, of course, by the time 2021 came around, humanity discovered that there are far more nefarious disasters than that of a full-on exchange between two superpowers.
Unfortunately, however, the threat of a nuclear detonation or accident still hangs over our heads.
Whether it be a nearby nuclear blast, a terrorist dirty bomb, or a nuclear accident, the steps you will take to be prepared will be similar.
Most of the items you would find in a DIY nuclear war survival kit will be the same as most other disasters, with a few additions specific to the radiation resulting from atomic detonation or nuclear accidents.
Building a Nuclear War Survival Kit
A nuclear war survival kit is similar to any other emergency preparedness kit, with several additional items specific to nuclear events and a few special considerations for the things you would typically have in an emergency kit.
What follows is a few items that we all should have but now need special consideration and a few nuclear war specific items that would make up a DIY Nuclear War Survival Kit.
We should all have an adequate supply of water on hand in case of emergency, but when we prepare to survive through a nuclear war, we need to consider that all water sources will be contaminated by fallout and become increasingly challenging to make drinkable.
The average human needs approximately one gallon of water each day, and to be prepared, you will either have to store enough water to last through a nuclear war and the aftermath.
There are a few ways to filter radioactive particles from water, one of which is building a soil filter and another being a reverse osmosis filter. These filter options are good but still require that you leave the shelter of your home to get the water to filter, so it is better to store as much water as possible to limit your exposure to the outside world.
After an attack, you will not be able to move freely outdoors until the danger of fallout has passed. Therefore, you must keep a good supply of stored food on hand so that you can shelter in place for extended periods.
Unfortunately, this also means that your garden and any livestock will undoubtedly become contaminated.
It is almost certain that you will need to evacuate the area in the days or weeks after an attack. It may also be necessary to leave the area immediately after an attack because the blast wave has destroyed your shelter or the attack has caused widespread fires in the area.
Being ready to go immediately is essential in your preparations for a nuclear war.
After an attack, you will be forced to shelter in place, effectively cutting you off from the rest of the world and even the people in your immediate neighbourhood. Therefore, having some essential communication gear is critical to gathering information and being aware of what other people are doing around you. Two-way radios, amateur radios, and AM/FM receivers are all imperative to have available after an attack.
Remember, though, that the grid is sure to be down, and comms gear takes up valuable power.
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For example, suppose you are a licenced amateur radio operator. In that case, you already have a selection of radios, antennas and other equipment, but you will also need to have a backup source of electricity to power your gear.
Nuclear detonations are often accompanied by an electromagnetic pulse which will destroy the power grid and render some electronics useless. To combat this, build a Faraday cage and place a selection of electronic devices that you would not want to be without after a nuclear exchange. Then, seal the cage and tuck it away somewhere only to be opened after an attack.
Faraday cages are easy to make; they can be built out of almost any metal box with a few modifications and additions.
A nuclear exchange will destroy the power grid and leave you in the dark. So you will need to generate your electrical power, whether it be solar, gas or diesil generator, or another means.
Everything you want to use that requires electricity, you will have to generate the power yourself. This will also include fuel storage that is sufficient to run said generator for the duration of the nuclear crisis.
Light is also going to be something that you are going to have to plan for as well. Not only will the lack of an electrical power grid make the nights dark, but the possible nuclear winter dimming the sun will also be a factor you need to consider.
Like a power outage kit, your nuclear war survival kit has to consider a prolonged power outage.
Gas Masks and Hazmat Suits
If you are serious about preparing for a nuclear war, you will need to have a gas mask and several hazmat suits for every family member. Likewise, you will also need a good supply of the appropriate filters as well.
A gas mask and a hazmat suit are probably the only way you will be able to leave your home in the days after an attack.
Geiger Counter/Radiation Detector
We can not see, taste, or smell radiation, therefore you need to have a device that you can use to detect the presence of radiation in your home and on clothing and equipment after someone has been outside.
Of all the preps for a nuclear war, this is probably the most expensive of these preps, but one could very well be the difference between life and death after a nuclear exchange. These devices also need to be checked and calibrated from time to time to ensure their accuracy.
After a nuclear accident or detonation, there will be fallout that may contain radioactive iodide-131, which our thyroid glands will absorb and possibly lead to the development of thyroid cancer. Adding a potassium iodide supply to your preps will help limit the radioactive iodide’s ability to absorb into your thyroid.
Anyone who exits the home will need an area to decontaminate upon their return. An excellent way to do this is to build a decontamination area outside the house using lumber and plastic vapour barriers.
The idea is to create a series of separated chambers where you remove your gear step by step, limiting the probability that you will bring fallout into your home.
If you are already prepared for an earthquake, tornado, power outage or another disaster, you are most of the way towards having a nuclear war survival kit.
All you need to do is consider the unique circumstances that a nuclear war or disaster may pose and adjust your preps accordingly.
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