Radiation exists in the natural environment from the sun, air, soil, plants, building materials and in the human body. It is also found in man-made sources such as medical and dental X-rays, smoke detectors and television sets. While these low levels of daily radiation are not harmful, we should be prepared in the event of a terrorist attack that could cause a nuclear blast.
If there is advanced warning of an attack:
Take cover immediately, and go as far below ground as possible. Any shield or shelter will help protect you from the immediate effects of the blast and the pressure wave.
If there is no warning:
Quickly assess the situation. Consider if you can get out of the area or if it would be better to go inside a building to limit the amount of radioactive material you are exposed to.
If you take shelter go as far below ground as possible, close windows and doors, turn off air conditioners, heaters or other ventilation systems. Stay where you are, watch TV, listen to the radio, or check the Internet for official news as it becomes available. To limit the amount of radiation you are exposed to, think about shielding, distance and time:
Shielding: If you have a thick shield between yourself and the radioactive materials more of the radiation will be absorbed, and you will be exposed to less.
Distance: The farther away you are away from the blast and the fallout the lower your exposure.
Time: Minimizing time spent exposed will also reduce your risk.
Potassium Iodide: If there is a significant radiation threat, health care authorities may or may not advise you to take potassium iodide. Consider keeping potassium iodide in your emergency kit, learn what the appropriate doses are for each of your family members