- Be careful when using wood stoves, fireplaces, or space heaters to heat your home.
- Avoid using candles during a power outage. Use flashlights or lanterns instead.
- Never use an electric generator or a gas or charcoal grill indoors. The fumes are deadly. Conserve heat in your home.
- Monitor body temperature for infants and older adults.
- Leave water taps slightly open to prevent pipes from freezing.
- Eat well balanced meals to stay warm. Avoid alcohol and caffeine
If you plan to use a wood stove, fireplace, or space heater, be extremely careful. Follow the manufacturer’s instructions and remember these safety tips:
- Use fireplaces, wood stoves, or other combustion heaters only if they are properly vented to the outside and do not leak flue gas into the indoor air space.
- Have your heating system serviced by a qualified technician every year.
- Do not burn paper in a fireplace.
- Ensure adequate ventilation if you must use a kerosene heater.
- Use only the type of fuel your heater is designed to use—don’t substitute.
- Do not place a space heater within 3 feet of anything that may catch on fire, such as drapes, furniture, or bedding. Never cover your space heater.
- Never place a space heater on top of furniture or near water.
- Never leave children unattended near a space heater.
- Make sure that the cord of an electric space heater is not a tripping hazard but do not run the cord under carpets or rugs.
- Avoid using extension cords to plug in your space heater.
- If your space heater has a damaged electrical cord or produces sparks, do not use it.
- Store a multipurpose, dry-chemical fire extinguisher near the area to be heated.
- Protect yourself from carbon monoxide (CO) poisoning by installing a battery-operated CO detector and never using generators, grills, camp stoves, or similar devices inside the house, in basements, in garages, or near windows
Light Your Home Safely
If there is a power failure:
- Use battery-powered flashlights or lanterns rather than candles, if possible.
- Never leave lit candles unattended.
Use Generators Safely
Generators should be located at least 20 feet from any window, door or vent — preferably in a space where rain and snow does not reach them.
- Never use an electric generator indoors, in the basement, inside the garage, or near open windows or the air intake of your house because of the risk of carbon monoxide poisoning.
- Plug in appliances to the generator using individual heavy-duty, outdoor-rated cords.
- Do not use the generator or appliances if they are wet because of the risk of electrocution.
- Do not store gasoline indoors where the fumes could ignite.
- Never use a charcoal or gas grill indoors. The fumes are deadly.
Some gas-fueled heaters, such as vent-less gas fireplaces, require some ventilation. Otherwise, if you don’t need extra ventilation, keep as much heat as possible inside your home.
- Avoid unnecessarily opening doors or windows.
- Close off unneeded rooms.
- Stuff towels or rags in cracks under doors.
- Close draperies or cover windows with blankets at night.
Monitor Body Temperature
Infants less than one year old should never sleep in a cold room because they lose body heat more easily than adults. Follow these tips to keep your baby safe and warm during the extreme cold:
- Remove any pillows or other soft bedding. These can present a risk of smothering and Sudden Infant Death Syndrome (SIDS).
- Dress infants in warmer clothing such as footed pajamas, one-piece wearable blankets, or sleep sacks.
- Try to maintain a warm indoor temperature. If not, make temporary arrangements to stay elsewhere.
- In an emergency, you can keep an infant warm using your own body heat. If you must sleep, take precautions to prevent rolling on the baby.
Older adults often make less body heat because of a slower metabolism and less physical activity. If you are over 65 years of age:
- Check the temperature in your home often during extremely cold weather.
- Check on elderly friends and neighbors frequently to ensure their homes are adequately heated.
Keep a Water Supply
Extreme cold can cause water pipes in your home to freeze and sometimes rupture. When very cold freezing temperatures are expected:
- Leave all water taps slightly open so they drip continuously.
- Keep the indoor temperature warm.
- Improve the circulation of heated air near pipes. For example, open kitchen cabinet doors beneath the kitchen sink.
If your pipes do freeze, do not thaw them with a torch. Instead, thaw them slowly by directing the warm air from an electric hair dryer onto the pipes.
If you cannot thaw your pipes, or the pipes are ruptured, use bottled water or get water from a neighbor’s home. As an emergency measure, if no other water is available, snow can be melted for water. Bringing water to a rolling boil for one minute will kill most microorganisms or parasites that may be present but won’t remove chemical pollutants sometimes found in snow.
Eat and Drink Wisely
Eating well-balanced meals will help you stay warmer. Do not drink alcoholic or caffeinated beverages because they cause your body to lose heat more rapidly. Instead, drink warm, sweet beverages or broth to help maintain your body temperature. If you have any dietary restrictions, ask your doctor.
- National Center for Environmental Health (NCEH)/Agency for Toxic Substances and Disease Registry (ATSDR), National Center for Injury Prevention and Control (NCIPC)
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A nuclear blast is an explosion with intense light and heat, a damaging pressure wave, and widespread radioactive material that can contaminate the air, water, and ground surfaces for miles around. A nuclear device can range from a weapon carried by an intercontinental missile, to a small portable nuclear device transported by an individual. All nuclear devices cause deadly effects when exploded.
The likeliness of an intercontinental missile striking the United States is slim, while the possibility of a portable nuclear device being smuggled into the country is not so far-fetched. Let’s face it, the ware bouts of all the nuclear devices is not clear. Rouge nations are trying to obtain such a device, many terrorists too would like to have a “bomb” in their possession.
The CDC said its briefing, which is scheduled for the afternoon of Jan. 16, will address “planning and preparation efforts” for such a strike. The agency said most people “don’t realize that sheltering in place for at least 24 hours is crucial to saving lives and reducing exposure to radiation.”
This comes on the heal of President Trump and North Korean dictator Kim Jong Un have been engaged in an escalating battle of threats and taunts over their respective nuclear arsenals. A defiant Pyongyang has made major advances to its nuclear program over the past year, and has directly threatened Americans. Trump has responded by saying the U.S. would “totally destroy” the hermit kingdom, a nation of 25 million people, if provoked. It has become a war of male ego when Trump stated “his button was bigger”.
In the event of an actual nuclear war, “there would be survivors for days trying to make their way out of the rubble and back home, dying of radiation poisoning,” Jeffrey Lewis, a nuclear policy expert at Middlebury Institute of International Studies at Monterey, previously told HuffPost.
Hazards of Nuclear Devices
The danger of a massive strategic nuclear attack on the United States is predicted by experts to be less likely today. However, terrorism, by nature, is unpredictable.
In general, potential targets include
- Strategic missile sites and military bases.
- Centers of government such as Washington, DC, and state capitals.
- Important transportation and communication centers.
- Manufacturing, industrial, technology, and financial centers.
- Petroleum refineries, electrical power plants, and chemical plants.
- Major ports and airfields.
The three factors for protecting oneself from radiation and fallout are distance, shielding and time.
- Distance – the more distance between you and the fallout particles, the better. An underground area such as a home or office building basement offers more protection than the first floor of a building. Shielding – the heavier and denser the materials – thick walls, concrete, bricks, books and earth – between you and the fallout particles, the better.
- Time – fallout radiation loses its intensity fairly rapidly. In time, you will be able to leave the fallout shelter. Radioactive fallout poses the greatest threat to people during the first two weeks, by which time it has declined to about 1 percent of its initial radiation level.
Taking shelter during a nuclear blast is absolutely necessary. There are two kinds of shelters:
- Blast shelters are specifically constructed to offer some protection against blast pressure, initial radiation, heat and fire. But even a blast shelter cannot withstand a direct hit from a nuclear explosion.
- Fallout shelters do not need to be specially constructed for protecting against fallout. They can be any protected space, provided that the walls and roof are thick and dense enough to absorb the radiation given off by fallout particles.
Remember that any protection, however temporary, is better than none at all, and the more shielding, distance and time you can take advantage of, the better.
Before a Nuclear Blast
The following are things you can do to protect yourself, your family and your property in the event of a nuclear blast.
- Build an Emergency Supply Kit
- Make a Family Emergency Plan.
- Find out from officials if any public buildings in your community have been designated as fallout shelters.
- If your community has no designated fallout shelters, make a list of potential shelters near your home, workplace and school, such as basements, subways, tunnels, or the windowless center area of middle floors in a high-rise building.
- During periods of heightened threat increase your disaster supplies to be adequate for up to two weeks.
During a Nuclear Blast
The following are guidelines for what to do in the event of a nuclear explosion.
- Listen for official information and follow the instructions provided by emergency response personnel.
- If an attack warning is issued, take cover as quickly as you can, below ground if possible, and stay there until instructed to do otherwise.
- Find the nearest building, preferably built of brick or concrete, and go inside to avoid any radioactive material outside.
- If better shelter, such as a multi-story building or basement can be reached within a few minutes, go there immediately.
- Go as far below ground as possible or in the center of a tall building.
- During the time with the highest radiation levels it is safest to stay inside, sheltered away from the radioactive material outside.
- Radiation levels are extremely dangerous after a nuclear detonation but the levels reduce rapidly.
- Expect to stay inside for at least 24 hours unless told otherwise by authorities.
- When evacuating is in your best interest, you will be instructed to do so. All available methods of communication will be used to provide news and / or instructions.
If you are caught outside and unable to get inside immediately:
- Do not look at the flash or fireball – it can blind you.
- Take cover behind anything that might offer protection.
- Lie flat on the ground and cover your head. If the explosion is some distance away, it could take 30 seconds or more for the blast wave to hit.
- Take shelter as soon as you can, even if you are many miles from ground zero where the attack occurred – radioactive fallout can be carried by the winds for hundreds of miles.
- If you were outside during or after the blast, get clean as soon as possible, to remove radioactive material that may have settled on your body.
- Remove your clothing to keep radioactive material from spreading. Removing the outer layer of clothing can remove up to 90% of radioactive material.
- If practical, place your contaminated clothing in a plastic bag and seal or tie the bag. Place the bag as far away as possible from humans and animals so that the radiation it gives off does not affect others.
- When possible, take a shower with lots of soap and water to help remove radioactive contamination. Do not scrub or scratch the skin.
- Wash your hair with shampoo or soap and water. Do not use conditioner in your hair because it will bind radioactive material to your hair, keeping it from rinsing out easily.
- Gently blow your nose and wipe your eyelids and eyelashes with a clean wet cloth. Gently wipe your ears.
- If you cannot shower, use a wipe or clean wet cloth to wipe your skin that was not covered by clothing.
After a Nuclear Blast
People in most of the areas that would be affected could be allowed to come out of shelter within a few days and, if necessary, evacuate to unaffected areas. The heaviest fallout would be limited to the area at or downwind from the explosion. It might be necessary for those in the areas with highest radiation levels to shelter for up to a month.
Returning to Your Home
Remember the following when returning home:
- Keep listening to the radio and television for news about what to do, where to go and places to avoid.
- Stay away from damaged areas. Stay away from areas marked “radiation hazard” or “HAZMAT.”