Life is full of all kinds of little mundane tasks that you have to do, day in and day out. As a public service to everyone, I've decided to start posting little "how to" guides for various tasks, to make these little things slightly less bother. With out further ado here is my first how to guide:
How to survive a nuclear explosion:
First things first, if you are with about 3-5km of the blast, depending on the yield of the bomb, you will be instantly vaporized, and this guide is useless to you. If you are within 5-16km you will likely be either burned alive by the heat wave or your lungs will explode from the sudden violent pressure change. Possibly both at the same time if your are really lucky. Either way, you are still very dead, and thus this guide is still useless to you.
Let's suppose you are 20+ km away from the blast. Well, now your chances of survival have gone up from zero to slim, but that's something I suppose. The first thing you will see is a flash of light brighter than the sun. If you happen to be looking directly at the blast, that's the last thing you will ever see, your eyes will damaged beyond repair. Even if you are facing away from the blast the reflection of the flash off of buildings and whatnot can still temporarily blind you. Try not to panic, you have about 10 to 15 seconds to find a good place to hunker down, there is a shockwave incoming. This shockwave will be like a gust of wind, only it will be travelling at around 900km/h. It will be bringing with it all kinds of debris and shrapnel, like glass, chunks of concrete, wood, a Volkswagen, etc. so plan your shelter accordingly. Once the shockwave passed over you, don't get up, there is another one coming, this time in the opposite direction, this is call overpressure. As an interesting side note I've heard if you keep your mouth open, it will stop your eardrums from rupturing.
Ok, the shockwave is dealt with, and you are alive, maybe you hid under a car, or underpass, or something of that nature. You'll start to realize that your skin is red and tingling. That's because depending on how far away you are, have been inundated with gamma radiation and have the world's worst sunburn. You may already have skin cancer, that sucks.
At any rate, now comes the tough part. You have a few short hours to make some key decisions and plans before the nuclear fallout starts to settle in. Fallout is not very fun. Essentially what has happened is the blast has kicked up thousands of tons of dust and particles, which are now saturated with heavy isotopes, into the atmosphere. This would be called beta radiation. This will kill you, and it's going to start falling back to earth, possibly in the form of black rain.
Cover as much skin as you can, dampen a cloth and put it over your nose and mouth. You need to get moving and find a place to hide. It needs to be a place that you can seal off from the outside world as best you can for at least 48-60hours. After that, the radiation levels should have subsided significantly. Start moving perpendicular to the direction the wind is blowing. Don't go directly away from the wind, you can't outrun the fallout. Just try to get out of it's way. Use these couple of hours you have to travel as far as you can. You should try to collect food and water as you go. Do not eat or drink anything that has been exposed to the air. Prepackaged food is good, so is bottled water. If you are in a residential area, the back tank of toilets and hot water heaters will have safe water, get as much as you can. Bonus tip: if you can swing it, get some cloths, and seal them up in a plastic bag. Have you still been moving perpendicular to the wind? Good, because now you have to make your shelter. Under ground is good, a basement perhaps, just as long as you can seal it off from the fallout. Just remember fallout is not some magic force, it is dust, and if your shelter can keep out dust and rain, you are doing good. Another handy tip is this: If you can manage to make your shelter in a tall building, 14 or so stories high, you will likely be safe from the fallout. Those heavy isotopes we talked about earlier won't go that high.
Now we are snug as a bug in our shelter, what to do next? Did you manage to get a change of cloths? Now would be a good time to get rid of the cloths you are wearing(do not burn them) wash yourself off as best you can, and get into your new gear. Again, try to keep your skin covered, as long as there is no blistering or cracking. If there is, keep it clean and don't cover it. Now grab yourself a book, and wait.
In case you are wondering how important is is not to get caught in the fallout imagine this: Your internal organs are slowing being microwaved and liquefied over the course of several days, you start to get painful blister and rashes on your skin and you get violently ill. Your body begins to shut down and you'll die one of the most horrifying deaths imaginable. Same thing will happen if your food and water is not safe, so get that shit sorted out son.
After two or three days of cooling it in your shelter, it should be safe to come out, but follow the rules! Cover your skin, watch what you eat and drink.
Now the most dangerous part of all. Dangerous because you can not make a plan for it, you can not predict it, you can't have any idea what might happen. This newest threat is people, good luck!