I warned earlier of two “off topic” posts. The earlier was a post about the historical origin of the Lady Justice Figure (you know, the sword, blindfold, and balance scale figure). This is the second “off topic” post for those of us old enough to remember any Soviet leader prior to Gorbachev.
The New York Times reported on how to survive a nuclear terrorist attack or other true meltdown.
First, if you are in a concrete underground parking garage – stay put! You will be generally well sheltered from radioactive fallout.
Second, if you are in a home, head for the basement, if you have one.
Third, if you are in a car and can’t readily and very quickly leave it to move to an underground location, stay put.
Fourth, don’t flee – get inside.
This is all wisdom quite to the contrary of advice of an earlier time to flee the area.
The second or lower level of an underground concrete parking garage is the best place to take refuge and strangely enough, the core of a large office building about three stories off of the ground takes a second place.
Even staying put for a few hours after the “blast” in such an underground location will make a huge difference in long-term survival rates.
Here is the latest thinking from Brooke Buddemeier, a Livermore health scientist, as quoted in the NY Times Article of Thursday, December 16, 2010, as reported by William J. Broad:
“The big surprise was how taking shelter for as little as several hours made a huge difference in survival rates. ‘This has been a game changer,’ Brooke Buddemeier, a Livermore health physicist, told a Los Angeles conference. He showed a slide labeled ‘How Many Lives Can Sheltering Save?’ If people in Los Angeles a mile or more from ground zero of an attack took no shelter, Mr. Buddemeier said, there would be 285,000 casualties from fallout in that region. Taking shelter in place with minimal protection, like a car, would cut that figure to 125,000 deaths or injuries, he said. A shallow basement would further reduce it to 45,000 casualties. And the core of a big office building or an underground garage would provide the best shelter of all. ‘We’d have no significant exposures,’ Mr. Buddemeier told the conference, and thus virtually no casualties from fallout.”
Part of the “don’t flee” idea came from the expectation that the initial flash would blind many drivers on the road, resulting in so many accidents that the road infrastructure would become impassable.