Monday, January 16, 2012

Radiation Emergencies, How Do You Prepare?

The world has a new sort of emergency that ancient Egyptian or Victorians did not have to deal with. It is radiation emergencies. We must all be prepared to deal with them. They can happen anywhere because of the nature of terrorism and war.

Preparedness for radiation emergencies is mostly like other emergencies. The biggest difference is in what you do if you must shelter in place. Here is a quote from AMOA (Amusement and Music Operators Association,) about what to do to shelter in place:

“If you are advised to shelter in place, you should do the following:

Close and lock all doors and windows.

Turn off fans, air conditioners, and forced-air heating units that bring in fresh air from the outside. Only use units to recirculate air that is already in the building.

Close fireplace dampers.

If possible, bring pets inside.

Move to an inner room or basement.

Keep your radio tuned to the emergency response network or local news to find out what else you need to do."

You will have noticed that you do not want any air to get in your residence from outside. That is to stop the radiation from coming in with the air. 

These directions are much like those for volcanic ash. I have to know about volcanic ash because I live within ash spitting distance of five active volcanoes. Because of needing to know about volcanic ash, I am automatically pretty well prepared for radiation emergencies as well. Any preparedness you manage will help out in other types of emergencies.

You do not want to go outside during a radiation emergency. That means you need to have your food  and water and other basic preparedness supplies on hand. I have posts already published on basic preparedness, especially  water and food. I will repeat, however. 

You need to figure on a minimum of 1-3 gallons of water per day per person. That is just for drinking. You will probably want to wash your hands, dishes, and maybe flush the toilet. Any cleanup that you do requires more water. Please plan accordingly and do not wait. No one can predict when someone will cause a radiation disaster in your area. 

You need to figure out food that requires little preparation. If the power plant operators decide to take care of themselves by staying home, guess what? No power for you. The same could apply to other utilities such as water, and sewage and gas.

If you don't get any power it would be highly awkward to have a lot of uncooked microwave dinners as your food supply. Peanut butter and crackers could get old, but it would be preferable to raw microwave dinners. 

Do your best to pick foods that you and your family normally eat and like. Have a way of cooking them safely, if they require cooking. 

I prefer to use my normal foods for preparedness and eat them and replace them. That way my preparedness items are always fresh. I am also certain that I will like to eat them. There is probably a way for you to plan to take care of yourself and your loved ones by doing the same. I hope you will do so soon.

There is a sort of medicine that you can take to protect your thyroid gland from radiation. It is a form of iodine. Some people are allergic to it so cannot take it. It will not protect your whole body from radiation, only your thyroid. I don't see a problem with taking it, but the thinking that comes with that is a problem.

People often have the idea that once they take that medicine that they are safe. This not at all true. You need to be as careful as ever even after you take it. The rest of your body can still get cancer from radiation.

It is not preventive medicine. You will not be invulnerable once you take it. Read the directions if you decide to take it and follow them carefully. There is an optimum time to take it in regard to when you are exposed to the radiation. The directions take that into account. That is why you must follow the directions carefully. (Potassium iodide must be given before or within 4 hours of exposure to be effective.)

You can also get potassium iodide for your pets. It

is not useful if your pets are not dosed within the 4 

hour time span. It is over the counter if you can 

find it. Your pet should not be dosed with it if 

allergic to iodine. Neither should you. 

You can ask your veterinarian about potassium

iodide for your pets. It is also called KI. There are

not very good guidelines for dosing animals with it,  

so I believe you should consult a vet about it.

You will need to decide whether to make

potassium iodide a part of your emergency

preparedness supplies.

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