Preparedness Policy and Guidance

Teach Practical Family Nuclear Civil Defense Strategies and Tactics...

The disarmament movement for decades has hyped that with nukes; all will die or it will be so bad you'll wish you had. Most have bought into it, now thinking it futile, bordering on lunacy, to try to learn how to survive a nuclear blast and radioactive fallout.

Unfortunately, most govt officials have, too, as they are focused on #1- Interdiction, and #2- COG (Continuity of Govt) for when #1 fails, and have largely ignored #3 - Civil Defense training of the pubic, so they might be better prepared to save themselves from the first second of the flash of a nuke explosion.

For instance, most people now ridicule 'duck & cover', but for the vast majority, not right at 'ground zero' and already gone, the blast wave will be delayed in arriving after the flash, like lightening & thunder, anywhere from a fraction of a second up to 20 seconds, or more.

Today, without 'duck & cover' training, everyone at work, home, and your children at school, will impulsively rush to the nearest windows to see what that 'bright flash' was, just-in-time to be shredded by the glass imploding inward from that delayed blast wave. They'd never been taught that even in the open, just laying flat, reduces by eight-fold the chances of being hit by debris from that brief, 3-second, tornado strength blast.

Then, later, before the radioactive fallout can hurt them, most downwind won't know to move perpendicular away from the drift of the fallout to get out from under it before it even arrives. And, for those who can't evacuate in time, few know how quick & easy it is to throw together an expedient fallout shelter, to safely wait out the radioactive fallout as it loses 99% of its lethal intensity in the first 48 hours.

The greatest tragedy of that horrific loss of life, when nukes come to America, will be that most families had needlessly perished, out of ignorance of how easily they might have avoided becoming additional casualties, all because they erroneously thought it futile to ever try to learn how to beforehand.

The Good News About Nuclear Destruction! at dispels those deadly myths of nuclear un-survivability, empowering American families to then better survive nukes. For as long as nukes exist, these life-saving insights are essential to every families survival!

And, as a bonus, all our nations' First-Responders would be many magnitudes more effective when there are tens of thousands fewer blast & radiation casualties to later deal with.

The govt should be in the lead getting this information out to all, as it'll save many more lives than doubling the number, and funding, of First-Responders, at a fraction of the cost and time to implement!

Shane Connor


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  1. Comment
    Jean Applegate

    Great idea, too many people are unaware that something of this nature IS survivable providing they're not in the blast area. Thanks for the suggestion!

  2. Comment
    Shane Connor ( Idea Submitter )

    Most think that the bigger the bomb the less good 'duck & cover' will do those in the blast zone. Actually, though, the % is higher that more could be saved then by employing it, compared to a smaller nuke.

    For instance, a big military 500 kt nuke airburst (Hiroshima was only about 15 kt) detonated at optimum height to maximize damage, will have an effective blast range radius of out to about 9 miles from ground zero (GZ) where you could get hurt or killed inside there.

    The inner 2.2 mile radius from GZ would be total destruction, unlikely anybody above ground would survive the overpressure blast, thermal flash and initial radiation.

    If the population were evenly distributed over that 9 mile radius (18 mile diameter) blast zone, there are over 15 times more people outside that 2.2 mile radius than are already gone inside it.

    The blast wave will be arriving at that 2.2 radius mark about 8 seconds after the initial flash. Everyone beyond that has over 8 seconds to 'duck & cover' to avoid becoming additional, unnecessary, casualties, from that intense, but brief, 3 second, tornado strength blast, IF they had been trained up beforehand to do so immediately upon indication of the initial flash.

    IOW, without that 'duck & cover' training, we risk having as many as 15 times more casualties and fatalities than otherwise!

    All of the above, and more, is from the Nuclear Attack Environment Handbook, FEMA - August, 1990 seen here, along with other supporting references...

  3. Comment
    Kirk Paradise

    Of all the types of weapons terrorists or states like Iran or N. Korea might use against the US or its military - chemical, biological or radiological/nuclear, by far the most destructive is radiological/nuclear. Yet a radiological/nuclear attack is the one we are least prepared for. The US should make preparations by educating and training people abut nuclear weapon effects; sheltering and exposure control techniques.

  4. Comment
    Rich Fleetwood

    In the last few years, it has been mentioned over and over again in the media, that the greatest fear and threat for the upper levels of our government is nuclear terror.

    Yet, in every single news story, report, webpage addition, or reiteration of that same fear, absolutely nothing is said about how a single family can truly prepare themselves for this probable event (even the CFR refers to this threat as "the worst case scenario" )

    Starting in the 40s, US agencies started talking to citizens about preparedness, including about bomb shelters (conventional explosives). In the 50s through the very early 90s, FEMA and its predecessors, offered directly to the public various kinds of fallout shelter plans, many of which were actually tested in real nuclear detonations before the US ended testing on 23 September 1993.

    The last FEMA preparedness manual to mention fallout shelter specifically was the 1991 edition of Are You Ready?

    What changed in government, after that edition, so that fallout shelter plans were never again offered or mentioned in official FEMA publications?

    The fallout of a nuclear detonation has always been a threat, whether it was a ground or air burst. The threat still exists with over 22,000 nuclear weapons on the planet, with who knows how many unaccounted for. (

    Not only does Shane's idea suggest nationwide discussion about this threat, but a simplified, yet practical...and TESTED...proof of concept that nuclear detonation, and nuclear fallout, are absolutely survivable, must be discussed and made absolutely clear to all citizens of the US.

    If the most basic tenets of what would be needed, on that day that a blinding flash lights up nearby windows unexpectedly, were followed by Americans that actually paid attention to the concept, untold thousands, or millions, could and would survive and help their communities recover.

    Why the fear, without concern for citizens, instead of ONLY COG?

    Shane, thanks for starting the dialogue in this venue.

    Rich Fleetwood

  5. Comment
    Shane Connor ( Idea Submitter )

    BTW, I'm not proposing the government expend billions for provisioned blast & fallout shelters for all, like what already awaits our top politicians, rather just a mass media, business and school based release of proven practical basic Civil Defense instruction in how to survive nuke blasts and the fallout later.

    There's a lot of 'good news' to share there about how effectively that can be done with a little knowledge and even the most minimal of preparations that will help dispel panic and save many lives in a future nuclear crisis. People will be relieved as they are empowered to discover it is not futile to prepare for surviving nukes. That most can survive them, when they know what to do, will be truly 'good news' to all.

    A one-hour program sponsored by DHS and/or FEMA, ideally enthusiastically endorsed by the President on down, with full-court media press, PSA's, and that one-hour program then running as a public service message continuously on a cable and sat channel. DVD's also sent to all businesses and schools. A light version should be done for young children and the business version to focus on their special needs protecting workplace employees.

    IMO, if done right, and most everyone in this country got to see it and largely grasped it, we could have 80% fewer casualties if/when nukes ever got unleashed here and, as a bonus, then our First-Responders and medical resources would be many magnitudes more effective dealing with those much, much smaller remaining casualty numbers. In fact, nothing would make out First-Responders more effective, for less funds expended, than to have the public trained up to avoid becoming unnecessary additional casualties later.

    Read the short to-the-point 2-page The Good News About Nuclear Destruction! at and see if this doesn't make kt's of sense to you, too.

    After a nuke goes off here, if we had failed to launch this mass public Civil Defense training, the after-action reports, and in-depth studies for years, will be chock full of countless tragic examples of our fellow American families that had perished needlessly for lack of knowing what to do from that first flash second onward.

    None of us here want to have to be writing or reading those reports.

    Shane Connor

  6. Comment
    Philip Smith

    The Nuclear Disarmament Movement has a stranglehold on our national civil defense policy. Their reasoning is that any effort toward a prepared citizenry looks like preparation to initiate a nuclear "first strike" and thus thwarts their ban the bomb efforts. It is too late to ban the bomb! Furthermore, their efforts to make our population as vulnerable as possible simply encourage a terrorist strike. The responder community by not vigorously opposing this foolish policy position may become complicit in the deaths and casualties of multitudes of their fellow citizens.

  7. Comment
    Shane Connor ( Idea Submitter )

    In a tragic irony, the disarmament movement has rendered millions of American families even more vulnerable to perishing from nukes in the future.

    The greatest tragedy of that horrific loss of life, when nukes come to America, will be that most families had needlessly perished, out of ignorance of how easily they might have avoided becoming additional casualties, all because they were duped that it was futile to ever try to learn how to beforehand.

    The disarmament movement's sincere supporters, those just wanting a world safe from nukes, will discover those 'unintended consequences' to be 'inconvenient truths' of the worst kind.

    As Phil Smith above says, the First-Responder community needs to lead in vigorously exposing and opposing this self-inflicted national vulnerability and then correcting it.

    Failing to call for Civil Defense training of the public could have tens of thousands perishing needlessly, but implementing public Civil Defense now will make all First-Responders then many magnitudes more effective to have many times fewer casualties needing to be rescued and saved later.

    I'm all for having more First-Responders, and they being better funded, trained and equipped, but nothing will make them more effective, quicker & cheaper, than having also trained the public to better avoid becoming needless victims in the first place.

    National Civil Defense training of the public will only happen when the First-Responder community recognizes its force-multiplier value to their own mission and then collectively demands it.

    I hope & pray that begins soon.

  8. Comment
    Joe Olson

    This really is fairly simple and inexpensive to prepare for. If the average family would just spend a few hours educating themselves they could go through a disaster with confidence and be able to assist their neighbors as opposed to being another panic ridden family running around scared....

    I really hope this idea gets moved to the national level. Our parents knew what they were doing in the 50's and 60's...we need to remember the lessons of preparedness from them, not slip into a lazy unprepared state.

  9. Comment
    Shane Connor ( Idea Submitter )

    Columbia University’s National Center for Disaster Preparedness report determined that “the U.S. remains unprepared to cope with the possibility of an attack on a major city by terrorists capable of acquiring and detonating an improvised nuclear device”.

    The study, “Regional Health and Public Health Preparedness for Nuclear Terrorism: Optimizing Survival in a Low Probability/High Consequence Disaster,” says in part; "In the United States, virtually no public education has taken place about what an individual should do in the event of a nuclear detonation, although there is urgent and critical need for such education, especially for those living in potential target areas... A public education campaign that addressed these issues could save lives and reduce injury in the gray zone by empowering the public to initiate life-saving actions without the need for official advice, which may never arrive. Immediate protective actions in the first moments after a detonation are critical. Considering that it might be impossible to get emergency messages to the public after a detonation, it is sensible to equip the public now with basic information on how to best protect themselves and their family should they ever confront this type of disaster."

  10. Comment
    Robert Dorman

    I was listening last week to Rudy Gulianni (SP?), former NY mayor during 9-11 attack. His main point was if you prepare for every event that you can think of, you will already be pretty well prepared for the thing that you didn't think of. NYC had preparations for floods, fires in hi-rise buildings, evacuations, hostage crisis, power failures, and several other things. Although they hadn't prepared for the type of attack that occured on 9-11, because they had these other preparations, they were able to effectively combine these plans for a response to that tragedy. Nuclear attack, in various forms (suitcase bomb, cruise missile, ICBM, sabotage of nuke power plant, etc) may have various response plans by the government, but there is no effective plan for the indeividuals, as has been pointed out by Shane. However, preparation should not stop there. There is biological warfare, there is conventional bullets and bombs warfare, there is cyber warfare and economic warfare. All of these require not only government preparations for mitigation, response, and recovery, but these also need plans that can be implemented by individual families and communities. Then, if the unexpected occurs, like an asteroid hitting the earth or the Yellowstone caldera eruption, we will be better prepared.

  11. Comment
    Judy Elliott

    This is an important topic that needs to shared with the general public, and have much more attention brought to it, than currently is being done.

    My late Father was a nuclear scientist and past President of the Health Physics Society. He was a staunch advocate for Civil Defense and for preparing the public to survive a nuclear event.

    In this era of information....we should strive to do everything possible, to inform the public that

    there are things they can do to survive a nuclear attack.

    I strongly support this effort to educate people and save lives...and know that my Father would have, as well.

    It would be time and money very well spent.

  12. Comment
    Janet Liebsch

    Thank you Shane for bringing this up and we too have been sharing nuke preparedness in our book for several years. You (and Dr Irwin Redlener @ Columbia U) have been passionately advocating for greater dissemination of this data for quite some time – again, thank you (& Rich F.) for your efforts - and we hope to help spread the word more since many agencies, nonprofits and businesses give out our book. (And schools and youth groups use it as fundraisers.)

    But sadly when a majority of Americans are resistant or complacent about preparedness in general it’s hard to get them to pay attention unless the data is kind of “forced” into the home where it hopefully will do some good.

    Visuals are powerful – short demo videos of how to make expedient shelters at work, school or home would be cool. Demonstrating the 7/10 rule might be tough but explaining dosimeters and KFM kits might tweak curiosities. And, of course, using social networks is great a way to create a buzz. One of the main keys to prepping is getting entire communities involved – agencies, businesses, faith-based groups, nonprofits, service clubs, K-12 schools and families – so it stays in the forefront. Sept’s NPM is a great way to heighten awareness but it needs to continue year-round. I'm sorry - getting off topic - but sure hope we can get the word out about all this before it’s too late. j

  13. Comment
    Brad McInnes

    I would like to see FEMA provide some standard designs for fallout and possibly bomb shelters. Include basement, above ground, below ground, and half buried/half covered-type shelters. Some can be design as dual-purpose, such as a root cellar, to ensure they are actually used and maintained. Families could build or contract to build these shelters on their property. Also like to see FEMA provide guidance on stocking and operating shelters.

  14. Comment
    Shane Connor ( Idea Submitter )

    FEMA did provide fallout shelter plans at one time, see some of the more popular one's here...

  15. Comment
    Brad McInnes

    Hi Shane,

    Yes, I have downloaded all the old CD plans for shelters, but would like to see them updated for current building codes, so that you could give your local building planning department the plans and they would be approved. Some of the old shelter designs are not good for earthquake country and may collapse. They need more reinforcement.

  16. Comment
    Shane Connor ( Idea Submitter )

    I agree, would like to see that, too, also most were borderline PF40's, where a little more mass would have easily doubled their shielding protection.

  17. Comment
    Philip Smith

    As our nation unilaterally disarms, and faces a terrorist nuclear threat, we should at least have an active nuclear civil defense program.

    Consider what the Russians are doing:

    Moscow arms against nuclear attack

    12 July, 2010, 21:42

    Nearly 5,000 new emergency bomb shelters will be built in Moscow by 2012 to save people in case of potential attacks.

    Moscow authorities say the measure is urgent as the shelters currently available in the city can house no more that half of its population.

    In the last 20 years, the area of air-raid defense has been developed little, and the existing shelters have become outdated. Moreover, they are located mostly in the city center, which makes densely populated Moscow outskirts especially vulnerable in the event of a nuclear attack.

    In order to resolve the issue, the city has given architects a task to construct a typical model of an easy-to-build shelter that will be located all over the city 10 to 15 meters underneath apartment blocks, shopping centers, sport complexes and parks, as in case of attack people will need to reach the shelters within a minute.

    Moscow saw its first mass building of shelters in the 1930s, after which 7,000 of them were constructed. Some of Russia’s metro stations have been built very deep underground so that they could double as air raid shelters.

    However, in the early 1990s, many shelters were privatized by commercial firms that used them as warehouses, parking lots, and even restaurants.

  18. Comment
    Shane Connor ( Idea Submitter )

    The Russians consider "...the measure is urgent as the shelters currently available in the city can house no more that half of its population."

    I'm assuming these are not only fallout shelters, but that they provide some blast protection, too.

    And, here in the USA, what % of our population is the govt ready to shelter today, even from just radioactive fallout?

    My understanding is that there is only one county in all of America that has re-instituted their public fallout shelter program. That's Huntsville - Madison County, Alabama.

    Huntsville is the home of out nations rocket scientists at NASA's Marshall Space Flight Center. See a brief video of their fallout shelter program there...

    And, for how to do it in your county, see their presentation here...

    Be ideal if that was duplicated from coast-to-coast, but at the very minimum we need to of at least, or first, taught the public how to effectively shelter on their own via a national Civil Defense training program.

  19. Comment

    A worthy idea that has much merit. This kind of training could easily be incorporated into current Citizen Corps training, and covered in inexpensive pamphlets.

  20. Comment
    Jane oRIENT

    Millions of lives could be saved in a worst case scenario just with information. To see what three Physicians for Civil Defense volunteers were able to do to get hundreds of rural fire departments in Arizona informed and equipped, go to Youtube and search on roadman911. Better yet would be for every first rsponder to have a wallet size information card and a RadSticker (postage-stamp size dosimeter). Information and demo available at

  21. Comment
    Stephen Jones

    Since 1979 I've heard government officials talk about the great disaster plans we'll have ready in a few years, including nuclear. Let's talk about what is on the government shelf if we are hit by a terrorist nuke(s) today. The only thing that is "shovel ready" is the Nuclear War Survival Skills plan created by the U.S. Department of Energy in the 1970's. This on-the-shelf plan is designed to prepare the nation for nuclear attack in as little as 24 hours or even post-attack.

    Originally the backbone of the plan, the homemakeable Kearny Fallout Meter would have been distributed by newspapers around the country. Now the internet has taken care of that as anyone can download a free PDF of the plan by Googling "Nuclear War Survival Skills."

    While some officials at DHS belive the plan to be out of date, there is no other government document with a self-training plan for the unprepared that includes plans for a homemakeable fallout meter a child can build and operate.

    Note that the Nuclear War Survival Skills plan is an expedient or stop-gap plan created in the expectation that a proper civil defense would be created. It never was. Nevertheless, the Nuclear War Survival Skills plan/manual besides being a stop-gap can also serve as a starting point from which proper civil defense plans can be built.

    Finally, since it is impossible to train and equip for every eventuality, simply having thought about what you would do is far better than sticking your head in the sand.

  22. Comment
    Greg T

    The .gov should have been doing this as a permanent system - but the system has been co-opted by "those who know better", and unfortunately the programming has worked. It's an uphill struggle, but getting the word out is a critical aspect. Education (real education, not just programming by the media and "those who know better") is the real key.

    Personally, I look upon the death of the classic Civil Defense system as an absolute abandonment of one of the governments primary jobs - that of maintaining the security of the citizens against outside threats.

    The original system worked well, and if it had been properly funded, would still be working well. Unfortunately it was regarded as only marginally useful.

    Which, to me, is fairly interesting, considering that government officials themselves still maintain shelters. Guess it's the taxpayers, as usual, that get the short end.

    In any case, we need to get back to educating folks about this topic, that it's not hopeless, and that it's plenty survivable.

  23. Comment
    Herbert Gehring

    If we just got the building codes changed to include the protection requirement for all new construction, we'd begin the shift some thinking. Maybe we don't need to go all or nothing--just the baby steps that don't create ridicule opportunities.

  24. Comment
    Greg T

    @CM - yep, that'd definitely help - but a bigger way to do it is to actually push real preparedness into the public view, and make it a reasonable activity for them to do. Quit demonizing true preparedness, as so often happens.

    Any forward steps are good - but again, that Civil Defense infrastructure was well established all the way from the bottom to the top. Why did we drop it? Not because it was inefficient, that's for sure.

    Hard to tell about the all or nothing thing too - seems that going in small increments doesn't work any more. The only time things seem to change any more is when they happen in large chunks....but maybe that's only my perception.

  25. Comment
    Jeff Rubin

    It is well worth pointing out that the aftermath of an improvised nuke is not the same as global thermonuclear war, and it's important for metro areas to plan for one as a survivable event that would require response. That said, I have a tough time seeing this as a priority, and there's a big difference between a simple mass media message like duck/cover and turning that into mass mitigation that will save thousands of lives. Civil defense itself was based on assumptions that were probably not valid (e.g., that we could evacuate 80% of our metropolitan population in event of nuclear war, or that everyone would adhere to their "training."); fortunately, we never had to test it. I think anything that can provide realistic risk information to the public is a plus, especially on a topic that tends to generate anxiety, but we don't want to repeat (and rely on) the same unrealistic projections of efficacy that we did 50 years ago. Lee Clarke's "Mission Improbable" is a really good treatment of this.

  26. Comment
    Allen Brodsky

    I completely agree with the importance and highest priority for training the public for their protection and national survival in the event of a nuclear or radiation dispersing attack.

    Since some of my most important recommendations when I was national chair of homeland security in 2001-2002 for the Health Physics Society were not effectively carried out, I still find emergency responders as well as the public completely ignorant of the methods of protection and survival that we had developed in the Federal Civil Defense Administration under the Eisenhower Administration and later.

    The Department of Homeland Security must also advise State and local governments to obtain the inexpensive SIRAD family of dosimeters for responders and the public. After one of my visits with an Undersecretary of DHS, these dosimeters were tested and approved by DHS, but DHS has not prioritized their distribution to responders and the public throughout the United States with sufficient urgency. Under the billions already granted to States, the purchase of these dosimeters as an important entree into explaining radiation protection issues, as well as a necessary personal monitoring device to avoid panic, would involve only a small fraction of amounts already expended. Without such personal dosimeters, public panic would almost certainly prevent any hospital care for the injured or any access of responders to those needing rescue.

    I am almost finished a book on Actions for Survival and would be glad to provide a pre-publication copy, or a copy of its important Appendix I, to any high official within the administration who can get things moving.

    Allen Brodsky, Sc.D., CHP, CIH, Diplomate, American Board of Radiology

    Adjunct Professor of Radiation Science, Georgetown University

  27. Comment
    Shane Connor ( Idea Submitter )


    Good points about big differences between global thermonuclear war and small improvised nukes.

    Bottom line for both, though, is our population is currently largely ignorant of things they can do, and would need to do immediately on their own, that could make a big difference for most to avoid becoming additional, unnecessary, casualties.

    Sadly, most of the public thinks when anything nuclear gets unleashed it'll be largely futile that there was anything they might have learned beforehand that could of helped save them then. That's the major source of their anxiety now and their panic later.

    DHS & FEMA need to take the lead instructing the public, via national Civil Defense training, that people can indeed minimize their risk and how, specifically, to do so. Presented correctly, it'll be received as 'good news', replacing their anxiety and panic with hope, empowering them to better control their fate and that of their families.

  28. Comment
    Paul Morris

    Civil defense measures could save millions of lives and make the difference between the life and death of our society itself.

  29. Comment
    Rich Fleetwood

    A bit long winded, so bear with me...

    @Stephen Jones,

    Agreed...NWSS in either paper or digital format is still the single best document created by any entity, that provides usable, understandable, and simple nuclear prepping instructions. Yes, many different versions are online in PDF, html, and other formats.

    Having a hard copy when the time comes to actually need it could be the most viable alternative. Or, possibly HS-4...the 1987 version of "Preparedness Planning for Nuclear Crisis". Both are available free online...I personally scanned in the HS4 that is currently online several years ago.

    @several other posters here....

    Comments by others regarding updating regulations and codes, and even shelter plans based on current and updated technology, while a step in the right direction, will not resolve the crux of the problem, which is creating a simple, clear and concise set of learning tools for the majority of Americans, most of who do not understand what the heck we are even discussing here.

    It could be simple set of Public Service Announcement videos, packages for community emergency preparedness agency managers to pull from and customize for their unique regional, cultural, and sociological needs, or even full coverage mailouts to every postal mailbox in the country. It could also be a hundred other methods of reaching out to the public successfully.

    The Feds created a core nuclear "Survival Manual" in the Fifties that was then shared with every state, for that state to then add the information, contact lists, phone lists, target and evacution maps, and a myriad of other tools, that was actually one of the best ideas to actually see the printing press during that era.

    I've seen two different state's versions of the finished manual, and have one in PDF format for anyone interested. That's pretty much what we need to do again.

    Yes, it'll take a bit of money, but not billions. An important reminder's OUR money. It's education, which trumps ignorance every time.

    On the assumptions that other nations will consider an escalation of threats, if the US does start creating new civilian training tools for nuclear what? We did that for 45 years, and we're all still here.

    Updating and actually doing the not-so-hard part of civilian training and education opportunities is the American way. Freedom, liberty, and all that great patriotic stuff.

    After all, what we're talking about right now is getting administrators within government to focus on the public's real needs, instead of political corruption, servitude, and injustice to the citizens of this nation.

    We are all already paying for so-called defense of our nation with our taxes, every single day. Yet, we've seen more terror on our soil in the last 17 years, from foreign and domestic threats, then we saw in the previous 40 years before 1993.

    We've seen the lives of thousands of Americans ended prematurely, at the hands of criminals and terrorists in mass killings in the last decade, while our leaders in all areas of government keep *discussing* and *posturing* on what should be done to "protect the citizens". They missed the point.

    Doesn't that in and of itself say something about where this nation's priorities truly need to be? Personally, I've done tremendous amounts of work the past 15 years, in getting tens of thousands of pages of US created nuclear preparedness materials on the web, that were and are the basis for the very subject we are discussing here. Shane is another individual who has done the research and shared his findings widely. There are dozens more like us doing the same thing. There should be tens of thousands of us.

    The same things that notable icons such as Cresson Kearney researched and shared are still solutions to the specific threat that we face today. And, remember, the very specific worry that we have of a nuclear detonation, primarily fallout, has technically remained the same absolute physical manifestation of nuclear threat.

    Science and American dollars have also proven that we can protect ourselves 100% from fallout, with basic understandings, time (1 to 2 weeks indoors), and tools and supplies available in every single town in America.

    Given that, why is it so hard to get done, what Shane Connor has proposed here? Why are there actually people, here in this venue, voting AGAINST the very idea Shane has brought to the forefront? Why can't we make a difference, regarding this very real, and probable event, in our future?

    We can. But it's going to take people like Shane, Kirk, Phillip, Janet, Dr. Orient, Daniel, Stephen, Professor Brodsky, and thousands of others like us continuing to keep the focus on getting our DHS, FEMA, and other preparedness agencies that are tasked with the safety of all Americans, to get the real ground work done.

    The science is already done. The basic nuke prepping skills are already laid out in front of all of us in those manuals printed in the last 40 years. The ability to respond...well, that needs a lot of work (Katrina, anyone?).

    And what about that little word that no one is mentioning? You know...defense? The part that failed on 9/11, Pearl Harbor, and other notable historic dates? With the trillions spent on the military, how come Americans are still dying on our own soil? Where is that defense we've been paying for?

    When the threat arrives, it becomes personal. FEMA, DHS, and the National Guard will eventually appear whereever we are attacked, but what we're trying to create here, in my belief, is a set of individual skills for surviving that critical first 24 hours after a terror nuke.

    We can do that. Absolutely. So, let's get started.


  30. Comment

    Great Idea! Ilearned most of what I know from a book distributed by the Office of Civil Defense in the 1960's.

  31. Comment
    Rich Fleetwood


    Not sure if you're being facetious or not, but you do bring up a valid point. The largest quantities of US civil defense publications on nearly all areas of civilian preparedness were produced and printed during the Sixties.

    One of the last nuclear preparedness publications from FEMA was the publication "Risks and Hazards, State by State", aka FEMA-196.

    View it here...

    Printed in September 1990, this publication listed nuclear target maps for every state, as well as maps for the more common natural disasters the US sees every year.

    Regarding the target maps, FEMA-196 states on page 15, that "The maps used in this booklet have been adapted from U.S government planning data developed in 1988. For the most up-to-date information on whether your community is considered at risk from nuclear direct effects, check with your state of local civil defense office." Try getting answers on this topic from those sources. You can't.

    These maps were based on earlier maps produced in the "Nuclear Attack Planning Base 1990" document, which was put online after a FOIA request by a friend of mine. NAPB90 resulted from yet an earlier OCD/DOD document called TR-82, "High Risk Areas", circa 1976.

    View the NAPB90 document in its entirety here ( a big thank you to FEMA for presenting this for us )...

    While we all know that these maps above are 20 plus years out of date, to assume that there are no current nuclear targets within the US, from foreign nations, including those of Russia, China, and all those "Axis of Evil" countries, is ludacris.

    After this FEMA publication, the only other document I've come across to mention nuclear preparedness was "Are You Ready", the 1991 edition. This document including a few pages with expedient nuke prepping info, and info to contact FEMA for those free shelter plans.

    The 1993 edition of this title removed *ANY* reference to nuclear preparedness, other than for 2 pages for individuals living near a nuclear power plant.

    However, after the events of 9/11, FEMA did update the "Are You Ready?" manual, with H-34, produced in September 2002, a year later.

    Started on page 89, and concluding on page 94, it actually mentioned things such as "What to do before/during/after a nuclear or radiological event".

    In suggesting sheltering, it suggested looking for building that had the "yellow and black fallout shelter signs" on public buildings, signs that have been disappearing for years, with the shelter space now used for warehousing, storage, and anything but safe spaces for citizens.

    While a gallant attempt to recover old ground, it was woefully incomplete on actual facts and plans for individuals to educate themselves and prepare their families "just in case".

    H-34 assumed that the governments at federal, state, and local levels would be able to provide for citizens/victims of a rogue nuke/dirty bomb. Again, I mention "Katrina", which happened 3 years after this publication. So, this document is now outdated, and short of the information we seek to help our fellow citizens with.

    But, Sean, thank you for reminiscing on this topic.

    Folks, take a look at this FEMA page.

    Do you see ANYTHING mentioned about nuclear terror or nuclear preparedness?

    No. And THAT'S the problem.

    Read the online version of H-34 here...

    Read the chapter mentioned above on nuclear blast response here...

    But again, note mention of fallout shelter plans or usage exist on the FEMA site.


  32. Comment
    Rich Fleetwood

    An excellent article from 2006, from the Journal of American Physicians and Surgeons, Volume 11, Number 3, authored by Dr. Jane Orient (who has commented above).


    "The apparent strategy of the U.S. federal government, in the event of the use of nuclear weapons on American soil, is to provide for continuity of government” while civilians largely fend for themselves. Early in the nuclear age, the federal government funded extensive research on nuclear weapons effects and protective measures, but a national civil defense does not exist,

    partly owing to opposition from some physician groups. Expedient methods could still save millions of lives at minimal cost."

  33. Comment
    J Clifton

    This needs to be done.

  34. Comment
    Philip Smith

    The plain but startling fact is that the largest population at mortal risk from a terrorist nuclear blast is not at ground zero, but the surrounding communities ignorant of simple civil defense. This is an unconscionable failure of leadership!

    A terrorist nuclear device would most likely be detonated at ground level in the heart of an "urban canyon". This has profound implications for response and civil defense. The Hiroshima weapon was detonated at 1900ft, which maximized the blast and thermal damage but minimized the radioactive fallout. The blast and thermal effect radius of a street level detonation would be measured in city blocks, not miles. The radioactive fallout from such an attack however would be enormously increased as vast quantities of radioactive debris is blown skyward. Much of the debris would fall in a few minutes within a 10 mile radius, rendering the response area highly radioactive.


    Responders and citizens alike should immediately retreat to radiation safe locations. The problem is that neither group has a clue what that means. This amounts to criminal negligence on the part of our leadership. Most people think that evacuation is appropriate in such circumstances - which signs their death warrant! Communication with the affected population will be nonexistent. Responders will not even be able to approach broken buildings to search for survivors until several days after the event. Most responders have been issued oversensitive interdiction and hazmat instruments that will be useless in reporting the true radiation levels encountered. Within an hour or so the debris cloud will begin dumping fine radioactive grit and ash up to 100 miles downwind. The fallout intensity downwind of an urban surface blast will be greater than most military plume charts assume. Our focus should not be on those near ground zero doomed to sudden death, but rather on the far larger population at risk of lingering radiation casualties caused by ignorant actions in the first hours after an attack.

  35. Comment
    Sharon Packer

    We must educate the general public to the real threat and to the concept of survivability. This valuable information should be made available in credible and easily accessed places and formats. The doctrine of Mutual Assured Destruction (MAD) is still alive and well, today. A lot of people choose to believe that by ignoring the problem of defense and assuring mutual destruction, the threat will somehow magically disappear. It’s easier, they believe, to do nothing. People, who otherwise might have taken the time to make preparations, have been shamed into believing it is immoral to do so.

    Many, however, have an innate will to survive and are looking for this life saving information; but, don’t know how to access it. They need to have access to basic NBC shelter plans and practical post war survival information. They need to understand the concept of weapons effects, including the electro-magnetic pulse (EMP). They need to know what foods and emergency supplies to store; what they can eat and how to harvest crops that have been contaminated with fallout. They need to know how to live without electricity; how to take care of their rubbish and garbage; how to prepare food and stay warm; how to communicate with emergency radios and how to filter and purify water. These concepts need to be taught in our schools and made available in written format. They need to be available on the Internet, as well as in our libraries and government offices.

    The nuclear threat is alive and well. Never have we been more vulnerable than we are today, from terrorist countries and terrorist organizations. We have no defense in America. The lack of protection and survival information is a national disgrace.

    TACDA (The American Civil Defense Association) is a non-profit organization established in 1962, to teach the general public these valuable skills. In all that time, we have not even scratched the surface. Our thanks to Shane Conner for offering this opportunity to encourage the government to do the right thing.

    Sharon Packer

    TACDA Executive Director

  36. Comment
    Bill Lohmeier

    Remember, the same naysayers who preached Mutual Assured Destruction also advocated population control. They weren't interested in the general public's survival. Don't surrender and accept the false view of total defeat whenever radiation is involved. My old Mazda had parts made in former ground-zero city, Hiroshima, Japan.

    Mass, Distance, Time - are your family's tools for radiation mitigation. Shielding, or Evacuation, until the half-life periods drop radiation to safer levels. Short excursions for supplies will soon be possible.

    If finances are a challenge, use 3M N95 dust masks in place of respirators to ptotect family members' lungs when cleaning fallout dust off of canned food stocks left outside of shelters. The food sealed inside jars and cans is NOT contaminated, and is safe to consume.

    After venturing out to forage, wash any particles off of self and clothing, in a mud room around an earth-filled corner away from shelter living space.

    Bill Lohmeier

    Radiological Defense Officer 1985-2005

  37. Comment
    Shane Connor ( Idea Submitter )

    Sunday night, this #1 ranked idea, out of over 200 submitted, was 'red flagged' by someone for unknown reasons and it now is no longer listed at the main page as the most popular, or first there in the 'hot' category, where it also was prominently until then.

    Nobody coming to the site now will ever see or discover it there anymore, as if it never existed, unless somebody gives them the direct link to this specific page here.

    I don't know what is going on and don't want to speculate about it, I'd just like to see it promptly resolved by the moderators. I was hopeful this would have been resolved this morning, now that the Monday labor day holiday is over, and I'd of also addressed these concerns directly to them, instead of publicly here, if I could have found any contact info on the site provided to have done so.

  38. Comment
    Eric Connor

    I'm a full-time paramedic and volunteer firefighter and there is no real training for how to survive nuke blasts or fallout after wards for us, much less the public.

    I think it makes a lot of sense that we'd be much more effective doing our job, responding after a nuke, if we'd been trained AND the public had also been trained-up, too, re what to do, and not do, so there would be far fewer casualties then for us to handle.

  39. Comment
    jed turtle

    a national population that has immediate access to blast and radiation protection reduces the likelihood of an enemy attempting to wipe it out with an offensive attack because the chance of success is reduced dramatically, and any survivors will be highly motivated to eliminate the perpetrators of the attack.

    promoting underground housing, malls, infrastructure would be a huge step in the right direction.

  40. Comment
    Shane Connor ( Idea Submitter )

    Update to my last post about this proposal being 'red flagged' and taken off main page and lists, that's now been resolved and it's back up everywhere now.

  41. Comment
    Serge Kabud


    good news that issues on this post are resolved and it's back up everywhere now.

  42. Comment
    Jane oRIENT

    It is vitally important that Americans have information that will prevent them from becoming needless casualties. Just knowing that a bright flash signals that a blast wave is on the way, and that you need to lie down on the ground and take cover if possible, could save thousands of lives. When personal dosimeters the size of a postage stamp are available for a few dollars, there is no excuse not to have one. Why panic about possible radiation exposure when you could know the dose for sure, and if needed take measures to prevent further exposure? If first responders all had these, they could forestall massive panic.

    Jane M. Orient, M.D., president, Doctors for Disaster Preparedness

  43. Comment
    James Kee

    The idea that this type of situation in not survivable is wrong. Preparation and understanding of what to expect can go a long way towards increasing survivability for an individual or a group.

  44. Comment
    Bruce Beach

    Several days ago I commented on this idea - but I don't see my comment here. It makes me wonder if my vote for this idea (and the other ideas that I voted for also) were counted - but I won't vote a second time so there won't be any thought of there having been double voting.

    My comment then, and my comment now, is that as a Radiological Scientific Officer (for many years) I have always been concerned that other countries have continued to prepare by educating their citizens and providing shelters for them - whereas the US destroyed its Civil Defense program, took down the shelter signs, scrapped the stockpiles of radiation detectors, and so forth.

    Surely it is not that those countries who prepare - know something that our government does not. On the other hand perhaps our government thinks itself so wise about things regarding catastrophes and disasters that it couldn't possibly be making a mistake.

    Previously - I attributed why I think things have worked out the way they have to fact that the military industrial complex didn't figure out a way to make a big buck out of Civil Defense. Trillions have been spent for Destruction but nothing for actual defense. We are all sword and no shield.

    So far the policy has been that the best defense is offense - but if it ever proves out otherwise - Great will be the disaster.

  45. Comment
    Philip Smith

    Quote from the report linked below:

    "Taken together, our results suggest that the government should initiate an aggressive outreach program to educate citizens and the private sector about the importance of sheltering in place in a basement for at least 12 hours after a terrorist nuclear detonation."

    Analyzing Evacuation Versus Shelter-in-Place Strategies After a Terrorist Nuclear Detonation

  46. Comment
    Carl Kee

    I strongly agree with Mr. connor's position. The simple matter of duck and cover training would save untold lives in the case of a (God forbid) nuclear attack. Not to mention the relief to first responders.

    I have been working in health physics in the nuclear industry for some 48 years, starting at Florida State Univ, I have worked at two national labs, the DOE Pantex facility and 12 nuclear power plants. I developed a method for reducing cobalt 60 at BWR plants. I was head of the Nuclear Technology at a Texas college for 7 years. I have been RSO on 3 different licenses. So I know a bit about what I am talking about.

    Yours for s safe radiological environment.

    J. Carl Kee, RSO