Surviving Nuclear War

The world is unhinged. The illusion of security, peace, and treaty are adulterated on a weekly basis. It took time to get to this point, but now, as we watch the world stage, it’s clearer than ever. The curtain call can come at any time. With nations like North Korea, Pakistan, and Russia holding arsenals of nuclear weapons the threat is real. Iran has been very vocal about their intentions in using nukes once they get them.

Of Israel, the leadership said they must be “wiped off the map.”

The Heavyweight Champ of Nukes: The Tsar Bomba

It’s not 1945 anymore and just like all other technologies the nuclear bomb has had some impressive improvements in capabilities. The current reigning “known” champion in the nuke world belongs to Russia.

The weapon is called the Tsar Bomba and it really puts into context exactly how devastating nuclear weapons have become. This bomb has been tested and creates a fireball that was 5 miles in diameter. The mushroom cloud was over seven times as high as Mount Everest! It’s hard to understand how much damage a bomb like this would do. In the test, homes were destroyed 100km away from ground zero.

To better explain the power of this monolith a blast radius has been superimposed over Paris in this frightening picture.

Everything within the red ring would be destroyed instantly

We also have nuclear weapons of our own. The biggest hindrance for most nations that would nuke America is the lack of a delivery system. They can’t get them all the way over here! However, hackers don’t need a delivery system if they can launch those in our own backyard.

The point is, you are only as safe as you make yourself. Preparing for nuclear war is the only way you can hope to survive a nuclear war. Let’s hope our elected officials find ways to compromise and avoid slinging nuclear warheads at all costs. That said, don’t be a fool and depend on that.

There are steps you can take to protect yourself from nuclear war.

  1. Location

Blast radius in this new age has changed drastically. We are not in the world if Hiroshima anymore. The technology of today dwarfs the effectiveness of bombs from our distant past.

Your first course of action is relocation. If you are living in a major metropolitan area or near a major military base you must move. Get to a more rural location with a reasonable population. This move is vital to your survival. Not only will you have less to deal with in terms of hungry and desperate people, but a rural location will never be a direct target the way a metropolitan area will.

  1. Measurement

The blast zone of the bomb may not affect you directly. Maybe you are lucky enough to be outside of the blast radius. If this is the case you will still have to deal with deadly nuclear fallout. Radiation poisoning is a terrible way to go and can become a stark reality if enough radiation from this fallout makes it into your tissues.

Of course, if the fallout is headed in your direction you will want to take cover. How will you know when it’s safe to come out? How will you know if radiation levels are safe enough for you to survive?

There are a few pieces of tech that can offer you a reading or a warning for the levels of radiation. A Geiger counter is one and it’s a very expensive one.

Here are two other great options:

KFM kits (Kearny Fallout Meter) measure radiation more accurately than most instruments since they’re charged electrostatically. Free plans are available online or can be purchased as a kit ($45-$75).

Dosimeters are pen-like devices you can wear that measure the total dose or accumulated exposure to radiation as you move around ($45-$65 – needs a charger, too). You cannot see, feel, taste or smell radiation so detection devices are extremely important.

  1. Protection & Shelter

In most cases, the only thing that will keep you safe from elevated levels of fallout is an underground shelter. Of course, not everyone has access to such a shelter. That is ok and can be dealt with as long as you can create shielding from the radiation.

Impromptu shielding would look something like a room at the center of the home away from windows and areas where fallout could gather. Create a shelter from dense materials like mattresses, pillows and thick blankets. If you have other insulation materials they would work well.

Put some thick clothing on as well. Dense clothes and hat coverings. Breathing masks would help. Anything you can use to limit exposure.

Time is also a big factor in protection and shelter. There is something known as the 7 10 rule when dealing with radiation. It states the following:

For every sevenfold increase in time, there is a tenfold decrease in radiation rate.

Basically, for every hour you shelter the RAD level drops 10x. If you are facing a RAD level of 400 which is dangerous in seven hours it will be down to 4 RAD.  If you can stay put for seven hours you will greatly decrease your exposure level.

  1. Intel

Whether you choose an emergency radio, ham radio or have contacts with local officials you are going to need intelligence to make your next move. This could be much harder than you think considering local news, electricity and most other services will have been incinerated in the blast.

I recommend a solar or hand-crank radio for such events. You will get a signal from somewhere. If you have HAM radio capabilities then take advantage of that as well.

Here are some helpful questions that will need to be answered after a blast.

  • How many bombs
  • What size
  • Affected Populations
  • Wind Direction (for tracking the fallout)
  • Motivations
  • Conditions around your town
  • Conditions at your BOL (Bugout Location)
  1. Facing the New World

Though a single bomb may not throw the entire country into collapse those around the blast will be in a state of desperation. Water will be contaminated and they may be sick or worse. The new world will be a desperate one and you must be prepared to protect those around you.

At first, there will be no real sense of the extent of the damage. For the average person, they will understand a big bomb has gone off but the magnitude will be hardly felt by the average person. Soon they will come to realize just what has happened. They will realize they are but one in a sea of millions and there are no trucks running food or supplies in or out of the area anymore.

The riots and panic will happen first. These will be easily avoided if you are not near the highest population of people. Once everything dries up in stores people will begin raiding homes. Hopefully, help arrives before this point but if we are talking nuclear war there is a good chance more than one city will fall victim.

People will kill for the things they need and when shelves start going bare those who have what others need will become targets. Pay close attention to OPSEC and choose your allies wisely.

  1. Food

Dried food storage and other food stores will be in high demand. If a major city is hit by a nuclear bomb you will find that resources will not come to that area in a necessary capacity for a long time. Aid will be dropped and distributed but it won’t be enough. Be sure you have enough food to keep your family going for 3 months. These don’t have to be 5-star meals but you will need calories.

If you are dealing with fallout be sure that you move your food storage into a safe place as well. The radiation in your food will wear off over time as well but for those foods that you will be consuming first, they will need protection from the radiation just as you will.

  1. Clean Water

All the water around the blast will be affected by the fallout. It will lose radiation over time but depending on how close to the blast the source is it could be a long time. If you plan on sourcing water from a stream near you be sure you understand where it runs. If it runs through the blast area it will be exposed to serious radiation.

I recommend storing water in your home and moving it into your shelter area during the fallout.

One of the best methods is the water BOB which turns your bathtub into a giant water tank that is protected and easily accessible. There are also effective water blocks out there that can be filled and stacked in an organized fashion.

  1. Firearms

In this new world, you are going to have threats. Until things get back to normal people will be acting crazy. They will be desperate and they may come in contact with you. You must be prepared to defend what your family needs to survive. Firearms for home defense are the best options to start with.

Get proficient with your weapon. Don’t just buy something to store in a safe. Killing someone is your last resort but it’s not your worst-case scenario. The worst case is reserved for losing someone you love or being lost to them by someone dangerous.

When all other order is lost, the firearm demands respect.

  1. Rebuilding

A point that many preppers often get confused is that survival is not just about killing. Survival is just as much about recovery. If you talk to survivors of real disasters like those in Haiti. The issue of surviving and desperation is merely a bridge to recovery and getting back to normal life. You must have skills in self-defense but it wouldn’t hurt to learn how to engineer off grid power, clean water, and work as a team within our community.

Truth be told, the answer to all this chaos is a strong, prepared community. While you practice your bushcraft and your firearms training be sure to take a moment and reflect on how you will take care of those around you or how you will rise from the ashes to rebuild what was lost. Total chaos and collapse is in part a decision of those who live in it.

If you look at some of the worst ghettos in America you will find that there is a lot of easy decisions made to live within the chaos rather than making tough choices to change it. Of course, there are other issues that affect these areas, but as humans, we can collectively decide to rebuild and push on or decide it is a war and its every man for himself.


Though the odds of nuclear war may seem relatively low, now is the time to get yourself out of the crosshairs. Build a life away from major metropolitan areas and other targets. While there can be many things done to protect you from nuclear war and we discussed most of them above, live simple and self-reliant. The time has come for self-reliance and independence in the nation and in the world.

As alluring as it may sound and appear to be in movies, no man is an island. Do not go at this thing alone or you will more than likely die alone. Assuming you must become Batman to survive a societal collapse is a terrific way to sell books, magazines, and tactical flashlights. The right answer, the best answer, and the only answer is within your community. These are the people you will rebuild with and they must be prepared as well.

Prepare today for tomorrow and find creative ways to include the people who live around you.

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