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What to do during a nuclear attack?


Russia’s use of nuclear weapons to break through the defenses of Ukrainian troops is increasingly being discussed in Ukraine’s information space.

Even though military experts estimate that the possibility of using tactical or strategic nuclear weapons is very unlikely, it is impossible to completely rule out such a threat.

The devastating effects of nuclear weapons are usually distributed as follows:

  • shock wave ≈ 50%.
  • light radiation ≈ 35%;
  • radioactive contamination ≈ 10%;
  • penetrating radiation and electromagnetic pulse ≈ 5%.

Thus, 85% of the energy is distributed in the first minutes of a nuclear projectile explosion. Then the radiation comes into play. Therefore, survival strategies during a nuclear attack are divided depending on whether you were caught by an explosion or you had time (at least 5-10 minutes) to hide in a shelter.

General tips

The main advice when attacking any type is never to ignore the air alarm! As soon as you hear the siren, you need to follow the shelter immediately! You need to have a supply of water, food, and medicines. Also, don’t forget to put your documents in your suitcase.

What to do during an explosion?

If a nuclear attack suddenly catches you, remember the following:

First, there will be a high-altitude flash and light radiation;

In 5-10 seconds, depending on your distance to the epicenter of the explosion, a shock wave will come. No matter where you are, the first thing you need to do is protect yourself from light and shock waves.

If you are on the street at the time of the explosion

If you are on the street during a nuclear attack, you should immediately throw yourself into a shelter, which can be even a “fold of the terrain”. You need to find any shelter that reflects the shadow and can protect you from radiation and shock waves. The best option is a ditch on the far side of the explosion. As a last resort, when there is no shelter nearby, you can just throw yourself on the ground, face down, head from the explosion. Hands should be hidden under the body. Cover your head with a hood, any hat, collar, or just pull on outerwear.

If you are in the car at the time of the explosion

If you are in the car at the time of the explosion, you must stop immediately. Put the car on the handbrake. If the machine has a manual transmission, engage first or reverse gear. You also need to close all the windows completely and bend down so that you do not rise above the line of the car windows.

If you are indoors during the explosion

Once in an explosion in the room, you need to close all the windows and hide in a room without windows. If this is not possible, you can take cover under the table, below the window line. In extreme cases, you can turn the table so that it is protected from light by the tabletop.

What to do 5 – 10 minutes before a nuclear explosion?

In case you hear an air alert, it is extremely important not to ignore it, but to go to the nearest shelter! In this case, you will have about 5-10 minutes before the nuclear explosion, which will greatly increase your chances of survival.

If possible, close all cracks in the shelter to prevent radioactive dust from entering.

Also, keep in mind and be prepared that homes that are close to the epicenter of the explosion may partially collapse. So you can stay in the basement for a few days. That is why it is important to have the necessary water reserves at the rate of 5 liters of drinking water for an adult per day and 10-15 liters of water for technical needs.

What to do after a nuclear explosion?

If you were on the street, in a car, or at least in an apartment during the nuclear explosion and survived, the best strategy would be to find the nearest shelter where you can wait for the aftermath of the attack and possibly get medical care you need.

If you have already been in the shelter, if possible, you need to establish a communication channel to obtain relevant information. Any radio etc. will do.

The best strategy after a nuclear explosion would be to stay in hiding for as long as possible. In 7 hours the dose in the affected area will drop ten times, in 49 hours – 100 times, and in 14 days – a thousand. In 14 weeks, even in the former red zone, you can walk almost without risk to life. So it is better to stay in the basement for the first few days, and if there is water and food, you should stay for a week. By this time, help may come.


Despite the significant dangers of a nuclear explosion, your chances of survival remain high if you follow these simple instructions:

Do not ignore the air alarm and go down to the shelter every time;

Keep water and food supplies for at least a day, preferably more;

Have at least some communication channels in the shelter for the opportunity to obtain relevant information.

Additionally, prepare flashlights, batteries, and power jars in advance.

It should be remembered that in such large cities as Kyiv, Kharkiv, Odesa, and others, you can easily find protection even if a nuclear attack caught you by surprise on the street. Any wall, ditch, can be a protection for you in the first minutes after the explosion.

At the same time, the threat of a nuclear attack in sparsely populated rural areas remains unlikely, as it makes no practical sense.

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