Be prepared. Before the blast you should gather emergency supplies. Enough water and food to last two weeks. A radio that runs on batteries, or one with a hand crank. Flashlights, and extra batteries. The next time you hear about this, it may not be a practice drill.
The superpowers will not be exchanging thousands of poisonous missiles. Either some radical religious group will trigger a single event, or a handful of low grade payloads may be lofted over our heads by some jealous, petty nation. The dirty little secret about radiation from incidents such as these, is that it can be survived.
A “hermit kingdom” is a country that refuses to engage in dialogue with the outside world. Korea has been called the Hermit Kingdom ever since 1866 when relations with the United States began. A merchant schooner, The General Sherman by name, was a relic of the war between the states, purchased by an American businessman intent upon trade with Asia. The ship was an odd hybrid of sailboat and steam-powered paddleboat, full of trade goods such as cotton, tin, and glass. Against the request of the Korean government, the ship entered the interior of the country on the Taedong River, where it was grounded by low tide. The oriental regent ordered the Americans to leave, or die. None of the crew lived to see the new year.
At the end of World War II Germany was not the only country to be divided between East and West. Korea was parted along the 38th parallel, establishing the Russians as custodians of the North and putting Americans in control of the South. By 1949 North Korea had established its independence as a Communist country. But continuing skirmishes between North and South at the 38th parallel, would soon drag the United States into the Korean War. It ended four years later with a cease-fire, but no peace treaty was ever signed.
The Hermit Kingdom surprised the world in 2006 when it conducted its first successful nuclear weapon test. Three more successful tests followed, the most recent being in 2016. Combined with its testing of short-range missiles, the rogue nation is a greater threat to its local neighbors than the mainland of the USA. South Korea and Japan are more likely targets than Hollywood, California. But even if Kim Jong Un should succeeed in launching one of his dragon’s teeth over the Pacific ocean, compared to a more complex fusion weapon, its payload is one hundred times less powerful.
Chairman Kim’s arsenal is not thermonuclear. He has no hydrogen bombs. They are low-yield atomic bombs, nearly identical to the two primitive devices dropped on Nagasaki and Hiroshima, seventy years past. The Japanese were able to survive that. You can survive this.
If you are warned the attack is coming, you have only a few minutes to take cover. The best shelter from the blast is a basement, or a large office building. Go as far below ground as possible, or make your way to the center of a tall building.
If you are caught by the blast out of doors, do not look at the flash or the fireball. It is blinding, and the odds of surviving the blast diminish sharply if you are blind. After the flash you have about 30 seconds before the blast wave reaches you. Take cover behind anything that might offer protection. A tree. A mailbox. If you are outside and there is no cover, lay flat on the ground and cover your head, interlocking your fingers.
After the blast, protect yourself from the fallout, which is the radioactive dirt that was raised into the air. The fallout is the mushroom cloud. If you are not already in a shelter, you now have 30 minutes to find one. Stay inside your shelter for two weeks. Listen to your radio. If you are exposed to fallout outdoors, remove your outer clothing and use a clean, wet cloth to gently wipe off any skin that was exposed.
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