What to Do in Case of a Nuclear Attack? - Expository Essay

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Sewanee University of the South
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A nuclear explosion involves the damage of the pressure wave and widespread radioactive material that contaminates the air, water, and ground surfaces for an extended radius from its point of detonation. Nuclear devices range from intercontinental missiles that get launched by a hostile nation or a terrorist organization, to portable devices that can get transported by an individual. The effects of nuclear when detonated include a blinding light, thermal radiation, nuclear radiation, fires ignited by heat pulse (Boyd, 2016). Secondary fires caused by the destruction and blasts are also possible. The nuclear threat became imminent during the war, but the possibility diminished, however, options remain that terrorist organizations may get access to these weapons of mass destruction (WMD) (Stanton, 2017). In the case of a nuclear attack, it is important for the government to inform its citizens of the possibilities of an attack and take training initiatives to prevent possible extreme effects, of a nuclear Armageddon. Therefore, there is a need for preference and minimum requirements of nuclear deterrence.

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What Supplies Are Needed for a Nuclear Attack?

In the case of a nuclear attack, families get advised to an emergency supply kit that includes items such as non-perishable food, water, batteries, extra flashlight (Boyd, 2016). The emergency supply kit should become strategically positioned at your workplace and portable in case people are told to evacuate. The family contingency plans are based on how people will contact one another and how people will get back together in the event of an attack (Stanton, 2017). This procedure takes shape since the family may not be at the same place when disaster strikes. Planned meeting places within or outside the immediate neighborhood are important. Communities should have warning systems and disaster plans including the routes for evacuation. During this time, people should find out from officials if some public building has become designated as fallout shelters. In a case where none gets chosen, people from the affected area should consider a list of potential fallout shelters near their homes, schools, and workplaces. The places, in this case, include basements, subways, and tunnels or windowless mid-level buildings. The disaster supplies for the family should last for approximately two weeks.

Types of Safety Shelters From Nuclear Attack

There are two kinds of shelters during a nuclear attack on a country blast and fallout shelters (Stanton, 2017). Blast shelters offer protection against first radiation, heat, blast pressures, and fires. However, these shelters cannot hold in the case of a direct nuclear hit or explosion. Fallout shelters protect people from fallout particles and include walls and thick roofs. Water treatment can be in the form of boiling water before drinking in case the shelter has a source of heating. It is possible that distillation can become used in these cases. A hand pump filtration machine that allows automatic filtration when water gets drawn from the storage tanks came come in handy. These instruments require the previous installation before a nuclear attack. The government of the US advises chemical filtration to remove fallout particles from water sources. This process is also referred to as bleach water treatment and uses Clorox majorly (Stanton, 2017).

How Does Radiation Decontamination Work?

Decontamination of water sources is essential. In case tap water has become exposed to contamination by radiation, health officials recommend drinking bottled water. However, tap water can get used for the process of decontamination, the radiation particles dissolved in the water reduce in concentration over time (Coleman et al., 2015). The water is safe for washing the skin, hair, and clothing to allow for their decontamination. The process of self-decontamination involves the following steps. A person should take off the outer layer of their clothing. This move removes up to ninety percent of the radiation material. This process needs to get done carefully to prevent the shaking of the radioactive dust and place the clothes in a plastic container for disposal by the authorities. Wash off using soap and plenty of water and never use conditioner since it contains radioactive particles that will stick to your hair. The final step is to take a new pair of clothes.

Does the US Plan to Protect Citizens During a Nuclear Attack?

It is important to adhere to basic health considerations set by health agencies such as the US Center for Disease Control in response to nuclear accidents. Some of the factors that must be considered include, a comprehensive assessment of the health of the affected people within the immediate area of danger. The health sector should determine the medical conditions and the effects of the radiological exposures on the community with the emergency units. This program should be carried out simultaneously with a major focus on the high-risk populations including pregnant women, children, and those with immune deficiencies. The provision of health assistance and consultations to departments of health in the affected areas takes center stage during and or after a nuclear attack. Therefore, the public should maintain a registry of people exposed to radioactive materials. Some health agencies including local health departments, the department of defense, and the department of energy among the rest become involved in the process (Coleman et al., 2015).


Boyd, D. (2016). Revealed Preference and the Minimum Requirements of Nuclear Deterrence. Strategic Studies Quarterly, 10(1).

Coleman, C. N., Sullivan, J. M., Bader, J. L., Murrain-Hill, P., Koerner, J. F., Garrett, A. L., ... & Whitcomb, R. C. (2015). Public health and medical preparedness for a nuclear detonation: the nuclear incident medical enterprise. Health physics, 108(2), 149-160.

Stanton, L. (2017). A New Frontier in US National Security Policymaking: State and Local Governments. In Rethinking Security in the Twenty-First Century (pp. 61-76). Palgrave Macmillan US.

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