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Wednesday, December 15, 2010

Thinking the unthinkable

Suppose the unthinkable happened, and terrorists struck New York or another big city with an atom bomb. What should people there do? The government has a surprising new message: Do not flee. Get inside any stable building and don’t come out till officials say it’s safe.

The advice is based on recent scientific analyses indicating that a nuclear attack is much more survivable if you immediately shield yourself from the lethal radiation that follows a blast, a simple tactic seen as saving hundreds of thousands of lives. Even staying in a car, the studies show, would reduce casualties by more than 50 percent; hunkering down in a basement would be better by far.

But a problem for the Obama administration is how to spread the word without seeming alarmist about a subject that few politicians care to consider, let alone discuss. So officials are proceeding gingerly in a campaign to educate the public.

“We have to get past the mental block that says it’s too terrible to think about,” W. Craig Fugate, administrator of the Federal Emergency Management Agency, said in an interview. “We have to be ready to deal with it” and help people learn how to best protect themselves.
Read the rest here.

5 comments:

Steve Hayes said...

I'm reminded of the 1960s Cold War revue Beyond the fringe, which advised people to gover themselves with a large brown paper bag, and "Go along to your nearest civil defence officer, and he'll tell you exactly what you can do."

Anam Cara said...

Sheltering in place. So that's what it was when we crawled under out desks in the late 50's, which later turned into crowding into the hallways in the middle of the school and sitting on the floor there.

I grew up in a city that had both a major AF base and a nuclear sub Navy base. Everyone said we'd be one of the first places the Russians would attack. Every time I heard a large plane, I'd look up to see if it was one our ours. I was probably in college before I wasn't afraid of the sound of aircraft I couldn't see.....

The Anti-Gnostic said...

... because, as we know, ceasing to invade the world/invite the world is just not an option.

The Archer of the Forest said...

I remember back in the 80's when I was in school, we still had "Commie drills," which was sort of like a fire drill but we'd practice going out to the back of the school for bus loading in the event of invasion and we needed to be evacuated. That might see a bit bizarre, but we were close to Oak Ridge, TN, where a lot of nuclear stuff goes on.

David said...

I prefer the place head between legs and kiss fourth point of contact goodbye method.