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The level of nuclear radiation from bomb fallout decays much faster than what most people think. Nuclear fallout comes from nuclear bomb explosions, and is completely different to nuclear waste from power plants and pollution from accidents such as Fukushima (which has a much slower rate of decay, i.e.
To survive high levels of nuclear fallout you will need some sort of physical protection, such as a fallout shelter.
Fallout shelters do not have to be elaborate bunkers made from concrete nor cost many thousands of dollars for construction. The key element of a fallout shelter is mass of material surrounding you on all sides (including above). Typical times you will need to stay inside a shelter are something in the range of two weeks (and usually it will be possible to go outside for very short periods during this time). You can build your own device to measure the level of radiation from nuclear fallout using simple everyday items. A nuclear war will obviously cause massive disruption to the modern economy and our way of life, but this is guaranteed to happen anyway, sooner or later, irrespective of whether there is a nuclear war. With the breakup of the Soviet Union in 1991, and the end of the Cold War, the threat of global nuclear war greatly diminished.
Now, over 20 years later, the threat has increased to levels similar to the Cold War days, yet few people realise this. Recent nuclear bomb tests by North Korea, such as in January 2016, increase the complexity of the situation.
The main purpose of the simulator is to show that the greatest danger from nuclear attack is found close to where any bombs are detonated.
For bomb size comparison, note that most modern weapons are around the 100-1000 kiloton size. It's open to a lot of debate exactly what parts of Australia would be subject to nuclear attack. The most likely targets, which (in my opinion and that of many others I've read) would certainly be targeted in a nuclear war, are the joint US-Australian military bases. Apart from the statement above, there are several other specific positive and hopeful facts about nuclear war survival that will surprise most people. The danger that will affect the most people, and is the most preventable, is nuclear fallout. Nuclear fallout is dust and dirt (of varying sizes) that's been thrown up into the air by the force (blast) of a nuclear explosion, and has become radioactive because of the nuclear reactions inside the explosion. The actual chemical makeup of fallout is quite complex, as there are several radioactive isotopes involved, and each of these decays (i.e. Most people viewing this graph for the first time will probably be quite surprised as to how quickly the levels of radiation decay. Since the scale of the above graph is in roentgens per hour, you can figure out approximately how long it would take to accumulate an incapacitating or fatal dose at different times after the explosion. Consider also that the time scale on the graph is measured in hours after the explosion itself. There is an almost ridiculous seeming variety of different units used to quantify levels and doses of radiation; such as roentgens, rems, rads, curies, becquerels, grays and sieverts.
Most of the Cold War vintage literature uses the roentgen as the main unit of radiation dose. If you consider that a dose of any more than say 100 roentgens is going to be a problem (and ideally you want a lot less than that), you can see on the graph that in the initial stages of high fallout, shortly after a nuclear explosion, there is going to be a problem.
The second nuclear war survival fact that may surprise most people is that these shelters do not have to be elaborate underground fortresses. The key to understanding fallout (other than learning about the decay rates) is that the fallout itself is not highly poisonous (its mostly just ordinary dirt), but each grain of dirt is emitting deadly gamma rays which have massive penetrating power, and travel in straight lines right through most objects and out the other side. NEW: Gamma rays have a lot of penetrating power, it takes 9 centimetres of packed earth (or anything weighing the same as that) to halve their intensity. Other things to avoid are eating meat from diseased animals, or eating organ meat from animals which have themselves eaten large amounts of fallout.
So now we are up to fact number three of our optimistic and not well known nuclear war survival facts: Contamination of food from nuclear fallout is not as much of a concern as it may seem. The fourth surprising fact about nuclear war is that the long-term effects of exposure to nuclear fallout are much less than what you probably think.
To improve your chances of surviving a nuclear attack, your primary need would be an adequate shelter equipped for many days of occupancy. Remember that the whole point of a fallout shelter is to be surrounded by as much mass as possible, between you and the outside where the fallout dust has landed. Here are some pictures of a couple of fallout shelters that can be built quickly inside a normal modern house or flat. Use any containers you have and anything that's heavy to put in them: Sand, dirt, books, water (if you have containers), etc. This would be a wall with as much mass as possible on the other side, or at least an interior wall. Here is an alternative type of indoor shelter that can be constructed quickly in the case of an escalating crisis.
In heavy fallout areas you would need to be in the shelter for a while, perhaps up to two weeks (or even longer if there were multiple nuclear bombs detonated over a period of time).
In the background on the left you can see another type of shelter, that can be constructed very quickly. There is no way to detect nuclear radiation with just your five senses, even at fatally high levels of radiation.
There are many different gadgets that can be used for measuring radiation, if you look around the internet it can be a bit confusing.
Alpha, Beta, and Gamma Detectors: This isn't that much of a problem for nuclear fallout, since almost all of the danger from radioactive fallout comes in the form of gamma rays, and (as far as I know) any of the meters can detect gamma rays. There are also dosimeters, which look like (usually yellow) pens, complete with pocket clips to go in your pocket, just like a pen. There are modern digital devices that can measure a large range of radiation (both high and low levels), however these are expensive, around $1000 and up. I've bought one of the KFM kits from BA Products, who ship to Australia quite cheap (like $10).
Almost everything that applies to preparing for an ordinary economic collapse also applies to nuclear war.
Make a few copies of it so that you are likely to have one available in a worsening crisis situation. Become familiar with the basic information on the effects and lifetime of nuclear fallout, and how to avoid radiation sickness from fallout.
If you live in or near the middle of a city, or near a major military base (especially if it is in any way connected with nuclear weapons), seriously consider moving somewhere else before the crash happens. Some old-fashioned bulb-type non-LED torches are good to have on hand, since LED torches are sensitive to electromagnetic pulse (EMP) and (unless kept in a faraday cage) will probably be destroyed by EMP from a nuclear war. Many basic off-the-grid survival types of items are also necessary (such as drinking water, etc.) but this page focuses on items specifically needed in a nuclear war.
This video on youtube is quite interesting, and disturbing — showing US army soldiers walking towards the mushroom cloud from a freshly detonated nuclear bomb during a military test in the 1950s. The book Maralinga details the history of the British nuclear tests that were performed in the Australian outback during the 1950s, and the effects that they had on people exposed to the radiation. Lying in the boat covered only by a tarpaulin just three kilometres from the explosion, sailor Henry Carter was terrified. Note that the comments at around 8 minutes into the video about no place being safer for avoiding fallout than any other are incorrect, other than perhaps over a very small geographic area. Note that in most of these movies, what happens is based on the lives of people living relatively close to the nuclear bomb explosions. Minutemen were members of well-prepared militia companies of select men from the American colonial partisan militia during the American Revolutionary War.
Having a well prepared group can mean the difference to staying alive or being over run by other groups of desperate people during a survival situation. To Get Your Free Emergency Survival Guide - Put in your first name and email address and click Download Now.
This 116 page Emergency Survival Guide is is jammed packed with useful information and covers everything from flash floods to a nuclear power plant emergency.
In disaster preparation there are few things more important than some sort of survival fire starter. For something as critical as this you don’t want to rely on just one method as a survival fire starter, better to have several. Lighters, again are a pretty straightforward survival fire starter, but the key again in disaster preparation is redundancy. FireSteel and Scraper, or what can also be known as a flint, is another disaster preparation staple for lighting fires.
Now we get into a less conventional but nonetheless just as effective method of survival fire starting. Having the proper supplies and equipment can go a long way towards helping a person get through a survival situation, regardless of what it is.
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Out of curiosity I searched for maps that would reveal nuclear targets in the United States, and I’ve posted them here for your interest.
The nuclear targets map shown above is one that I put together based on a number of factors while looking at other maps and data including military installations, nuclear weapons storage and silo locations, bases, cities, etc..
The real effects surrounding the nuclear targets on any given map will depend on the type of nuclear detonation. A ground burst detonation will not only pulverize everything within a given radius, but will also pulverize many countless tons of soil and dirt into the atmosphere. An air burst detonation will still destroy buildings and everything on the ground from its shock-wave (within a blast radius), but it will not pulverize the soil and ground like a ground burst detonation would. In both circumstances, radiation (particles) will reach into the atmosphere and drift with the lower and upper level winds.
The Russians (and others?) are apparently ahead of the US with regards to EMP research and technology.
The next map is one that I made a few years ago (this post is actually an update of a previous version of the same article – added more informational text, new map or two, and improved-resized several maps). The following map indicates several (but only a few) general regions where it appeared to me (at the time) where it might be ‘safer’ relative to other areas based on observations from other nuclear target maps and radiation and wind fallout patterns via prevailing winds. It takes about 30 minutes for a missile launched in Russia or the USA to reach a target in the other country. Their speed and height is limited mainly by the fact that going much higher or faster would put them into orbit like a satellite. They can be quite simple and (depending somewhat on your location) can be made within a few days or less using techniques available to millions of people (such as digging with a shovel). Ideally you want the equivalent of 2-3 feet of earth, or anything that weighs as much as that. This device is known as the Kearny Fallout Meter (KFM) and I will give much more info on this in the future — but a search on the internet will provide plenty of information on these. That is for each warhead: many modern missiles carry several individual warheads which can be spread within an approximately few hundred kilometre range of each other, which is known as a MIRV (Multiple Independent Re-entry Vehicle).
This article suggests that in the cold war, only the joint US-Australian military bases were nuclear targets.
So the first thing to know about nuclear war is actually good news: Nuclear war is much, much more survivable than what most people believe. This web page is only in embryo form so far, and there are already four of these facts mentioned further down the page (with more to come as the page gets added to). Another danger is EMP, or Electromagnetic Pulse, which is harmless to life forms but could potentially destroy almost all modern electronic devices within a certain distance of the nuclear explosion(s). So unless you are very close to ground zero, the fallout will have already decayed during the time it takes to get to your location.
This can get pretty confusing so, for those interested in the numbers, I'll try to simplify it. In order to survive high levels (or even moderate levels) of nuclear fallout, you will require some sort of protection — such as a fallout shelter.

Basic home made shelters that can be made in a few days (or even several hours if sufficiently prepared) can provide adequate shielding from nuclear fallout. A shelter that affords good protection against fallout radiation and weather would be adequate in more than 95% of the area of the United States.
Most of these are dug (partly or completely) into the ground, though there are some above-ground methods of shelter construction shown also. That is, to provide a large amount of mass between you and the outside where fallout dust has accumulated. This means that many already-existing underground structures would make excellent fallout shelters. Here a strip of wood is nailed to the floor to stop the doors slipping, but you could use other means if you didn't have a hammer or nails. The main principle is to make the gamma rays travel through as much mass as possible before they can get to you. Ideally your entrance should be constructed so that there is a bend in the passage leading into your shelter, so that there is no straight line of sight from outside the shelter to the inside.
The more material you pile on top and around the sides, the better — as long as the table (or other support) inside is strong enough to hold the weight. Then more earth is piled on top, the more earth (or anything heavy), the more protection from radiation. Though when fallout is less intense, going outside for short periods (such as to bucket out any water that's entered) is fine. In the video he is talking about piling up more material above and on the sides of the entrance. It's a trench dug into the ground, with a car driven over the top, and lots of earth shovelled around the outsides of the car, and inside the car. This leaves two ways you can be informed about any levels of radiation that may be present.
Dosimeters: This is like the speedometer in your car vs the odometer (the counter that says how far you have travelled). Low Range: This just refers to the levels of radiation that the equipment is meant to measure. Gamma rays have the most penetrating power, it takes 9 centimetres of packed earth (or anything weighing the same as that) to halve their intensity. The lunchbox at the front left contains some dosimeter pens (CD V-138, CD V-730, and CD V-742) and the original headphones that plug into the CD V-700 Geiger counter. The meters can be bought cheaply online however the accuracy of the meters may not be known. There are a few different versions available (with the same text and photos, but printed by different companies with different fonts, page sizes, layouts, etc) so you may wish to buy a few copies.
This is a very good idea anyway, irrespective of whether or not there is going to be a nuclear war. One of the by-products of nuclear explosions is a radioactive form of iodine known as I-131.
I'll add more detail later but I was surprised at the level of exposure that people could have and still live to old age.
Thirty years later he described what happened to the Royal Commission into the British tests: 'The signal came over the radio to prepare for countdown and a black heavy canvas tarpaulin was pulled over the boat so we were now in darkness. It may be true in a small country such as England where a large number of bombs are detonated over many parts of the country.
The thing that affected me the most in this movie was something I hadn't really thought about before, at least not to the extent that settled into me after watching this. Really good documentary about nuclear tests and the development of nuclear weapons and their effects. They provided a highly mobile, rapidly deployed force that allowed the colonies to respond immediately to war threats, hence the name. James Yeager has put together a collection of videos on his YouTube channel that walks you through what it means to be a modern day minute man and how to become one. What advice can you give to the Freedom Prepper community for putting together a group that is well prepared for a SHTF situation? In fact you have to put the importance of fire in the same category as food, water, and shelter. You can purchase matches specifically made for disaster preparation or you can use regular kitchen type matches – but you’re going to want to make sure they are waterproof and protected from the elements.
Have multiple lighters; maybe a good one that you can refill with fluid, and one that is water and windproof, and a few cheap disposable types that you also keep in multiple places. This is essentially a tube shaped piece of metal, commonly magnesium or steel, that will cause sparks to fly when you drag a “scraper” down it. If you take a 9v battery and a piece of steel wool (the finer the better) and simply touch both poles of the battery with the steel wool, it will produce fire. To elaborate on the numerous ways to make fire using this “friction” method would take more space than this piece allows. However they won’t take the place of keeping your cool, using your head, and maintaining a will to survive. We believe that being prepared is important for any family and we want to see preparedness become a mainstream conversation. No doubt I’ve missed a number of them, as well as other probable strategic locations, but it’s simply food-for-thought. Also, it may seem like there are more ‘red dots’ on the map than any probable nuclear attack, but believe it or not, there could potentially be more – given the many thousands of nuclear weapons in Russia (for example).
They vary with regards to nuclear proliferation and opinion of the day during the time they were published years ago.
History has shown that there have been psychopathic leaders – who had they possessed nuclear weapons, they surely would have used them.
While they will eventually fall out (some quicker than others), the effects could be long lasting. If the power grid (or part of the power grid) goes down during a nuclear exchange, there will additionally be a high probability that some (or many) of these plants will present a real and present danger if they cannot ‘scram’ in time – while critical systems are held up by diesel backup generators and dependence on a constant delivery of fuel to keep them running. Some believe that a nuclear first strike will ‘first’ involve a salvo of EMP detonations at high altitude (potentially via orbiting satellites, or launched from submarines or even off-shore freighters). Looking at it again, I believe I shaded yellow (safety) a bit too far north into Oregon and maybe could have included several additional regions here and there (e.g. There have already been about 2000 nuclear detonations on the planet, all but two of them being nuclear bomb tests. Many of the same models of ICBM rockets used for nuclear bombs were also used as part of the space program. They can also use the electricity made by the reactor to convert seawater into oxygen, and into fresh water, etc, so that they only reason they ever need to surface is for food for the crew.
A radiation monitor such as the KFM will let you know when it is safe to leave your shelter. The hype in the media about nuclear war that was characteristic of the Cold War period stopped. Fresh nuclear fallout particles are extremely hot, which means they are extremely dangerous when first created, but they decay quite rapidly. At a steady dose of 10 roentgens per hour, in 48 hours (two days) you would accumulate 480 roentgens — which could easily be a fatal dose. Because most of the Western-world information on nuclear weapons was released during that time period, I've got used to using the roentgen. I'll expand on this much more soon but basically you need 2-3 feet of earth (or anything weighing about the same as that) to block the majority of the gamma rays emitted by nuclear fallout.
Peeling fruits and vegetables removes essentially all fallout, as does removing the uppermost several inches of stored grain onto which fallout particles have fallen.
However, even in almost all areas not endangered by blast and fire during a massive nuclear attack, the fallout protection provided by most existing buildings would not be adequate if the winds blew from the wrong direction during the time of fallout deposition. These earth-made shelters are only useful if you live somewhere with enough soil deep enough to dig down into, or at least have enough soil to cover a shelter with. Examples (depending on their individual features) would be caves, tunnels, basements, underground car parks, storm drains (that aren't likely to be flash-flooded), etc.
If this was impossible at your location, you would need to either make the walls higher (with more piled up earth around the shelter), or put up with a much smaller space. By using similar metaphors, children can be spared some of the stress of an impending nuclear situation.
Though it may possible for heavy rain to wash some fallout dust into the shelter, which would lessen the protection of the shelter, most water seepage would be filtered through a lot of earth and would be clean from radiation. Either measure it using a specialised measuring device, or obtain information from someone else with access to measuring equipment (such as by listening to the radio). The survey meter is like a speedometer, in that it measures the rate, or level, of radiation. Typical peacetime levels are much lower than wartime post-bomb levels, so much so that a lot of the usual devices for measuring radiation in peacetime will not be able to read high enough for wartime use. The orange plate was made pre-WWII and its glaze contains uranium oxide, meaning that it's radioactive.
The most popular survey meters are the low range CD V-700 (which is an actual Geiger counter) and the CD V-715, which is a high range survey meter designed for wartime use (not an actual Geiger counter though they are often called that). You can see more about these here including information about the different types of dosimeter pens and how many they made (literally a few million). The survey meters need to be calibrated every several years (that is, have their accuracy tested and, if necessary, adjusted internally). The construction is meant to be of the difficulty level that a junior high school age child could build one. The thyroid gland uses a lot of iodine to make the thyroid hormones that regulate your body's metabolism. Many of these soldiers would have lived to old age, based on what I read about Australian soldiers being placed close to similar nuclear tests in Australia in the book Maralinga by Frank Walker. We all then draped jungle green towels over our heads and I pressed the palms of my hands into my eye sockets.
The book Maralinga has a lot of stories like this, of actual events that happened in Australia.
However it would be absolutely untrue for a large country (such as Australia) where vast areas of the country have almost zero population (or military installations) and basically zero chance of being targeted by nuclear weapons.
It's an episode from the 1959 TV series The Twilight Zone, which in 2013, the Writers Guild of America ranked it as the third best-written TV series ever, and TV Guide ranked it as the fifth greatest show of all time.
The first part of the video concentrates on nuclear terrorist attacks, and the lack of civil defence programs. This is a major reason to aim to not be living in such a place by the time that any nuclear bombs are exploded in wartime. It wasn't any of the deaths, or other losses as consequences of the bombs, most of which I had seen in other movies and was expecting.
It can be the difference between warmth and bitter cold, between some cooked meat or fish or some grubs for dinner, it can ward off unwanted wildlife visitors, and it can provide a huge psychological comfort, particularly if you are in a survival or emergency situation alone. Empty film canisters can work nicely for this, or you can use an element-proof Loksak bag, and you’ll want to keep them in multiple places, that way if you lose the bag or container they are in, you will still have a stash somewhere else you can use – All your eggs aren’t in one basket so to speak. There are several tried and true methods for starting a fire in this manner, the “hand drill” the “fire plough” and the “bow drill” to name a few. In at least one case the same type of rocket used for nuclear weapons deployment was used to put human astronauts into orbit. I read that they usually carry about three months of food though presumably this could be increased if necessary.
There are also commercially made devices such as the CD V-715 (which you can search for on the internet and read about). The other two that I've added to the simulation above are the Australian Defence Satellite Communications Station located at Kojarena, 30 km (19 mi) east of Geraldton, Western Australia, and the HMAS Stirling Naval Base, Garden Island, near Perth, Western Australia which is apparently in planning for increased US nuclear use.
This is because as soon as a nuclear war begins, the most obvious targets are any nuclear-capable military bases. The fallout from an air burst consists of very small particles, those that are already up there in the air, which have then been made radioactive due to the nuclear explosion. The roentgen is a unit of accumulated radiation dose, so roentgens per hour correspond to the dose rate.

The roentgen is based on how much air is ionised, which was the easiest to measure in the old days of nuclear physics (from about the 1930s). There are also alpha and beta particles but these are much less of a concern than the gamma rays.
Hiroshima) have shown that only a very small fraction of people exposed to nuclear bomb radiation (even at close to fatal levels) have suffered from serious long-term or delayed effects.
In other places with extremely shallow soil, or no soil (such as a block of flats in the middle of a city that it's too late to escape from in your particular situation), other methods are used.
About 10 centimetres of earth will block out half of the deadly gamma rays which are the main danger from nuclear fallout.
Remember the first day after fallout arrives is by far the most dangerous, and in many places just a day or two in the shelter would be enough to save your life and the lives of your family. If you can measure it yourself you'll be able to get much more localised information, about the levels of radiation right where you are. The dosimeter is like an odometer, it measures the total amount of radiation that has been absorbed over a period of time.
Some of the detectors can also detect alpha and beta particles but you can forget about this when beginning to learn about fallout.
If you do a Google image search for Geiger counter you can see that these are quite popular.
With high range meters (such as the CD V-715), you need a really strong radioactive source to calibrate them, much stronger than ordinary people are legally allowed to own (or would want to own since they would be deadly if you were exposed to them). In a nuclear war it is highly likely that most or all electronic devices will no longer work so having a hard (paper) copy is essential. Place EMP-sensitive electronic devices inside, such as radios, LED torches, and any computer or mobile phone gear that you want to rely on still working after a nuclear attack.
So much so that in fact the thyroid hormones are named after how many iodine atoms are in each molecule of hormone.
There was a guy who ran right down into the crater a few hours after the nuclear explosion, I think he lived for a couple of weeks, if that. Which makes it highly recommended reading for anyone who wants to know more about what happens close to a nuclear detonation, and the future health effects that result.
These videos were classified when first made, and intended only to be shown to the public in the case of impending nuclear attack. Generally speaking, the further you are away from where any nuclear bombs are exploded, the better. The scene that made me think the most is right as the missiles are launching, and the five army guys are standing at the entrance to their base, arguing about what they should do now. Even if you are in a very wet environment, or all your gear gets soaked, they will still work, and work, and work, they can produce up to 7000 strikes so they will last a long time.
All require a good deal of elbow grease and are definitely not going to be your first choice as a survival fire starter, but suffice to say having the knowledge and ability to create fire in the event you lose all your stuff or are left with nothing is very useful knowledge indeed.
The primary targets will likely be military installations, while a secondary wave will broaden in scope. The fallout would eventually spread over a much greater area in real life than shown on the map, and would depend on whether it was an air burst or ground burst detonation.
Therefore any ground or air-based nuclear weapons must be used almost immediately since if not used, they will be almost immediately destroyed by the enemy. These very light particles will stay high up in the air a long time, and only gradually come down to earth over a huge area (perhaps much of the planet). A radiation dose of around 100-200 roentgens is likely to cause recoverable radiation sickness, and a few hundred roentgens or more is likely to cause death.
At the levels of fallout shown in the graph, it would take about two weeks (approximately) before the radiation has reduced to a safe enough level to be out of a shelter permanently. This and other factors (such as wind) mean that the actual levels of radiation from nuclear fallout may be less than shown in the graph. The abbreviation R is officially meant to stand for roentgens, but is often used to mean rems, and perhaps rads also.
If you don't know your 9 times table you can think of it as 10cm if you like since its close enough.
Even water containing dissolved radioactive elements and compounds can be made safe for drinking by simply filtering it through earth, as described later in [the] book. One big advantage of the earth-dug shelters from Nuclear War Survival Skills is that they are also quite resistant to blast damage (from the pressure wave), much more so than the average modern house or flat.
Alpha particles are so weak (in terms of penetrative power) that a sheet of paper will block them. Detailed instructions can be found in the book Nuclear War Survival Skills (see below on this page), or look online. Though there is a need to keep the internals of the meter dry, since moisture will affect the accuracy of the reading, and usually some type of drying agent (such as silica gel) is used for this. The EMP pulses are short lived so once they stop, you can take the gear out of the EMP-proof box and use it (unless there are more nuclear detonations still to come). Thyroxine is usually called T4, and triiodothyronine (T3) has both its long and short name based on its three atoms of iodine. At zero there was a blinding electric blue light of an intensity I had not seen before or since. Threads was nominated for seven British Academy of Film and Television Arts awards in 1985.
If you watch it, see if you can pick what idea is presented in that scene that I hadn't fully considered before. They’re easy to store, doesn’t take up much space, have no shelf life, and are about as practical a disaster preparation item as you can get.
The fallout map in this simulator is for a ground burst, and shows the possible dispersion of radioactive isotopes after six hours of the explosion, assuming a constant gentle breeze.
So in a nuclear war it is likely that all, or almost all the actively deployed warheads will be fired at once. One roentgen will deposit about 0.96 rem (so pretty close to 1 rem) in soft biological tissue. The rad (short for "radiation absorbed dose) is based on joules of energy absorbed per kilogram of matter.
However if you are far enough away from the bomb detonation, blast will not be nearly as much of an issue as fallout. They are using doors from a house as the supporting material, though other materials could also be used.
There is also the CD V-717 which is the same as the CD V-715 but has the extra feature of a removable baseplate which contains the detector, attached to a 25-foot long cord.
The dosimeter chargers don't really age or go out of calibration, they will work or not (and most of them probably still work).
The CD V meters above are sealed with rubber gaskets to keep them dry inside (apparently they will float on water, though if the rubber gasket is 50 years old they might leak).
A copy of one or more of the appendices on how to build specific types of expedient shelters would also be very good. You can also use a microwave oven, unplug it from the wall and it's probably the quickest and easiest to use in an emergency if you don't have anything else prepared.
You can see this in the images on Wikipedia where the purple atoms in the diagrams are iodine atoms. There were guys ordered to fly small aircraft right through the middle of the mushroom clouds, multiple times, to measure things (presumably including the effects on them).
The first and second wave could be all over in minutes to an hour (point being – it will be fast). If they are going to use that many warheads all at once, and you consider how much geographic area is destroyed by each warhead, what are the chances that "they" (whoever they are) will send a few our way? This, and the dilution from being spread over a vast area means that the danger from fallout from an air burst is drastically less than that from a ground burst explosion. In areas of really heavy fallout you may need to be in your shelter longer than that, and in many areas (probably most areas not too close to ground zero or directly downwind) it would be less than two weeks. Where the radiation is dominated by gamma or x rays applied uniformly to the whole body, (which is the case for nuclear fallout), 1 rad of absorbed dose gives 1 rem of effective dose. These types of shelters are quite good at resisting blast, much better than an ordinary house. A lot of the high range meters (especially the old CD V ones - see below) will only measure high levels of radiation. This allows you to place the detector outside your shelter and view the scale safely from inside. Occasionally meters come up for sale that have been calibrated semi-recently, say from 5-10 years ago, and these sometimes go quite cheap ($40-100). They have a torch-style light bulb which can burn out, and there is even a spare bulb contained inside the case. If where you live doesn't have deep soil or dirt that you could dig a shelter down into, but does have some dirt available (e.g. Or an old-style all-metal garbage can with a tight fitting metal lid that makes electrical contact (i.e. When the body is exposed to radioactive iodine I-131, it will accumulate in the thyroid gland and can cause problems such as thyroid cancer. It seemed that this light was passing through the tarpaulin and towel for about ten to twelve seconds and there seemed to be two surges and two detonations with a continued rumbling and boiling sensation. These tests were conducted a long way from population centres for the obvious reason that distance from the explosions is in fact critical in avoiding the effects of the bombs, which include fallout. A device that can monitor the levels of radiation (much more info on this to follow later on) is the only way to really know when it is safe. They are meant to be able to be constructed by an ordinary family within about 1-2 day's worth of time. A true Geiger counter is sensitive enough to measure the normal very low-level natural background radiation that is present all the time (think of seeing movies where the counters is going click, click, click).
Consider that most of these meters were made in the early 1960's, which is over 50 years ago. The solution to this problem is to take large doses of ordinary iodine in the form of potassium iodide, which saturates the body with enough iodine that no more will be absorbed (so that the radioactive iodine is not absorbed). There were many deaths as would be expected, but these are people who were right up close to the explosions, and many of them actually did survive. These shelters have a protection factor of something like 200, which means that inside the shelter you will get 200 times less radiation than outside. Most beta particles may be stopped by a small thickness of a light material such as aluminium or plastic. Note that if you read the label of iodised table salt, usually it will say potassium iodide on the label, but you need much higher amounts of it than what is present in table salt.
This is the type of thickness you want ideally in a fallout shelter in areas of really high fallout. That is quite a high protection factor and possibly a lot more than you would need in many places. Therefore it is very highly desirable to have some potassium iodide available in the case of a nuclear attack.
The low range CD V-700 has a round chrome (silver coloured) handle, which contains the Geiger-Muller tube.
They also sell some gear, but most of it only to the USA, though they have links on their site for resellers, some of which ship to Australia (and internationally).
Note that the older you are, the less of an issue this is and the World Health Organisation does not recommend the use of potassium iodide for this use in adults over age 40 unless there is a very high amount of radiation exposure. And many areas will not have enough fallout to need that much shelter (or even no shelter if you're far enough away from any nuclear bomb detonations, depending on wind and other conditions). You can also see the grey cord that connects the G-M tube to the unit wrapped around the handle.

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