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Radiation Incidents Safety

Radiation, at once both a dynamic energy source and powerful research tool, can also be a volatile and disastrous force when accidentally unleashed. While accidents at nuclear power plants are unlikely, they do occur, and familiarity with nuclear safety precautions is key to health and survival.

Seek Immediate Protection

  • Stay indoors as soon as you hear of a radiation emergency. Close and lock all windows and doors, and ensure that any heating units or air conditioners that pull in outside air are shut off.
  • Immediately go indoors or get in your car if you are outside when you hear of the incident. While brick and concrete buildings offer the best protection, making it safely indoors is most important during an emergency.
  • Remove your outer layer of clothing before entering the building, and wash off the exposed parts of your body once inside. Approximately 90% of radioactive material can be removed with clothing.
  • Stay in the area of the building with the least proximity to windows, walls, and the roof. If possible, stay in the basement or center of buildings; these protected areas are farthest from harm’s way since radioactive material coats the outside surface of buildings.

Stay Shielded From Radiation

  • Listen for warnings or messages from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). This agency is usually the first to issue alerts and warnings as well as notifications that safety has been restored.
  • Do not risk exposure by attempting to retrieve any loved ones from other locations; instead, use phones to communicate and make sure everyone stays indoors. Children in schools and adults in nursing homes will be protected by the facilities’ contingency plans and will be cared for by the designated officials in those locations.
  • Monitor news sources on the Internet; this is often the fastest way to receive updates on the emergency. Subscribing to the CDC and following your trusted security service provider on social media will help guarantee that you receive accurate announcements as soon as they become available.

Take Post-Emergency Precautions

  • Seek medical care as soon as possible. Have medical professionals test your radiation levels and check for radiation poisoning. Research medical options if you have experienced significant exposure; some medications, like potassium iodide, can help prevent internal radiation sickness.
  • Avoid any food that has been exposed to radiation, such as garden-grown vegetables or food in an outdoor refrigerator.
  • Dispose of clothes worn outside during the radiation emergency, and thoroughly cleanse and sanitize cars, tools, and any other possessions left outside during the incident. Use a pressure washer or hire cleaning professionals to rid the outside of your home of radioactive material.  

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