At this point, let’s assume that your shelter has been built and stocked with the most basic emergency essentials. This includes food and water storage, a first aid kit, and miscellaneous items such as blankets, flashlights with batteries, and a radio. Now, considering the possibility that the emergency will be nuclear in nature, one of the best ways to take your preparedness to the next level is to include a nuclear emergency kit in your shelter. A nuclear emergency kit is a specialized kit that acts as a complement to your basic disaster supply kit, providing special items you may need in the event of a nuclear disaster.
In the best scenario for individuals within an area 50 miles west and 300 miles east of ground zero, everyone has an underground bomb shelter. In that shelter you should have a fully stocked Nuclear Emergency Kit (NEK).
Food – In addition to canned goods, dry cereals (beans, flour, rice), potatoes and other nutritious foods, stock your pantry with MREs- military Meals, Ready to Eat. One MRE per day offers more than enough calories and nutrition for unlimited survival. It’s a great idea to stock chemical heating packets for use in heating this food. Because every family is different, use your best judgment regarding the amount of food supplies you store. The general rule of thumb is to stock enough for a minimum of 72 hours. As you build your food stores, you can increase this amount to 3-6 months’ worth. Use your food stores as a rotating pantry: keep the food closest to expiration near the front, using and replacing as needed so that the food in storage is always fresh and safe to eat.
Water – Even more important than ample food stores is a supply of fresh water for hydration and hygiene. Allow at least (1) gallon per person, per day. Rotate your water supplies every six months. Though 4 or 5 days’ worth will likely be sufficient, you should be prepared to stay in your shelter for up to 30 days. Don’t bother buying cases of 16-ounce bottled water; you will not have room in your shelter for hundreds of empty plastic bottles. Instead buy 5-gallon containers (or larger).
Potassium Iodide (KI) or Potassium Iodate (KIO3) tablets – Nuclear explosions produce heavy amounts of radioactive iodine. Include potassium iodide/iodate tablets as part of your first aid kit, and take them immediately for thyroid protection against cancer causing radioactive iodine. Radioactive iodine is released into the air where it can be ingested or inhaled. It is absorbed by the body and can cause cancer of the thyroid. If taken just before or just after the ingestion of radioactive fallout, KI or KI03 pills will saturate your thyroid, reducing the possibility of radioactive iodine being absorbed into your thyroid gland. Most KI or KI03 pills have a shelf life of about 5 or 6 years.
Iodine Solution (tincture of iodine or Betadine) – Iodine solution is intended to be swabbed on your skin (your stomach, for example) for absorption into the body. Though it is not as effective as KI or KIO3 tablets, it is intended to protect your body against radioactive iodine in a similar fashion, and is better than nothing.
Survival Blanket– Regulating your temperature can be challenging when you are cooped up in a small space for long periods of time. The most important aspect of temperature regulation is to include a functioning ventilation system in your shelter’s design, but you should also stock your shelter with ways to keep warm. Mylar survival blankets are an excellent choice due to their compact nature, and the fact that they efficiently reflect back 80% of your radiated body heat.
Light Sticks – Stock up on inexpensive chem-lights that are activated by snapping and shaking. This lighting will last for up to 8 hours or more, and is a safe alternative to candles.
5-Gallon Buckets/Portable Toilet– As unpleasant as it is to think about, you will need an efficient way to manage human waste as long as you are in your shelter. Use these buckets to dispose of excrement. Line the buckets with trash bags and make sure the lid is tightly sealed. Alternatively, small portable toilets (some employing the use of chemicals, which you should also keep in stock if necessary) can be purchased in the camping sections of major department stores, and provide a somewhat more comfortable experience than an ordinary bucket. Keep in mind that you will still require a tightly-sealed place to store the waste.
Plastic Trash Bags – Keep plenty of trash bags on hand for disposing of trash and waste, and maintaining sanitary conditions.
Bleach – A 1-gallon bottle of bleach will suffice for sanitizing drinking water and for producing a cleaning solution. If you have been rotating your 5-gallon jugs of water on a consistent basis, however, you won’t need to worry about this.
Weapons- This is a very personal choice, but it may be in your best interest to stock your shelter with the means to defend yourself and your family. A nuclear crisis may very well result in chaos, and individuals who have been exposed to higher levels of radiation and/or are desperate to find shelter may become violent in their efforts to self-preserve.