Families who choose to be prepared for whatever life throws at them will already have a disaster supply kit easy accessible in their home (if you don’t, check out this article for tips on how to get started). We can’t predict what the future holds, so wouldn’t it be prudent to take your preparedness a step further? A Nuclear Emergency Kit is a specialized kit that acts as a complement to your disaster supply kit, providing special items you may need in the event of a nuclear disaster.
If you are not prepared with a shelter and nuclear emergency kit, your only option may be to evacuate. That means loading your family into your vehicle and attempting to navigate the chaos and inevitable traffic jam of thousands of other families also trying to evacuate. If you are caught in a traffic jam, your chances for surviving a close proximity attack are minimal; the fallout will overtake the area and penetrate cars quickly. Being prepared with supplies that will allow you to stay put is your best option. Immediate safety inside your underground bomb shelter is far preferable to sitting for hours in traffic.
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).
It is highly recommend that in addition to canned goods, dry cereals (beans, flour, rice), potatoes and other nutritious foods, you 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 suggests that you stock enough food for, at a minimum, 72 hours. As you build your food stores, you can increase this amount to 3-6 months’ worth. Another important rule is to 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.
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 for the possibility of needing to stay in your shelter for up to 30 days. Don’t waste your time 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. Take potassium iodide/iodate tablets 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.
Stock up on inexpensive chem-lights that are activated by snapping and shaking. Lighting will last for up to 8 hours or more. These are 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.
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.