Archive for February 2008

Surviving a nuclear terrorist attack on New York City (video: 7 min., 20 sec.)

February 20, 2008

[blip.tv ?posts_id=675537&dest=-1]

I do this blog largely because nuclear terrorism gets little coverage in the mainstream press. I taped this ABC News piece, which aired in Sept. 2005 as part of a post-Katrina program on disasters, and find it informative and well-balanced. It speculates on the fate of New Yorkers after a 10 kiloton bomb explodes in Times Square.

I captured it on VHS and I want to get it in the archives of this blog before the tape disintegrates (I crudely converted it to digital so, bear with me, the quality is poor). The segment is from ABC Primetime and is reported by Chris Cuomo. (Here’s a link to the transcript, which is titled, “Experts’ Keys to Surviving a Nuclear Terror Attack.”)

Here are some important points:

  1. There will be several hundred thousand immediate deaths. Most people will survive and most buildings will remain intact.
  2. Radioactive nuclear fallout will begin within 15 minutes and the fallout will drift with the wind. Nuclear fallout could be dangerous for as long as two weeks.
  3. The government will be tracking the deadly plume with sophisticated software. “Officials should be able to tell you which direction is safe and that is the direction to go…. First responders will use available communication to inform you where the danger is and then evacuate people out of the path of the fallout.” (See my comment below.)
  4. Your initial instincts of what to do could be wrong. Instead of evacuating your best bet may be to shelter in place.
  5. Duct tape and plastic can be helpful in sealing your shelter from radioactive dust. (I’m reminiscing about the Duct Tape and Plastic Panic of 2003…)
  6. While decontamination centers will be operational, no city is prepared for the hundreds of thousands of people who will need decontamination and medical care.
  7. You can decontaminate yourself by quickly shedding contaminated clothing and taking a shower with soap.
  8. A recent survey, reports BusinessWeek magazine, found that “just 57% of healthcare workers in the region would report for work during a radiological event.” (Wow.)
  9. “And so far the government doesn’t seem to have educated citizens about what they can do to protect themselves if a bomb goes off in the city.” (Yup.)

As I speculated in my post of 9/27/07 (Nuclear Fallout: Which Way is the Wind Blowing?), I think point #3 above could be a serious problem—and deadly if anybody screws-up. First, note that points #3 and #4 are contradictory. It means that, depending upon the situation, you may have to either shelter in place or evacuate. If you’re close to the blast I think that decision will have to be made in less than 15 minutes.

Second, the quote in point #3 above is vague (“available communication”) in describing how you’ll get evacuation information. By what method should you try first (TV, radio, email, telephone, cell phone, text-messaging, loudspeaker, talking to a first responder, etc.) and in what form will you get the information (i.e., will you understand it)? Will you get the information within 15 minutes of the blast or should you have a back-up plan?

I’d like to know now so I can do some prep, plan a response and not be prone to panic.

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Subscribers and bookmarkers — address change complete

February 8, 2008

The change to my web address (URL) is complete. There’s no smoke emanating from my computer so I think it worked 😉  Again, to be safe, you may want to revise your subscription or bookmark.

A note to my blog subscribers (and bookmarkers)

February 4, 2008

This is a new blog and I’m still working out the logistics. I’m going to make a change to my web address (URL) in the next week or so. I think it’ll still work with your news reader, but I’m not sure, so it’ll be best if you revise your subscription to my new URL (or if you’ve bookmarked the site, revise the bookmark). I’ll do another post when it’s complete.

In geek terms, I’m signing up for domain mapping with my blog host, WordPress. Domain mapping will drop the “wordpress” from my URL and officially change my URL to surviveanukeattack.com, from surviveanukeattack.wordpress.com. My blog has always been reachable by just navigating to surviveanukeattack.com because I use domain forwarding from my domain registrar (GoDaddy), which redirects traffic to surviveanukeattack.wordpress.com. But domain mapping makes it so the URL will never change again, which would happen every time I switched to a new blog host. Better to change it now than later.