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#61239 - 03/02/06 11:29 PM It Can't Happen Here
Craig_phx Offline
Old Hand

Registered: 04/05/05
Posts: 715
Loc: Phoenix, AZ


I bought the movie “The Day After” from Target. It is a 1980s movie about the USSR exchanging ICBMs with the US. It seems to be technically accurate. EMP destroys all electronics. Emergency radios do not work. Many are caught out in the radiation and suffer its deadly consequences. The large cities are gone so no help is available. Towns have to make do the best they can. Big paradigm of “It Can’t Happen Here.” Mothers of Invention, 1969.



The situation now is that there are NO government fall-out shelters for the general population. Anyone have thoughts on how to survive a possible nuclear exchange with Russia, China, or terrorists? It got me looking at FM 21-76. Good info on how to cope with all kinds of NBC (nuclear, biological, and chemical) events. It is interesting that FM 21-76 states that no matter how good your survival kit is that you will run out of supplies eventually and have to improvise.
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#61240 - 03/03/06 03:16 PM Re: It Can't Happen Here
norad45 Offline
Veteran

Registered: 07/01/04
Posts: 1506
I have that movie. I think it is a pretty accurate portrayal of what a nuclear exchange would have been like between the Soviets and Americans. It was made in the early 80's and as such is colored by the politics of the time.

Fallout shelters ceased to be a viable option sometime during the 1960's, when the American and Soviet arsenals got so large that any nuclear exchange between the two would make large-scale survival impossible. I believe the same would be the case today. The Americans and Russians still maintain large enough stockpiles to obliterate most decent sized population centers. The last I had heard, the Chinese maintain somewhere between 30-50 functioning nukes. Whether or not they are sophisticated enough to be effectively delivered here is another matter. Either way, I think the possibility of any sort of nuclear exchange between the three countries is remote in the extreme, for obvious reasons. And I don't think any of the so-called "rogue states" (Iran, North Korea, etc.) would risk the catastrophic nuclear response that a similar attack upon us would prompt. That leaves us to deal with terrorists and their more limited capabilities.

Unlike many, I don't think terrorists are going to be necessarily limited to a "dirty bomb." That means possibly first having to deal with the initial blast and fireball. As silly as it may sound, I think maybe we need to go back to the '50's and dust off the old "duck and cover" technique. It certaintly makes a lot more sense now when dealing with an isolated nuclear detonation than it did with total nuclear war. After that, it becomes a matter of getting out of the fallout area.

Some will live who are not prepared at all, while some who have the most carefully planned equipment checklists and escape routes will die. That is just the nature of a surprise attack. But I'm thinking that if you are not killed outright, you stand a pretty good chance of making it with some preparation and maybe a little luck.

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#61241 - 03/03/06 03:24 PM Re: It Can't Happen Here
AyersTG Offline
Veteran

Registered: 12/10/01
Posts: 1272
Loc: Upper Mississippi River Valley...
Haven't watched the movie, but I agree with your assements about the current state of affairs.

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#61242 - 03/03/06 06:23 PM Re: It Can't Happen Here
Blast Offline
INTERCEPTOR
Carpal Tunnel

Registered: 07/15/02
Posts: 3593
Loc: TX
You can get an idea of what to expect(!) from the webpage below:
Google Maps Nuke Zone

This is a Google Maps hack which allows you to map out the zones of destruction from a nuclear detonation. You can adjust the yield of the bomb and place the center anywhere you'd like. Using this I was happy to discover our house/school/workplace are all far enough away from the port of Houston to escape everything but the fallout from even a giant bomb. I figured the port of Houston would be the most likely spot for Houston to be hit via a smuggled Iranian/North Korean bomb.

Overall, the zone of destruction from an atomic bomb is suprisingly small. <img src="/images/graemlins/crazy.gif" alt="" />

-Mark
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#61243 - 03/03/06 06:55 PM Re: It Can't Happen Here
olddude Offline
journeyman

Registered: 08/29/05
Posts: 93
Loc: Lower Fla. Keys
Interesting you mention that movie. I hadn't thought of it for years when I spotted it on ebay. I'm bidding it, along with The Postman and Red Dawn.
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"Tryin' to reason with hurricane season"

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#61244 - 03/03/06 09:27 PM Re: It Can't Happen Here
JFBat Offline
Stranger

Registered: 09/08/05
Posts: 18
Loc: NYC
The blast radius is small, but don't let that lull you into thinking you're fine if you're not near it; a major component of the damage done by a nuke would be the fact that it ignites all flammable (and much considered not flammable at relatively low temperatures) materials. Even a 5kt nominal yield weapon going off in lower Manhattan would set fires as far away as Brooklyn, Queens and Jersey City.

Reference: http://www.thebulletin.org/article.php?art_ofn=jf04eden

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#61245 - 03/03/06 10:49 PM Re: It Can't Happen Here
Blast Offline
INTERCEPTOR
Carpal Tunnel

Registered: 07/15/02
Posts: 3593
Loc: TX
JFBat,

Wow, that was a great article! Thank you for posting it and welcome to the group by the way.

The resulting firestorm definately increases the zone of damage. Add all the refineries and chemical plants in the area and it becomes bigger still. As I mentioned before, I would expect an attack on Houston (or any port city) to take place at the port which is about 50 miles away from me. Since the detonation would occur at ground level the overall blast zone is reduced, but I don't know by how much. The article you referenced described a 300 KT bomb exploded 1500 feet off the ground which results in fires ignited to up to about 4.6 miles from the detonation. This is a big area and the fire would undoubtably grow. But compared to the overall size of Houston, a circle nine miles across is puny. Don't get me wrong, this would suck massively! I'm just glad I'm on the opposite side of town and I make my plans accordingly.

-Mark
_________________________
Foraging Texas
Medicine Man Plant Co.
DrMerriwether on YouTube
Radio Call Sign: KI5BOG
*As an Amazon Influencer, I may earn a sales commission on Amazon links in my posts.

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#61246 - 03/04/06 02:27 AM Re: It Can't Happen Here
norad45 Offline
Veteran

Registered: 07/01/04
Posts: 1506
That is a fascinating website. It takes into account a relatively small yield device (100 KT) and a ground level burst, both of which would be emblematic of a terrorist attack. I played a bit with the numbers, and I would guess the projected casualties in my area would increase at least 100 fold if you increase the yield to 1 MT.

It's a good thing that nations typically do not resort to WMD to resolve differences, particularly thermonuclear devices. Imagine if the Russians and Americans were still eyeballing each other in the current world climate? Both countries were--and are--quite skilled at depositing thousands of MIRV'd warheads 1 mile above each others cities.

Compared to what we faced then, surviving now is a piece of cake. <img src="/images/graemlins/ooo.gif" alt="" />

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#61247 - 03/04/06 08:39 PM Re: It Can't Happen Here
ironraven Offline
Cranky Geek
Carpal Tunnel

Registered: 09/08/05
Posts: 4642
Loc: Vermont
That estimate fails to take into account the bulk of the structures in the way. However, you might be getting the big, spark plug sized fall out at that distance.
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When a man dare not speak without malice for fear of giving insult, that is when truth starts to die. Truth is the truest freedom.

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#61248 - 03/05/06 07:13 PM Re: It Can't Happen Here
anotherinkling Offline
Member

Registered: 03/09/05
Posts: 109
Loc: Chicago
I checked out a similar site awhile back. I live on the north side of Chicago. If a bomb went off near Wrigley Field, I'd be toast. If one went off downtown--which seems much more likely--it would just be fire and chaos. Though evacuating would be ideal, I really don't think Chicago's prepared for anything of that scale. If the prevailing winds were typical, the fallout would end up in Lake Michigan. I'd shelter in place for a few days, defending the evac vehicle then make my way out of the city. I'm getting prepared to do it on foot, but with a wife and child and one on the way, the prospect of doing that is...daunting, to say the least.

That's an interesting movie, BTW. Probably not as likely a scenario as the smaller yield, personally delivered nuke, but who knows what the world will look like in 10, 20 years.


Edited by anotherinkling (03/05/06 09:44 PM)

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