Are the Cold War duck-and-cover drills coming back? In the event of a nuclear attack the government has a surprising new message: Do not flee. Get inside any stable building and don’t come out till officials say it’s safe, according to The New York Times.
The advice is based on analyses suggesting that if you immediately shield yourself from the lethal radiation that follows a blast, the tactic will save hundreds of thousands of lives. Staying in a car, the studies show, would reduce casualties by more than 50 percent; hunkering down in a basement would be better by far.
“We have to get past the mental block that says it’s too terrible to think about,” W. Craig Fugate, administrator of the Federal Emergency Management Agency, told the Times. “We have to be ready to deal with it” and help people learn how to “best protect themselves.”
The administration is making that argument with state and local authorities and has started to do so with the general public as well. Its Citizen Corps Web site says a nuclear detonation is “potentially survivable for thousands, especially with adequate shelter and education.” A color illustration shows which kinds of buildings and rooms offer the best protection from radiation.
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