here's a little something i wrote back before Y2K to help some DGI's (don't get it) get ready. the nuclear stuff is at the bottom.
just to let everybody know, i've been studying nuclear war effects and survival since the early 80's. i've read all of the best books on the subject including nuclear war survival skills, life after doomsday, you can survive doomsday, etc. i'm telling you this so you will know on what i base this information.
here's the paper i wrote:
Preparedness is not a hobby that you can take out and play with when you're bored, it is a life change. You must decide to change the way you live your daily life. This change doesn't have to be dramatic, simply look at your situation in a new way. Instead of assuming that the products and services that you've grown to rely on will always be there, begin to learn how you might be able to live without them or provide those things for yourself. Through decreasing your dependency on electricity, growing your own food, canning and preserving, and looking for alternatives to the things you now consider essential, you will begin to prepare yourself for a time when your life will depend on your knowledge of this subject.
WHERE TO START?
The basic needs of life are:
The media portrays a preppers' shelter as some sort of bunker located far away from the persons' home and able, not only to survive a direct nuclear strike, but to stand up to armies of people equipped with military weapons ( where would one go to get such things, anyway) and determined to get in and take what you've got. The reality is far different. Most of us can't afford to dig even a small shelter in our back yards, although most of us should, as this is the surest way to live in the event of a nuclear war. However, fallout shelters aside, there is no reason we should consider leaving our homes, unless we KNOW we have someplace to go that would be better. The best thing for most of us would be to prepare our homes to be our retreat.
In preparing our homes, the first thing we need to think about is camouflage. Having a million dollar house with a mercedes in the drive is a GREAT way to attract unwanted persons to your home. Most crooks are smart enough to know that when the power goes off, you're alarm is off too. Instead, the best camouflage would be to live in a house that appears to be somewhat run down, with an older car in the drive, and weeds in the yard. Most people are geared to respond to visual stimulation, and will pass a run down house without even glancing at it.
The next thing to consider is to create a safe room in your home. this room should be built of concrete blocks, if possible, but should at least have no outside walls and enough support to keep the roof from crushing you. this is the room to go to when you have a tornado or something headed your way. You should stock this room with food and water, flashlights, a radio, clothes and blankets, and anything else you think you would need for 24 hours at least. You should also wire the room for a telephone, and keep a portable CB radio there so you can call for help if the house collapses on top of you.
After you've set up your safe room you should prepare for other situations where products and services are cut off, maybe indefinitely. These situations may be natural, such as blizzards or floods, or manmade, such as war, economic collapse, or government action against certain people (the mark of the beast, for example ). This is where lifestyle changes are necessary. You could simply buy a pre made one year food supply, or, as the mormons do, keep a years supply of wheat, salt, milk, and honey. But switching from a life of eating store bought food to trying to live on wheat is very stressful, especially in a situation that is already stressful enough. Instead, you need to change now, and use the philosophy of 'eat what you store, store what you eat'. In other words, learn to cook with storage foods, and rotate your storage food into your daily meals. In this way you will be used to the food, and having to subsist on it exclusively won't come as a shock to you.
Learning to live with very little electricity is another area where you can prepare. A generator big enough to supply all the electrical needs of a modern home will consume 6-8 gallons of gas per hour to operate. Running one for just one week would require a tremendous amount of fuel. Instead, preparing your home now to use very little electricity will greatly lower the need if the power grid goes down for good. Try this experiment: turn off the electricity to your home at the main breaker and leave it off for 24 hours. don't worry about the food in the refrigerator, if you keep the door closed the food will still be good in 24 hours. notice the things you really want or need that use elictricity, then start looking for ways to replace them. One area where people use a lot of electricity is food preservation ( the refrigerator and freezer). Learning to can, dry, salt, smoke or otherwise preserve food without refrigeration is a good start. Also, there is a link included in this folder for the icy ball refrigerator, which doesn't use electricity yet will make ice! they are easy to construct, and you can purchase plans there.
Being ready for a winter storm is another area where you can begin to prepare. After a major crisis you may not be able to obtain fuel oil for a furnace and, of course, the power may be off. acquiring a good wood burning stove, along with all the flue pipe and other things that go with them would be a good idea. If you get a cast iron stove that is air tight you can even burn coal in it, and coal is extremely cheap. Another source of fuel, for those who live in an area where there aren't many trees, is dried cow and horse manure. this can usually be gathered, with permission, from a neighbors pasture. One thing to remember however, is that the cheap flue pipe usually won't last more than a year or two, before rusting through, the more expensive permanent pipe however will last a long time. Also, you will need to clean the creosote out of the pipe once or twice a year, to prevent a fire. Adding insulation and doing other energy saving modifications will also help to conserve heat when your heat depends on your own efforts.
If you can possibly do it, you should dig a well. If so, or if you already have one, you will need either a hand pump or, if the well casing is wide enough, at least a bucket and a rope. Hand pumps can be bought at your local hardware store or farmers co-operative, but they are only good for shallow wells. If the well is too deep or if it is too narrow for a bucket, you can construct a bucket by taking a piece of pipe slightly smaller in diameter than your well casing and about three feet long. tie a rope to one end by drilling a hole all the way through the pipe a couple of inches below the top and threading the rope through it. Plug the other end and cut a hole through the plug. Using a wood screw, secure a piece of rawhide leather, or a piece of thick rubber over the hole, inside the pipe, so that it can be lifted easily to expose the hole but covers it completely. weight the pipe so that it sinks, and lower it into the well pipe until it fills with water, then pull it up.
If you can't dig a well, or if you're forced to travel, you will need to purify and store water. After many disasters, water, even that from the faucet, can become contaminated. Water that is suspect should be boiled if at all possible. To purify it, bring it to a roiling boil and keep it there for 10 minutes at least. You can get rid of the flat taste by pouring it from one container to another several times. If you don't have the fuel to boil it, you can kill the bacteria by adding a good quality household bleach to it at the rate of 10 drops per gallon, and letting it sit for 1/2 an hour. The bleach should be at least 5.25 percent pure, so I suggest using Chlorox. Also, make sure it has no additives such as soap or fragrance. The average person needs at least 1/2 a gallon of water per day minimum. Don't try to ration water, it won't work, you will just dehydrate and possibly kill yourself that way. 1/2 a gallon is only enough if you are not moving around much. The amount needed by an active person can be as high as 2 gallons a day just for consumption, with more needed for cooking and washing.
In an emergency, there is a way to purify water without using fuel,you can construct a solar still. To use this method, obtain a large container that will hold water (only use containers that are clean and have never been used to hold chemicals or petrollium products), a piece of clear plastic sheeting larger than the mouth of the container, a cord, or roll of tape, a small weight, and a smaller container. To use, fill the large container with one inch of water, put the smaller container in the center of the large one and weight it so it doesn't move. Now cover the large container loosely with the plastic, so that the center of the plastic is close to the small container, and secure it with the tape or cord. Put the weight in the center of the plastic, over the small container, and set the whole thing in the sun. Solar radiation will cause the water to evaporate and the vapor will condense on the plastic, run down to the center, and drip into the small can. This water is safe to drink, even if it was originally salt water, or even urine. You can even do the same thing by digging a hole in the ground and using the hole as the large container. the sun will cause the moisture in the ground to evaporate so you can drink it.
Being able to provide your own food is essential to long term preparedness, however you may not be able to plant right away after a crisis, and of course, you will need to eat until the harvest anyway. Therefore having a supply of food to subsist on until you can get crops in is necessary. The question now becomes, what and how to store.
Few of us have the extra money to purchase a one year food supply from a preparedness company, although for those who do, READY RESERVE has a 4 person one year food kit for less than $3000.
For most of us however, other sources of storage food are necessary. The main things to look for when storing food are shelf life, nutritional stability, and ease of preparation. For instance, can foods from the grocery store will be edible after many years in storage, however, the nutritional value begins to drop after 6 months, making them less than ideal for long term storage. On the other hand, hard wheat, if kept cool and dry, can last for over 1000 years, and sugar lasts forever if kept dry. In addition, these are two of the four foods the mormons require to make up a basic (if bland) food supply. The other two are salt and dry milk. Salt can last forever also, but dry milk doesn't store well (one or two years at most, 3 years if vacuum sealed).
A good idea would be to incorporate these into your supply, however you should be sure to add other foods with which you are more familiar. An old adage is to "eat what you store and store what you eat", because a crisis will be stressful enough without adding the stress of a radical change in diet. What we do is to double up on non-perishable items when we go shopping and add the other half to our storage supplies. This helps us to add slowly to our stores, and ensures that we are used to the food we will be eating. Adding grains to your diet now, like wheat, rye, oats, rice, and corn will not only help you get used to eating them later, but will help you get on a healthy diet as well. Many of these can be obtained before any processing has been done, ensuring that the nutritional value is as high as possible. Also, these grains are cheap (50 lbs of wheat for less than $10), and easy to store. About 250 lbs of grain alone will sustain a person for a year, and although the diet would be boring, you would be healthier that most of us are today.
Storage of grains is easy. The main enemies of your stored grain are insects, with rodents also being a problem. storage should be in 5 gallon buckets that have screw on lids. These can be special ordered from your hardware stores. The buckets should be new unused or clean ones previously used for food. Check with any restaurants near you, they will usually save these if you ask. Protecting your grain from insects is more difficult. There are two methods available. The first is the use of diatomacious earth. This is a silica based material available in health foor stores and garden supply stores and is added at the rate of 1/4 cup per 5 gallon bucket. Daitomacious earth is safe to eat and is in fact a mineral supplement. It works because the particles are rough and cut through the protective covering on an insects body, causing him to dry out and die. The other method involves removing the oxygen from the container. This can be done by displacement, forcing the air out by replacing it with a heavier gas, like carbon dioxide, nitrogen, or freon. To use the carbon dioxide (dry ice), fill the container with grain and place about 100 grams on top. place the lid loosely on top of that, and wait for it to melt. When it has melted, secure the lid. to use the other two you must buy a container of the gas, attach a hose and fill the bucket by opening the valve and letting the gas slowly fill it. You will know the bucket is full when a match won't burn near the top (indicating all the oxygen is gone), then secure the lid. You can also remove the oxygen by buying oxygen absorbers from a preparedness supplier and placing the required number in with the grain. Remember, when you open the container you will allow air in, meaning it will have to be forced out again if you don't use it within 6 months.
Storing other foods can be more difficult. Dry goods can be stored in the same way as the grain, however you will need to learn to pickle, can, salt, jerk or smoke foods like meat and fresh produce. I'm not going to go into how to do those things now, but I have added a book list that will cover these and many other skills of preparedness.
There's not much I can say here, other than that after a major crisis clothing may not be available for several years, so being ready is a good idea. Also, being able to produce clothing could be a profitable cottage industry in a barter society, which the world could well be after a major incident. Learning to knit, sew, crochet, cobble (make shoes) or even weave on a simple loom now, could make a difference later on. You should try to buy clothes that are durable and can stand up to many washings, and that are relatively easy to repair. A visit to your local military surplus store will give you an opportunity to buy several pairs of boots, as well as durable clothing, for a good price. Also, you should stock up on materials needed to make clothes. Having a supply of sewing needles and thread could make you rich after everyone else has run out.
Some people don't like firearms, but in a world without police or government (so called) protection, a gun could very well be the only thing that stands between a criminal and you and your loved ones. If you don't know anything about guns, now's the time to learn. Most gun stores can tell you where to go to get instruction in the use of firearms as well as help you to pick out the guns that are right for you. As with anything that requires training and skill to use, I would strongly advise against just buying any gun you can get cheaply and putting it up until needed. When you need it, you will be unprepared and will be more dangerous to yourself than to an attacker. As would anyone who didn't know how to drive and tried to, during a medical emergency.
If you ask 10 people what is the perfect preparedness gun, you will get 10 different answers. The fact is, everyone has their preferences. I say you should try several different types and pick one or two that you are comfortable with. A good place to try some out is a local gun range. Hanging out and asking questions will help you out tremendously.
There are several different uses for guns in a preparedness situation, self defence is only one of them. The other main uses are to provide meat and to remove dangerous pests. For this reason, several guns are needed. As a guideline, I would suggest a .22 cal. rifle for pest elimination and small game hunting, a 12 ga. or 20 ga. shotgun (I prefer a pump action as this gives multiple shots, yet is durable and easy to use) for bird hunting, a centerfire rifle for larger game hunting (a bolt action hunting rifle or military surplus rifle like the mosin nagant) and a hand gun for everyday carry. Of course, buying guns is not something you need to rush into. I would start out with a .22 rifle, as the ammo is cheap, is is useful around the house, it is quiet, and it doesn't kick at all when fired. This is a good gun to learn on and practice with. I would hope that you would fire at least 1000 rounds with the rifle, to get accustomed to it. Fortunately, .22 long rifle ammo is unbelievably cheap, with 500 rounds going for about $20.00. Next to buy should be a handgun in a caliber as large as you can handle. the least you should use for defense being .36 spl/9mm. this is to be used primarily for defense but you will need to practice with it to become proficient. I'm not going to go into gun safety here but I am going to say NEVER point a gun at someone to warn or scare him. If the situation does not warrant deadly force, leave the gun alone. Only point a gun at something you intend to shoot and kill. Also, never shoot to wound, always keep shooting until the threat is gone, ie when the attacker has stopped moving. As the saying goes "it is better to be judged by 12 than carried by 6".
Another area I can't say too much about. Communication is something we take for granted, the ability to pick up a telephone and talk to anyone in the world. During and after a crisis, of course, this may be impossible. How far you want to go with this depends on your surroundings and how much money you want to spend. It could be as simple as a solar powered radio for news and instructions and a cb radio, if you live near others who have such equipment. Or as complex as learning to use a shortwave transceiver to talk to people around the world. If you live close enough to someone you want to stay in contact with, you may want to invest in a couple of army surplus field phones. these need no power supply and can be used more than 10 miles apart, with one catch, you will need to string phone line between the phones for them to work. Another answer could be GMRS radios. They can be purchased at wal-mart for about $25 a set, with wall chargers. If you decide to get some, buy a solar battery charger and two sets of nickel-metal hydride batteries for each radio. these work well within a mile and can work up to two miles under the right conditions.
If you take my advice and choose to make your home your retreat, then you won't need a special vehicle to get you to your shelter. However, you will need to get around after a crisis, and you will possibly need to evacuate at some time, so keeping some fuel for emergencies is a good idea.
The first type of vehicle you should get is a bicycle. They use no fuel, are easy to maintain, easy to secure (keep them INside when you are not using them) and, if they are stolen, don't represent a huge financial investment. You should ride everyday before the crisis, not only to get in better shape but to get as familiar as you can with their operation and maintainance. Also, be sure to get a comprehensive repair kit and learn to use it.
Of course, a motor vehicle is a necessity, before and after a crisis. However, a brand new, shiny 4x4 all terrain vehicle is NOT recommended. The first time you run up on a group of armed people walking down the road in your shiny new 4x4 preparedness vehicle, you are going to wind up in a ditch while they drive off in your truck. Far better is to have an old pickup truck, rusted and dented, that looks like it won't go 20 miles, but kept mechanically sound. After a crisis, removing the muffler will help it to sound in bad repair. If you get a truck, get a camper top for the bed and paint the inside of the windows black, to keep people from looking in the back. In back keep an evacuation kit and extra fuel, in case you have to evacuate in a hurry. Even better would be an old station wagon, and there are several that have 4 wheel drive available. station wagons have a "p.t.a. mom mystique" that will make people completely ignore them when looking for an escape vehicle to steal. Whatever vehicle you choose, make sure your bike fits in the back so you will have a secondary vehicle if something happens to the primary vehicle. It would be a good idea to keep a supply of belts, hoses, and common repair parts for the vehicle you choose. Also, if you can find one, get a vehicle that doesn't use a computer or electronic ignition, as these may be inoperative after a nuclear strike. A vehicle with a points ignition system stands up better to the side effects of nuclear attack.
A word of warning, fuel (gasoline or diesel) doesn't last forever. Gas begins to break down after 6 months (diesel takes longer but DOES eventually break down also) and can damage your engine beyond easy repair. However, you can buy fuel stabilizers for either type of fuel at preparedness sites. look for one that lasts for 5 years (PRI-G is best and PRI-D for diesel) at least, and rotate your stored fuel through your car every 4 years, and treat the new. Of course, after a crisis you should reserve the motor vehicle for emergency use only and if you keep extra fuel stabilizer, you may be able to pool your fuel supplies with your neighbors and preserve their fuel too. Be sure, if you decide to share with your neighbors, that your group use only one motor vehicle (the most efficient, that will run) and then only in an emergency.
Remember, after a major crisis, ie: a nuclear war, most forms of entertainment you now take for granted will be gone, possibly for a very long time. Things like tv, computers, videos, even radio will squander your limited electricity. Therefore, now is the time to plan to entertain yourself. Life in a shelter will be much more bearable with something to do. Books are a good start, and can be had cheaply at yard sales and flea markets. Textbooks for entertainment and education can usually be gotten for free from local schools when they throw them away, and they could be invaluable even if they are in bad shape. Also look for books on games and entertainment used in times past, when people had to make do with what they came up with on their own. If there are children around, they will need toys that don't require batteries (I believe kids do better with non-electric toys anyway). Learning to play an instrument is a good idea, also, as you can use it to keep children entertained during scary times.
There is a LOT of information on this subject, I've personally spent 30 years studying it. I'm not going to go into great detail, it would probably bore you, but I need to touch on some basics.
The nuclear blast itself will not actually kill most people, even in target areas, but the secondary effects WILL kill many and make life a nightmare for many, many more. Most of these effects can be avoided by learning about the dangers and taking the proper steps. It boils down to whether you want to live a good, healthful life, or a life of sickness and slow, painful death.
Sorry to be so gruesome, but it is important to understand what doing nothing could result in. Radioactive fallout can be easily avoided, but if you choose to do nothing, it will cause you much suffering.
The first thing I need to discuss is what happens during a nuclear detonation. During the 1950's and 1960's, guidance systems for ballistic missiles (the ones that enter space and can be fired at a target anywhere in the world) was pretty poor, the missile was accurate to within a mile or so of the target. Because of this, the warheads were large, to ensure the target was wiped out even if the missile didn't land where it was supposed to. Today, because of improvements in the guidance systems, the warhead can land within FEET of it's target, and the large, heavy warhead has been replaced with several smaller warheads, each of which will go to a different target. This really is a good thing for us, as the power reduction means the distance the danger extends has also been reduced. This means that more people will survive an attack, and fewer precautions will have to be taken.
Most nuclear detonations will be at a height of a couple thousand feet or so. The reason for this is so that the destructive effects will be spread over a wider area. This is called an airburst, as opposed to a groundburst, which is only used to destroy underground targets like govt. bunkers. The important thing for us to remember is that airbursts produce almost no fallout. When a nuke explodes near the ground the force of the blast causes the air to leave the area, leaving a vacuum in the center of the burst. As the air pressure overcomes the power of the explosion and rushes back in, it picks up dirt, ash and debris and carries this up into the center of the radioactive area. The bomb residue irradiates the dust and ash and this debris is carried downwind, to drop to the ground as fallout. But in an airburst, there is almost no dust or ash picked up because the vacuum created is high above the ground. Therefore there is little fallout. Besides producing fallout, the blast releases heat and light. The light will blind anyone watching the flash, even miles away, just as if someone stared at the sun for 10 minutes. Therefore, if you see a blast, LOOK AWAY IMMEDIATELY and do not look in that direction for at least two minutes. The heat comes in the form of infrared radiation and can start fires many miles away. It will also cause 2nd degree burns to exposed skin, like a really bad sun burn. The last important effect of the blast is the overpressure. In simple terms this is the blast wave. This is what destroys buildings and breaks windows. The effects diminish the farther out from the explosion you get. Because of the blast wave and flash effects, if you are close to the explosion, you should immediately "duck and cover", or find strong shelter. But beware, if the shelter is not strong enough or is too close to the blast site, it may collapse on you.
The best way to stay healthy during a nuclear war is to stay away from target areas like cities, military bases, power stations, rail centers, and major ports. The next thing is to recognize that you probably live downwind of at least one target area, and plan accordingly. This means building some kind of shelter, and understanding what will happen after a nuclear attack.
There has been much disinformation put forth by various groups, including the major media, concerning the effects of a nuclear attack, including genetic mutations, poisoned water supply, all life wiped out, the earth uninhabitable for thousands of years, and a new ice age due to "nuclear winter". These claims, and most other doomsday claims are false. Most people don't realize that there have been more than 4000 nuclear tests conducted around the world by various countries, and so far none of these extremes has occurred. What has been learned from these tests is that the effects last for a short time, most are gone within a few months, and they don't cause irrepairable damage to the environment.
When building a shelter, as with any other form of preparedness, we hope for the best but prepare for the worst. In this case we prepare as if we are downwind of a ground burst, with lot's of deadly fallout on it's way. The types of radiation given off by fallout are alpha, beta and gamma. Alpha and beta are only harmful if they are on your skin or if you ingest them, as only a few inches of air is enough shielding to block the effects. Gamma however, is far more penetrating. When building a shelter you will have to take into consideration adequate shielding for gamma radiation. the graph below gives the shielding properties of several common materials. Of these, the cheapest and easiest to work with is plain old dirt.
The shelter can be made of anything you want, as long as it can hold back the weight of the dirt. Some idea's include a 10 foot diameter length of sewer pipe (unused :lol: ) with steel plate welded to the ends, or the 'sealand' shipping containers used to transport goods across the ocean. These are 20 and 40 feet long steel boxes, 8 feet high, and 8 feet wide. they are incredibly strong and used ones are cheap, with 40 footers going for as little as $2000-3000 each (these containers will need some reinforcing across the sides and top as the frame, not the sheet metal, is designed to carry the load). You will need a couple of ventilation pipes and an entrance and these need to have at least two right angle turns in them with at least 10 foot lengths between the bends, to prevent fallout radiation from entering. "Z" shapes work good for these pipes. What I mean is, the pipe extends vertically down to the level of the shelter, bends and extends parallel to the wall of the shelter, then bends again and goes into the shelter. The reason for this is, while fallout is dust and can be blown around by the wind, the radiation it emits can travel in a straight line only. It can't bend around corners, so bends in the entrance and ventilation pipes will stop the "rays" from entering the shelter. If you extend the ventillation intake pipe at least 4 feet above the ground you won't need to put a filter on it, as the dust on the ground will be too heavy to be sucked up to this height, Just be sure you put a cap on it, or bend the top over to prevent dust from falling down the pipe.
One of the facts of nuclear fallout is that it decays (becomes less hazardous) over time. The good people at Oak Ridge Nuclear Laboratory devised a simple formula to predict this decay rate. It's called the 7/10 rule. According to this formula, 7 hours after the peak radioactivity is reached, the level of radiation will be reduced to 1/10th of it's peak rate. The next order of magnitude reduction comes 7 times 7 hours (49 hours) later. 7 times that (approximately 2 weeks) and it's again reduced to 1/10th it's former rate. This continues in the same fashion until radiation levels reach that of what we now consider background radiation.
to show this decay rate, let's start with an arbitrary 1000R peak dose rate. after 7 hours the level will be down to 100R. 49 hours later it'll be down to 10R. 2 weeks later it'll be down to 1R and 4 months later it'll be down to .1R. for general reference, while .02R is considered normal background radiation, after rates drop to around 1-5R it is safe to go outside for short amounts of time, to effect repairs or carry out trash. of course, even after rates have fallen to below 1R it will still be wise to limit exposure by sleeping in the shelter and staying indoors as much as possible. it must also be remembered that radiation is measured in terms of dosage per hour of exposure. when someone says they're receiving 600R they mean that someone standing outside for one hour will receive a 600R dosage. on the other hand, someone exposed for only 1 minute will only receive 10R (the dosage graph below will show the effects of different amounts of radiation exposure on the human body). The dosage is cumulative, so keeping track of your total exposure is important. (my friend Shane at www.ki4u.com
sells excellent radiation detection equipment including the nukalert for measuring current radiation levels and dosimeters for keeping track of your total exposure).
Given this, you can expect to stay in the shelter for at least two weeks after the LAST bomb has gone off, so you must stock the shelter with enough supplies for everyone you expect to use it for this amount of time. Remember, besides food, you will need 1/2 gal. of water per person, per day. Also, you will need an air pump that you can operate by hand, you will need to provide 400 cubic feet of new air per person, per hour. If you read the book "Pulling Through", by Dean Ing, you will find instructions for building an air pump, filter, and air duct out of cardboard and garbage bags (I know it sounds crazy, but it really works). also, the book "Nuclear War Survival Skills" shows how to build a radiation meter that is more useful in this situation than some geiger counters. The meter is made out of a coffee can and tin foil, but it also works, it was designed by a scientist just for this occasion.
This report just scratches the surface of preparedness. There are a surprising number of preparedness groups around, most are willing to help others get ready. If you have any questions, and I know you will, please ask. I will do my best to answer them.
here's a generic fallout pattern map assuming that we receive a strategic strike. of course, wind direction and speed varies, but this gives an idea assuming prevailing wind patterns.
this is a graph showing the amount of shielding provided by various common materials. the graph assumes a peak radiation dosage of 1000R, though in reality it could be ten times that (so build accordingly).
here's the dosage graph:
i can give more detailed information on dose rates than this graph goes into.
radiation sickness begins (assuming a healthy adult) between 125 and 150R. at this dosage symptoms include mild nausea and a general feeling of weakness. percentage of deaths is zero and recovery time is a few days to a couple weeks (yes, the body can repair the effects of radiation exposure, if the dose is low enough).
at 200R significant radiation sickness symptoms begin. these include nausea, some vomiting, possible diarrhea and loss of hair. the percentage of deaths from this exposure is 1% and recovery time is within a month. at this rate there is no significant increase in the chances of getting cancer (nominal 1 in 250,000 cancer rate).
at 300R loss of teeth, finger and toe nails, along with most body hair, occurs. vomiting and diarrhea get worse and splotchy raw rashes begin to occur on the skin. percentage of deaths at this rate are between 5-10% and recovery time is measured in months. death (for those going to die) will occur within 2 months. cancer rate for survivors will be about 1 in 100,000.
at 400R all symptoms get even worse. secondary infections brought on by the body's weakened state become a problem. at this rate, half the healthy adults exposed will die. death for them will occur within 1-2 months and recovery for the survivors will take years. cancer rate for the survivors will be about one in a thousand.
at 500R 95% of those exposed will die. death will occur within weeks and recovery for the few who make it will take decades. chances of getting cancer at this dose will be about one in ten for the survivors.
at 600R less than 1% will survive. for them recovery will never be complete and cancer will be almost a certainty.
above 600R death is 100%.