How Long Should You Stay Underground After a Nuclear War?

In the event of a nuclear emergency, it is best to stay indoors for at least 24 hours. This is according to the U. S. Department of Health and Human Services, who recommend that people enter a building and take shelter until the risk of contamination decreases.

The walls of your home can block much of the harmful radiation, so staying inside for a day can protect you and your family until it's safe to leave the area. This is known as sheltering in place. The 1963 Limited Nuclear-Test-Ban Treaty ended atmospheric testing for the United States, Great Britain and the Soviet Union, but two major non-signatories, France and China, continued nuclear testing at a rate of approximately 5 megatons per year. In recent years, tensions between nuclear states have been on the rise, with North Korea's far-fetched stance and the actions of a US president described by his own military as easily primed and quick to attack. Modern nuclear attacks are likely to follow a different pattern than those of the past. Instead of hoarding world-destroying nuclear bombs, such as the legendary Soviet-era Tsar Bomb, nuclear states have shifted to smaller reserves filled with missiles designed for greater precision and surgical attacks.

A single nuclear weapon could cause tens of thousands, if not hundreds of thousands, of immediate deaths in a major city like New York or Washington. In the event of a nuclear attack, FEMA guidelines suggest seeking shelter in a basement or subway station. If discovered by surprise, this is the best course of action. Russian President Vladimir Putin put his nuclear forces on high alert recently, raising concern among defense experts that Russia could unleash a nuclear attack or an all-out nuclear war. When the nuclear winter comes, it is important to be prepared with warm fleeces and waterproof jackets. Given the uncertainties about the dynamics of a potential nuclear war, cancers induced by radiation and genetic damage together over 30 years are estimated to range from 1.5 to 30 million for the world's population as a whole. It is estimated that more than 500 megatons of nuclear performance detonated in the atmosphere between 1945 and 1971, approximately half of this yield was caused by a fission reaction.

From black bears climbing perimeter fences to the northern lights triggering a state of total alertness, human incompetence has always been the weakest link in the nuclear chain of command.