Yellowstone County, Montana
Disaster & Emergency Services
Preparation Tips: Nuclear Attack Contact Department

Nuclear explosions can cause deadly effects - blinding light, intense heat (thermal radiation), initial nuclear radiation, blast, fires started by the heat pulse, and secondary fires caused by the destruction. They also produce radioactive particles called fallout that can be carried by wind for hundreds of miles.


What To Do Before a Nuclear or Radiological Attack:

  • Assemble and maintain a disaster supply kit with food, water, medications, fuel and personal items adequate for up to 2 weeks-the more the better.
  • Find out what public buildings in your community may have been designated as fallout shelters.
  • There are few public shelters in many suburban and rural areas. A basement, or any underground area, is the best place to shelter from fallout.


What To Do During a Nuclear or Radiological Attack:


  • Keep a battery-powered radio with you, listen for official information. Follow the instructions given.
  • Do not look at the flash or fireball- it can blind you.
  • If you are indoors and you are not told to evacuate, stay inside! Close doors and windows and your fireplace damper. Turn off air conditioner, ventilation fans, furnace and other air intakes (that pull in air from outside). Go to a basement or underground area (if possible).
  • If you are out doors and hear an attack warning - take cover as quickly as you can, Below Ground if Possible, and stay there unless instructed to do otherwise. If you are caught outside, unable to get inside immediately, cover your mouth and nose with a cloth or handkerchief, take cover behind anything that might offer protection. Lie flat on the ground and cover your head. If the explosion is some distance away, it could take 30 seconds or more for the blast wave to hit. Once inside, remove clothing, take a good shower and put on fresh clothing and different shoes. Put the clothes and shoes you were wearing in a plastic bag, seal it and store it out of the way! Local authorities can tell you what to do with them.
  • If you are in a vehicle, keep windows up, close vents, use "recirculation" air and listen to radio for updates.
  • Protect yourself from radioactive fallout. If you are close enough to see the brilliant flash of a nuclear explosion, the fallout will arrive in about 20 minutes.
  • Take shelter, even if you are many miles away from ground zero-radioactive fallout can be carried by the winds for hundreds of miles.


What To Do After a Nuclear or Radiological Attack:


  • In a public or home shelter, do not leave until local authorities tell you it is permissible or advisable to leave. The length of our stay can range from a day or two to four weeks.
  • Maintain sanitary conditions in your shelter.
  • Water and food may be scarce. Use them prudently but do not impose severe rationing, especially for children, the ill or elderly.
  • Cooperate with shelter managers. Living with many people in confined space can be difficult and unpleasant.
  • Keep listening to the radio for news about what to do, where to go, and places to avoid.



Create a Family Disaster Plan