This booklet tells you how to make your home and family as safe as possible under nuclear attack
If the country were ever faced with an immediate threat of nuclear war, a copy of this booklet would be distributed to every household as part of a public information campaign which would include announcements on television and radio and in the press. The booklet has been designed for free and general distribution in that event. It is being placed on sale now for those who wish to know what they would be advised to do at such a time.
If Britain is attacked by nuclear bombs or by missiles, we do not know what targets will be chosen or how severe the assault will be.
If nuclear weapons are used on a large scale, those of us living in the country areas might be exposed to as great a risk as those in the towns. The radioactive dust, falling where the wind blows it, will bring the most widespread dangers of all. No part of the United Kingdom can be considered safe from both the direct effects of the weapons and the resultant fall-out.
The dangers which you and your family will face in this situation can be reduced if you do as this booklet describes.
Read this booklet with care
If you live in a block of flats there are other
factors to consider. If the block is five stories high or
more, do not shelter in the top two floors. Make
arrangements now with your landlord for alternative
shelter accommodation if you can, or with your neighbours
on the lower floors, or with relatives or friends.
Bungalows and similar single-storey homes
will not give much protection. Arrange to shelter with
someone close by if you can do so.
If you live in a caravan or other similar accommodation which provides very little protection against fall-out your local authority will be able to advise you on what to do.
Still greater protection is necessary in the fall-out room, particularly for the first two days and nights after an attack, when the radiation dangers could be critical. To provide this you should build an inner refuge. This too should be thick-lined with dense materials to resist the radiation, and should be built away from the outside walls.
Here are some ideas:
1. Make a 'lean-to' with sloping doors taken from rooms above or strong boards rested against an inner wall. Prevent them from slipping by fixing a length of wood along the floor. Build further protection of bags or boxes of earth or sand - or books, or even clothing - on the slope of your refuge, and anchor these also against slipping. Partly close the two open ends with boxes of earth or sand, or heavy furniture.
2. Use tables if they are large enough to provide you all with shelter. Surround them and cover them with heavy furniture filled with sand, earth, books or clothing.
3. Use the cupboard under the stairs if it is in your fall-out room. Put bags of earth or sand on the stairs and along the wall of the cupboard. If the stairs are on an outside wall, strengthen the wall outside in the same way to a height of six feet.
Five essentials for survival in your Fall-out Room
1 Drinking Water
You will need enough for the family for fourteen days.
Each person should drink two pints a day - so for this
you will need three and a half gallons each.
Stock enough food for fourteen days.
3 Portable Radio and Spare Batteries
Your radio will be your only link with the outside world. So take a spare one with you if you can. Keep any aerial pushed in. You will need to listen for instructions about what to do after the attack and while you remain in your fall-out room.
4 Tin Opener, Bottle Opener, Cutlery and Crockery
5 Warm Clothing
And don't forget to take this booklet with you
These further items will also be useful in the Fall-out Room:
6. Bedding, sleeping bags
7. Portable stove and fuel, saucepans
8. Torches with spare bulbs and batteries, candles, matches
9. Table and chairs
10. Toilet articles soap, toilet rolls, bucket and plastic bags (see Sanitation)
11. Changes of clothing
12. First aid Kit - with household medicines and prescribed medicines. And at least aspirins or similar tablets, adhesive dressings, cotton wool, bandages, disinfectant, ointment, including 'Vaseline'
13. Box of dry sand, cloths or tissues for wiping plates and utensils
14. Notebook and pencils for messages
15. Brushes, shovels and cleaning materials, rubber or plastic gloves, dustpan and brush
16. Toys and magazines
17. Clock (mechanical) and calendar
You will need special sanitation arrangements because there will be no water to waste in lavatories.
Keep these items in the Fall-out Room:
Containers such as polythene buckets, fitted with covers and - if possible - improvised seats.
|Polythene bag linings for emptying the containers.|
|Strong disinfectant and toilet paper.|
Keep these items just outside the Fall-out Room:
A dustbin for the temporary storage of sealed bags of waste matter
|A second dustbin for food remains, empty tins and other rubbish|
If you have only one dustbin, use that for toilet waste only. Put all other rubbish in plastic bags or paper until you can take it outside the house.
As you plan the fall-out room and the inner refuge you
need also to limit as far as you can the dangers from
heat and blast to the rest of the house. Though the heat
could not ignite the bricks and stone of your home it
could set alight the contents by striking through
What you have read so far tells you how to prepare to
face a nuclear explosion.
THE ATTACK WARNING
When an air attack is expected the sirens will sound a
rising and falling note.
THE FALL-OUT WARNING
When there is danger from fall-out you will hear three loud bangs or three whistles in quick succession.
When the immediate danger from both air attack and fall-out has passed, the sirens will sound a steady note.
If you are at home you should:
At work or elsewhere
If you can reach home in a couple of minutes try to do
In the open
If you are in the open and cannot get home within a couple of minutes, go immediately to the nearest building. If there is no building nearby and you cannot reach one within a couple of minutes, use any kind of cover, or lie flat (in a ditch) and cover the exposed skin of the head and hands.
Light and heat from an explosion will last for up to twenty seconds, but blast waves may take up to a minute to reach you. If after ten minutes there has been no blast wave, take cover in the nearest building.
After a nuclear attack, there will be a short period before fall-out starts to descend. Use this time to do essential tasks. This is what you should do.
If the mains water is still available also replenish water reserves. Then turn off at mains.
Do not flush lavatories, but store the clean water they contain by taping up the handles or removing the chains
If the water supply is interrupted extinguish water heaters and boilers (including hearth fires with back boilers). Turn off all taps.
Check that you have got your survival kit at hand for the fall-out room. (See the list of survival items.)
If there is structural damage from the attack you may have some time before a fall-out warning to do minor jobs to keep out the weather using curtains or sheets to cover broken windows or holes.
If there is time, help neighbours in need, but listen for the fall-out warning and be ready to return to the fall-out room.
(Remember you may bear a fall-out warning without hearing an explosion.)
In the open
If you are out of doors, take the nearest and best available cover as quickly as possible, wiping all the dust you can from your skin and clothing at the entrance to the building in which you shelter.
All at home must go to the fall-out room and stay inside the inner refuge, keeping the radio tuned for Government advice and instructions.
Stay in your refuge
The dangers will be so intense that you may all need
to stay inside your inner refuge in the fall-out room for
at least forty-eight hours. If you need to go to the
lavatory, or to replenish food or water supplies, do not
stay outside your refuge for a second longer than is
Visits outside the house may at first be limited to a few minutes for essential duties. These should be done by people over thirty where possible. They should avoid bringing dust into the house, keeping separate stout shoes or boots for outdoors if they can, and always wiping them.
You may have casualties from an attack, which you will
have to care for, perhaps for some days, without medical
help. Be sure you have your first aid requirements in
your survival kit. (See the list
of survival items.)
On hearing the ALL-CLEAR
This means there is no longer an immediate danger from air attack and fall-out and you may resume normal activities.
Here is a check list, which reminds you of the actions
you must take to provide the protection outlined in this
Remember the Warning Sounds
THE ATTACK WARNING
When an air attack is expected, the sirens will sound
a rising and falling note.
THE FALL-OUT WARNING
When there is danger from fall-out you will hear three loud bangs or whistles in quick succession.
THE ALL CLEAR
When the immediate danger from both air attack and fall-out has passed. the sirens will sound a steady note.
This document is believed to be in
the public domain and was transferred to the Internet by
Last updated June 1999
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