Special Report

What to Do Before, During, and After a Nuclear Attack

In mid-July, New York City issued a public service video announcement advising residents what to do in case of a nuclear attack. Local news reports said the PSA was not made because of an impending threat, which is fortunate: A 2021 Global Strategy Group survey created to assess New Yorkers’ level of preparedness for emergency situations found that just 12% of those surveyed said they were ready for “a radiological incident, such as a dirty bomb.” (This is what a nuclear attack would do to America’s 25 largest cities.)

Since Russia invaded Ukraine in February, the fear that nuclear weapons will be used has increased, particularly after Russian leaders raised that ominous prospect if they believe the West is getting too involved in the conflict. (These are the countries that control the world’s nuclear weapons.)

To determine what Americans should do to prepare for nuclear war, 24/7 Wall St. reviewed a list of recommendations from the Centers For Disease Control and Prevention on how people can protect themselves and their families before, during, and after a nuclear blast.

For Baby Boomers, the New York PSA was a reminder of the civil defense video “Duck and Cover” that was distributed to schools in the 1950s. It advised students to duck under their desks during a nuclear attack and cover their heads and necks. In the New York PSA, the instructions call for people to get inside a building and move away from windows; stay inside and remove outer clothes and shower with soap or shampoo; and stay tuned for government information.

Click here to see what Americans should do to prepare for nuclear war.

The 24/7 Wall St. list is more comprehensive, taking you through key steps before, during, and after a nuclear attack.

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