If a nuke explodes in D.C., what will you do? It may be a frightening question to ask, but it could also very well be a commonsense one as well. Washington, D.C. is considered the center of not only American politics, but world politics. Leaders from all around the world flock to D.C. for any number of reasons. It is the epicenter of power for world affairs and politics. With this in mind, it truly does beg the question: if a nuke exploded in Washington, D.C., what would happen?
Recently, President Barack Obama said, “Russia is a regional power that is threatening some of its immediate neighbors,” Obama said. “I continue to be much more concerned when it comes to our security with the prospect of a nuclear weapon going off in Manhattan.” He made this comment as the Russian takeover of Crimea was at its peak. So if the President of the United States thinks this is a cold reality, it certainly is a question worth asking.
The docu-drama the “Last Best Chance” provides insight of how a nuclear weapon can fall in the hands of rogue state agents or terrorists themselves. In the film, a group of Somalians bribe a South African nuclear scientist and sneak the bomb into the United States through the US-Canadian border, the White House then struggles to find the weapon but by then, it may be too late.
So what exactly should you do in case of a nuclear explosion? According to the National Capital Region Key Response Planning Factors for the Aftermath of Nuclear Terrorism, these are simple measures you can take to survive a nuclear aftermath:
1. Do not immediately get into a vehicle and attempt to drive away.
2. Unless you’re within about a third to a half a mile radius of ground zero and the shelter options are poor, it is in your best interest to find a stable location inside a well-built apartment or office building. These structures will remain standing outside that half mile radius zone, and stay there for 24 hours.
A. Take immediate shelter, the fallout will come down on you quickly.
B. Wait about an hour.
C. Walk about a half-dozen blocks laterally until you find buildings that are intact.
3. The electromagnetic pulse will knock out some, but not all, of the communication capabilities.
4. Seeking shelter in a single-family home lowers the possibility of dying from the blast or its radioactive aftermath, which can cause cancer and other deadly illnesses.
5. First responders should not put on radiation gear that may interfere with the rescue mission. Therefore, normal gear is preferred in order to facilitate a quick response.
6. Most people will die from the initial blast, but it is important to understand what you can do to avoid further injury in case that you survive.
7. The Dangerous Fallout Zone (DFZ) will reach as much as 20 miles. Though keep in mind that the weather (wind and rain) will play an important role in the spread of radiation to areas outside of the DFZ.
8. Be wary of broken glass, fallen trees and dismantled electrical wires that may have fallen from the blast or due to civilian panic.
In sum, there are things that citizens can do to avoid further nuclear harm by being aware of what they can do if they survive the initial nuclear blast. However, keep in mind that a nuclear bomb getting into the wrong hands is HIGHLY unlikely due to preventive measures that the international community have enacted overtime, but even at its minimal risk, it is the top worry on the mind of the leader of the free world.