Guam’s Homeland Security fact sheet guides citizens on how to prepare for an imminent radioactive missile attack after North Korea made threats to launch a missile strike against the American island in the Western Pacific.
The guide comes as tensions have grown between North Korea and the United States as statements made by both sides are causing escalations made by North Korea to carry out a strike on the island.
The Guam Government’s primary points for citizens to remember was:
The more distance between you and the fallout particles, the better. A floor near the middle of a multi-story building is ideal. Flat roofs collect fallout particles so the top floor is not a good choice, nor is a floor adjacent to a neighboring flat roof.
The heavier and denser the materials – thick walls, concrete, bricks, books and earth – between you can the fallout particles, the better. If you have time, find plastic sheeting from your preparedness kit and cover doors, windows, and ventilation to keep as much of the fallout particles out of your home.
Fallout radiation loses its intensity fairly rapidly. In time, you will be able to leave a fallout shelter. Radioactive fallout poses the greatest threat to people during the first two weeks, by which time it has declined to about 1 percent of its initial radiation level.
Any protection, however temporary, is better than none at all, and the more shielding, distance and time you can take advantage of, the better. If you are driving, pull over to the side of the road and head to the nearest concrete shelter
Guam’s Government also told its 160,000 citizens to:
- Building an emergency supply kit
- Make a family emergency plan
- Make a list of potential concrete shelters near their home, workplace and school.
During an attack
- Listen for official information and follow instructions provided by emergency response personnel
- Take cover as quickly as they can, under concrete structure or below ground if possible, and stay there until instructed to do otherwise
- Find the nearest building, preferably built of brick or concrete, and go inside to avoid any radioactive material outside
- Inside is the safest place for all people in the impacted area. It can save your life
- Expect to stay inside for at least 24 hours unless otherwise told by authorities
If caught outside during an attack
- not look at the flash or fireball – It can blind you.
- 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.
- Take shelter as soon as possible, even if you are many miles from ground zero where the attack occurred – radioactive fallout can be carried by winds for miles.
- Remember the three protective factors: Distance, Shielding and Time.
- If you were outside during or after the blast, get clean as soon as possible, to remove radioactive material that may have settled on your body.
- Remove your clothing to keep radioactive material from spreading. Removing the outer layer of clothing can remove up to 90% of radioactive material.
- If practical, place your contaminated clothing in a plastic bag and seal or tie the bag. Place the bag as far away as possible from humans and animals so that the radiation it gives off does not affect others.
- When possible, take a shower with lots of soap and water to help remove radioactive contamination. Do not scrub or scratch the skin.
- Wash your hair with shampoo, or soap and water. Do not use conditioner in your hair because it will bind radioactive material to your hair.
- Gently blow your nose and wipe your eyelids and eyelashes with a clean wet cloth. Gently wipe your ears.
- If you cannot shower, use a wipe or clean wet cloth to wipe your skin that was not covered by clothing
After an attack
- Keep listening for official information about what to do, where to go and places to avoid
- Stay away from damaged areas, areas marked “radiation hazard” or “HAZMAT.” Remember that radiation cannot be seen, smelled or otherwise detected by human senses
I hope the residents of Guam never have to use this information. These are very scary times.
Stay prepared and survive.