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Nuclear Preparedness and Potential | Spokane, WA

  • Our nation and many people will survive any nuclear attack.  Americans are strong, optimistic, ingenious, and prayerful.  Should this country be attacked with nuclear weapons, many people will survive, stand back up, and continue living meaningful lives.  

  • One of the keys to avoiding nuclear war is maintaining a nuclear arsenal sufficient to convince a potential enemy that attacking the U.S. with a nuclear weapon would be suicidal.  That is why the U.S. has nuclear missile submarines, land-based nuclear missiles, and nuclear-capable aircraft....and is upgrading the Cold War-era nuclear force.  (Source:  Secretary of Defense Jim Mattis, speaking at Minot Air Force Base in North Dakota, "Defense chief says U.s. must keep all 3 parts of nuclear force," by Robert Burns, Associated Press, October 14, 2017)

  • The danger today is an attack from a "rogue nation" that develops a nuclear weapon.  The state is free right now to plan how to deal with the aftermath of a nuclear attack.  However, the law prevents planning for evacuation or relocation before such an attack, because that could be seen by an adversary as a prelude to a first strike, and prompting an enemy attack.  ("Nuclear war planning puts critics on edge," by Jim Camden, The Spokesman-Review, January 23, 2018) 

  • There are many reasons to prepare for a nuclear disaster.
    • Man has never invented a weapon which he has not used.
    • The threat of a nuclear disaster will always remain, because you cannot un-invent the nuclear bomb.

    • There is a potential for an accident transporting nuclear waste through Spokane.
    • There is a possibility of a terrorist gaining control of a nuclear device.
    • An unfriendly nation could become a potential nuclear power. 
    • Spokane would be a primary target because of our military structure and industry; however, our missile defense system is prepared to protect us.
    • Spokane could receive fallout from distant areas, blown here by the wind.  (Volcanic ash from the 1980 eruption of Mount St. Helens, WA which occurred at 9:45 am, traveled at 60 mph to Spokane, plunging us in darkness with visibility reduced to 10 feet by Noon.)
    • America’s security was penetrated by surprise once before, on 9-11.  
  • The citizens in Spokane are very fortunate to have easy access to an abundance of structures wherein survival of a nuclear attack is possible.  These structures consist of our many homes and businesses with basements.

    BE ADVISED.  Citizens cannot expect the local, state and federal governments to provide for their safety in a nuclear situation by providing adequate fallout shelters with food, water, medical supplies and shelter management for the 500,000 people who live in Spokane County. 

    People can easily prepare to shelter in their own homes, and replace fear with knowledge and preparation. Individuals, families and businesses can prepare in advance by learning how to secure a basement, how to cover windows and doors, and how to secure survival equipment. Unfortunately, this information is relatively unknown to the citizens in our community.  (See basic nuclear survival instructions below.)
  • Explosion.  When a nuclear bomb explodes, it will result in an enormous fireball, brilliant light (looking at it will damage your eyes), intense heat, and a thunder-like sound from the distant explosion.  

    A ground explosion will create a crater and suck up pulverized dirt which will be dangerously radioactive when it falls to the ground.  
  • Fallout Radiation. Nuclear fallout is the radioactive dust and ash propelled into the upper atmosphere after a nuclear weapon explodes, falling out of the sky after the explosion and the shock wave have passed.  The fallout radiation is extremely dangerous and can cause sickness.  Children and pregnant women (the fetus) are most likely to be hurt by radiation.  Older people, who understand it may take 20 years for them to develop cancer from radiation exposure, may choose to shelter the more vulnerable and do essential outdoor work themselves.

    People exposed to radiation do NOT become radioactive,
    or dangerous to other people.  Radiation sickness is not contagious or infectious.  One person cannot “catch it” from another person.   Early symptoms may appear in 1 or 2 days, such as headache, skin irritation, nausea, diarrhea, fatigue, high fever and chills.  Two people exposed to the same amount of radiation may not experience the same symptoms.

    A thyroid-blocking agent
    will prevent the released radioactive iodine from harming your thyroid.

  • Spokane's missile silos.  During the early 1960's, there were 9 underground missile sites within a 50-mile radius of Fairchild Air Force Base, which was on high alert.  Each site held an Atlas-E missile (ICBM's) armed with a 4-megaton nuclear warhead. 

  • Nuclear weapons remain a danger throughout the world.   Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netantahu warns that Iran is not only targeting Israel, but it has its sights set on the U.S., as well.  "They are building ICBM's to reach the American mainland in a few years.  They don't need these missiles to reach Israel.  They already have missiles that can reach us.  They have not yet reached it, but they are getting closer to it, and they have to be stopped."  ("Netanyahu's Warning," Face the Nation and CBN News, The 700 Club, July 2013) 

  • The range of Missiles:   Short-range 300 miles; Medium-range 800 miles; Intermediate-range 2,500 miles; and Intercontinental 5,600 to 6,000 miles. 

  • The U.S. atomic bomb attacks on Hiroshima (Aug. 6) and Nagasaki (Aug. 9, 1945) killed over 200,000 people, whether vaporized instantly or from fatal burns and radiation sickness. 
What You Can Do
  • If you fear a nuclear attack, replace your fear with preparation.  Without undue alarm, prepare a shelter in your basement which can support life for at least 2 weeks.  
  • Radiation is not the biggest problemstarvation is. 
    • Store enough water and food to keep you alive.  
    • Store medications
    • Store personal hygiene items, sanitation and first-aid items.  
    • Store a thyroid-blocking agent to prevent the released radioactive iodine from harming your thyroid.  
    • Store a source of light and air ventilation. 
    • Store a battery-operated radio with batteries, which may be useful. 
  • Be prepared to live in your shelter full-time for at least 3 days or longer, leaving it only a few hours a day to perform emergency tasks.  (Do not touch the fallout or track radioactive dust into your shelter.)   Thereafter, remain in the shelter part-time for an additional 2-3 weeks, returning to your shelter for sleeping.
  • When outdoors, keep covered with clothing, glasses and a hat; cover your nose; and brush any falling ash off of your skin to avoid Beta burns.  
  • There are 3 ways to minimize exposure to radiation in the event of a nuclear attack:
TIME.   Seek shelter underground immediately.  After the radiation has fallen, it will decay quite rapidly at first, losing its strength; however, that decrease gets slower with time.  

DISTANCE.   Go into a basement, and remain as far away from fallout as possible.

SHIELDING.   Put as much heavy, dense material between you and the fallout (concrete, bricks, dirt, books, and furniture) which will absorb the radioactive Gamma rays.    

Additional Resources
Spokane County Emergency Communications
(509) 477-3006 or 477-2204

Emergency Preparedness and Response
Spokane Regional Health District
(509) 323-2847

Inland Northwest Emergency and Disaster Preparedness
(509) 477-7610

Nuclear Fallout (wikipedia)