Picture this: you are sitting on the hotel’s patio, sharing a breakfast with the love of your life. Hawaii truly makes for a beautiful honeymoon destination. You both agree, rehashing your plans for the day. Suddenly, both of your phones buzz. “Weird” – you think, as you simultaneously reach for your phones. “BALLISTIC MISSILE THREAT INBOUND TO HAWAII. SEEK IMMEDIATE SHELTER. THIS IS NOT A DRILL.” So, umm… what do you do now? (Feel free to leave your creative replies to this scenario in the comments.)
This actually just happened last weekend. I am sure that my American readers all heard about it, but people from other countries might have not. For all those unaware – the above text was sent out to everyone in the state of Hawaii, but it turned out to be an “error”. No missile was headed towards Hawaii. A happy ending. At least this time.
Such error also occurred in Japan just a couple of days after the false alarm in Hawaii.
Then, less than a week after the above mentioned incident, I read about an asteroid coming towards Earth at a speed 15 times faster than “world’s quickest manned aircraft”. Are you curious how fast that is? Oh, only 67,000 mph, or 107,826 kmh. Thankfully, it is now believed that it will miss our planet, when it cruises by on February 4th. NASA says that if it was to hit us, it would cause a mini ice-age scenario that would take several years to get over.
These events made me realize something that I did not really want to believe. Namely, that if a catastrophe on such a big scale was going to happen, I might not survive. My loved ones might not make it. No matter how survival savvy I would like to think I am. We think about potential threats every day; be it an illness, a car crash, or a robbery gone wrong, but we push the major disaster scenarios away, due to the low likelihood of them actually happening.
All this made me feel really vulnerable. Perishable. You and I could be gone just like this. *snaps fingers* All sorts of mortality start creeping in. Enjoy the little things in life. Appreciate the important people in your life. Make it known to them how crucial they are to you. Soak up nature when you get the chance. Laugh. Dance in the rain. Enjoy a snowball fight. Write. Read. Learn. Do it all today, because tomorrow might not be here.
In the spirit of nuclear attacks, I would like to share with you some basic survival tips in case you find yourself in the situation from paragraph 1 of this post. I hope you do not. I hope we all die peacefully in our sleep. Or live forever.
- Do not look at the bright flash of the explosion. It could temporarily blind you.
- If you are outside, run, get on the ground and cover your head in preparation for the blast.
- After the flash, expect a loud bang and heavy winds.
- Once the winds are down, you have 15-20 mins to get inside to minimize the radioactive effects.
- Waiting it out in a car will not help you. Wooden houses are not the best, either. Look for concrete. Lots and lots of concrete. Ideally with no windows. Go as far below ground as you can.
- Once inside, remove your clothes (and put them in a zip lock bag) and take a shower, or wipe your body with a washcloth (do not forget the hair). Do not use conditioner, as that will make the radiation particles stick to your hair. Plain soap is fine. Do not forget to blow your nose, wipe your eyes and ears, as well.
- Be prepared to stay inside for AT LEAST two days. Hawaian state officials say two weeks might be needed.
- The attack might destroy your electronics. Your basic “to do” – unplug your electronics from the wall. That reminds me… I should look for that solar powered radio…
- Hopefully, you have bottled water and canned goods to keep you alive for a bit
While I was further researching these topics I stumbled upon some interviews with Hiroshima survivors, which you can read here. Truly incredible.
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