Say it’s actually happened. A nuclear explosion in a major urban area. It’s Independence Day in real life, and the President didn’t think he had another option. You’re in a makeshift shelter (a cast-iron tub, maybe), and you know there’s a basement with thick concrete walls nearby. Radioactive fallout is on its way. Do you stay or do you go?
- The longer you stay outside, the higher your radiation dose -- but the environmental radiation intensity also decreases over time.
- Your total dose is a function of when you step outside, your distance from the detonation, how long you run before you reach better shelter, and how much shielding you get from the local environment while you’re out there.
- The critical number is: the ratio of the time you spend hunkering down in your first shelter to the time you spend moving to the high-quality shelter.
- If you’re in a poor-quality shelter -- and you know there’s an adequate shelter within 5 minutes away -- run to the better one immediately.
- If you’re in a poor-quality shelter -- and an adequate one is 15 minutes away -- you can stay where you are, but wait no more than 30 minutes after the detonation. Then run.
This post was originally published on Smartplanet.com