Individual Preparedness and Response

How to survive a WMD attack

In the worst-worst case scenario that you experience a nuke explosion, dirty bomb, toxic chem attack or biological disaster, what should YOU do? The first ten minutes are crucial. Don’t “ask your local officials” as much advice to date has suggested. Do read this short booklet prepared by RAND, and prepare. You can print it out from the free PDF file (including handy 3-fold card reminder version), or if you need to distribute many copies to employees, neighbors, etc., you can order printed copies for $15 a piece.

I highly recommend reading the full version first (also available as a series of PDFs and/or a longer book) which gives the logic behind their suggestions and scenarios. This is the best practical advice I’ve yet seen for personally dealing with the consequences of an actual weapon of mass destruction in your neighborhood.

-- KK 01/30/04


There is no need to determine the location of the source or direction or speed of the chemical cloud. Technical evaluations indicate that such basic sheltering can reduce chemical exposure by 75 percent or more compared to the exposure outside the shelter. These results are consistent with the outcomes of the aerosolized sarin attack by the Aum Shinrikyo group in a residential area in Matsumoto, Japan, in June 1994. In that incident, all seven people who died had their windows open. All of those individuals who had closed their windows-including many people closer to the source, those in units adjacent to buildings in which fatalities occurred, and those on the lower floors of these buildings-survived the attack (Yanagisawa, 1995).

© 2022