Nuclear War Won’t Be Like Hollywood Portrays It- Part 3, by 3ADscout

If you believe the Hollywood hype, you are probably like many people (prepper or not) who don’t even bother to prepare for nuclear attack and hope that you go quick if it happens. Yet, with some basic knowledge and pre-planning, you can survive.

We are taking a look at what is required to do this. In parts 1 and 2, we took a look at radiation basics and principles of protection as well as Geiger counter/meters, home construction, shelters, and shelter living. Let’s continue to discuss what can be done to prepare for survival.


Your shelter area should also have an area where you can decontaminate, if possible. This area should be covered with plastic or traps, so that any contamination can be taken outside.

This decontamination (decon) area should be away from the entrance of your shelter area. Also, just like your shelter area, you should know your decon area’s background radiation level and document this.

Contamination Survey

Have pre-printed contamination survey forms, so that you can record where the contaminate is, what its readings were, et cetera. You can probably find these forms online.

Please note that surveying someone for radiological contamination is a very slow and tedious process. The person conducting the survey should be in a Tyvek suit with hood, use a gas mask or at the very least an N95 mask, gloves, and boots. If/when you find a location of contamination, mark it on the form and keep going. Once the initial survey is done, now you can start the decontamination process.

Decontamination Process

The start of any decontaminate process should be the removal of the outside layer of clothing. This should remove 90% of the contamination of the person. If the person is wearing a mask, they should keep it on during the doffing of their outside layer of clothing. Taking clothes off over one’s head should also be avoided, since the contaminated particles may fall into the person’s hair or elsewhere and move back onto their body. Have a pair of EMT shears at your decon site to cut away the other layer of clothing.

Tack Mats

You can also buy or make your own “tack mats”. Tack mats are used to remove contaminates from the bottom of footwear. They are commercially available and relatively inexpensive, but you can make your own with the help of duct tape folded back onto itself with the adhesives side out. This won’t work as well as a purchased tack mat, but it will work. Put the tape onto your tarp or plastic and have the person step onto it.

Further Decon Steps

Here are a few ways to further decon. One, you can use water. In my opinion using clean water to decon after a nuclear explosion is a waste of a vital limited resource. Instead, I use lint rollers that can be rolled over the area of contamination. If you don’t have lint rollers, you can use a piece of duct tape that is folded over so that the adhesive part is on the outside and blot that over the area of contamination. In the “old days” a hand broom or whisk was used to brush off the area where the contamination was. I don’t recommend that since you are just moving the contamination to the ground, which still has to be dealt with. However, if all you have is a broom, use it. Remember that removing our outer clothing will achieve 90% decon.

Head and Hands

The area that will not be decontaminated are the head and hands. Hair is the archenemy of decon. You should have the means to cut hair (without power) to help facilitate the decon process if needed.

Re-Survey For Contamination

Once the areas that showed contamination are decontaminated, have the person move forward and re-survey them for contamination. Remember if their clothes and/or hair are on the tarp/plastic, you want to be away from those to do the second reading. Repeat the process until the contamination is removed. If you can not remove it after two or three attempts, you may want to try water or consider it as possible internal. Do not exclude the person from your shelter, if you are convinced that the person has internal contamination.

After Decon is Complete

After the decon is complete, take the used tack mats and lint roller material or duct tape and place these in a plastic garbage bag in a place away from the shelter area. Placing them in a metal garbage can is also a good idea, if one is available. When it is safe to leave your shelter, which should be no longer than two weeks and maybe sooner depending upon where you live, take the contaminated waste out of your basement and bury it in a marked location.

When You Leave Your Shelter

When you leave your shelter, make sure everyone still has a dosimeter that reads m/R. Your immediate area should be surveyed for “hot spots” or locations that have heavier levels of radiation. These locations should be marked with barrier tape so everyone avoids those areas. As you go beyond your immediate area, ensure you treat the ***odds???***odds areas as possibly contaminated. Make sure you wear at least an N95 mask, since after two weeks the main threat will be alpha and beta particles that can be kicked up like dust.


Packaged food will be safe to eat as long as you decon the package or open it inside to avoid contaminating the food. Again, there are older Civil Defense films available on YouTube that explain this and demonstrate it in greater detail.

Post-Shelter Living

I’ll stress again that your preparations before the nuclear explosion are what will determine your survival. A shelter full of number ten cans is finite.

Protect Livestock and Feed

You must be prepared, like Noah, to live life post-flood. Protecting livestock and livestock feed is essential. Chickens are extremely radiation resistant compared to humans. Keeping chickens away from internal sources of radiation will allow them to continue to procreate and be a source of safe food.

Protect Garden Soil

Can you protect your garden soil by placing plastic or tarps over it? Can you at least do it over raised beds? You won’t be able to keep 100% of the fallout out of the food system, but the more you can, the better.

Grow Inside Greenhouse

Can you grow inside a greenhouse? This would reduce the fallout from rain into your plants.

Materials To Make Repairs To Buildings

You will also want to make sure you have materials to make repairs to your buildings. Windows that are blown out will allow fallout to enter your home. Have plastic or plywood ready to put up if time allows to reduce contamination in your home.

Nuclear War, Telegraphed

Many believe that nuclear war will come without warning. That is like saying war, in general, could happen without warning. I believe that history will show that war is always telegraphed. There is always something that precipitates war. With a nuclear war one could probably safely assume that some type of conventional armed conflict between nuclear armed nations or their key allies would occur before nukes start flying. That is not to say there couldn’t be a nuclear Pearl Harbor, where an adversary launches a preemptive nuclear strike against the U.S. However, again, there would be something that would precipitate that action.

In the past, trade wars have been the fuses for shooting wars. If you are an avid reader of current events, you can see that as sanctions and tariffs are put in place the more saber rattling there is.

Soviet Doctrine To Use An EMP Attack To Blind Before Nuclear Weapons

Recently Putin stated that the threat of nuclear war was higher than it was during the Cold War. Some people might called that a clue! It was Soviet Doctrine in the Cold War to use an EMP attack to “Blind” our military and the launch their nuclear weapons while our command and control systems were down or degraded. There is much talk about EMP attacks on the U.S., but I see very little if any discussion that an EMP attack could very well be the opening salvo of something much bigger. If you believe an EMP attack has occurred, I would immediately assume that a possible nuclear attack will follow.

Don’t Let Hollywood Brainwash You Into Setting Yourself Up To Die Needlessly

Like everything preppers do, the planning, preparedness, and skills will be what allows us to survive hard times. Don’t let Hollywood movies brainwash you into believing that you cannot survive a nuclear war. Most people will survive the initial blast. It is being prepared to survive the next two weeks of very high radiation levels that will be challenging to most. If you happen to believe the Hollywood myths and don’t prepare to survive the radiation, you are only setting yourself up to die needlessly of some type of cancer or radiation poisoning.

See Also:

SurvivalBlog Writing Contest

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  1. 3ADscout, overall, I really enjoyed this three-part article. I would like to have seen some citations for your sources, though. In particular, what/who are you citing for the soviet doctrine and EMP? I’d like to read that.

    1. MuddyKid,

      Sorry for not including any citations but after college I never wanted to do that again! He is one source on the EMP attack via Russia/Soviets as a precursor attack:

      “During the Cold War, the Defense Department assume that A Soviet nuclear EMP attack would be part of a much larger, massive nuclear strike that would donate thousands of words to blast you asked military bases in industrial centers. In the context of such a large scale nuclear apocalypse, hardening of the civilian critical infrastructure’s against EMP made little sense, as the infrastructure is in everything else would be destroyed by nuclear blast affects anyway. From: “Civil-Military Preparedness For an Electromagnetic Pulse Catastrophe”. By Dr. Peter Vincent Pry. My copy does not have an ISBN number or anything else.

      1. Thanks for quote and title 3ADscout. I was able to look it up. The word “assume” in the opening sentence sets the tone. I have not read this work yet, but I am a bit skeptical this was actually soviet doctrine. I will read further and thanks again!

  2. This has been an awesome series. Thank you 3ADscout.

    Folks, hard-to-find information such as this can save our loved ones. This is why we must support SurvivalBlog.

    ‘For where your treasure is, there will your heart be also.’ Matthew 6:21

  3. The major problem I see is the need for a “underground refuge” Here in Arizona basements are hard to find. I’n in the process of trying to find a cave as this could suffice.( Also I seem to look favorable on the “hermit” lifestyle.)

  4. I haven’t seen any unclassified analyses of current Russian Nuclear Doctrine, but there are some old articles on Soviet Nuclear Doctrine that are available on the Internet. One is a declassified 1973 CIA Office of Research report entitled “Soviet Nuclear Doctrine”. Another is a chapter in a book entitled “Chapter Five, Soviet Views of Nuclear Warfare: The Post-Cold War Interviews” by John Battilega.

    A quick internet search should locate both.

    For most of the US the spectre of nuclear fallout is just that, a potential cloud rather than a realistic expectation.

    The SALT II and Start Treaties have reduced readily available nuclear warhead counts to 1550 for both the US and Russia. China hasn’t built up to that level yet, and Pakistan/India are focused on each other.

    Given a short term limit on warheads of 1550, the need to retain some warheads for second strikes, and the need to account for other nuclear powers (UK, France and China), it is a reasonable assumption that no more than 500-750 warheads would be allocated to US targets in a Russian first strike.

    Would the Russians execute a Counterforce or a Countervalue strategy in their First Strike?
    Allocating a warhead each to the 400+ Minuteman III silos sucks up the majority of Russian warheads, and may hit empty silos anyway. This Counterforce strategy produces significant fallout on the Upper Midwest and Upper Mideast, with correspondingly less fallout in the Southwest and Southeast.

    Allocating one warhead each to the top 500 US cities and the remainder to hard targets produces a significantly different pattern of fallout across the US.

    1. Old paratrooper – the problem with the counter force or counter value strike that you describe is it leaves all the sub-launched nukes in play. Until the Russians or Chinees figure out how to take them out we remain at detente. The scary thing is Russia has a very keen interest in the North Pole for some reason. I suspect that reason has all to do with our subs.

      1. Not at all. SLBM are counterforce targets just like the Minuteman IIIs and bombers. A “Bolt out of the Blue” Counterforce attack would likely use Sub Launched Nuclear Cruise Missiles to take out the two sub bases and account for 50-75% of the SLBM force in the opening salvo. Along with DC and the Federal Relocation Arc facilities. And probably the GMD Missile Defense sites, since they are either on or close to the ocean, including the Upgraded Early Warning Radars (Clear AK, Thule Gr, Beale CA, Fylingdales UK, and Cape Cod MA). My bet would be nukes on everything but Fylingdales, which would receive several non-nuke cruise missiles in an attempt to keep the UK out of the nuclear action.

        The real question in a Counterforce strike equation is whether the President would launch he Minuteman ICBMs on warning or not. The NORAD Attack Assessment Staff would be in hyperdrive trying to analyze the incoming attack, and provide options to STRATCOM and the President. If the incoming strike is aimed at Minuteman silos, the President either uses them or loses them.

        And the Russian attack sub force would be tasked with taking out the 2-4 SSBNs at sea.

  5. May I suggest a paper copy of “Nuclear War Survival Skills” by Cresson Kearney. Buy it. Read it. Understand it. Other good O.R.N.L. information listed in it.

    My two cents worth…

  6. Many years ago while reading an official US Army War Manual I remember the last discussion involved operations on the battle field during a Nuclear Detonation. After finding a ditch or low point and covering your self with your Rain Poncho, the last line in the book read “After the all clear is given, rise and proceed with the mission. That just about says it all!

  7. Just wondering, what if our nuke power plants are targeted? How does that change the survival strategy? I would think most of the US would be uninhabitable. I guess the same goes for an emp attack and lack of power that would cause meltdowns. Im pretty sure this type of contamination would have much longer half life as well. Please advise.

  8. Will any intelligent enemy use an EMP attack before a full scale nuclear attack? Of course not. You might as well tweet that you are planning on attacking them. An EMP device IS a nuclear attack and will be responded to as such. Except for terrorists/terrorism an EMP is strategically useless or worse. EMP is simply the latest buzzword or scare word. It is a terrible weapon and a ludicrous first strike weapon.

    1. I think that EMP attack would be almost at the same time. Black out the radars and then fire the missiles. At least try to disrupt the U.S. command and control. Also, I agree with the other comments on reading Nuclear War Survival Skills and The Good News About Nuclear Destruction (and some of the attached document links.)

      I commend the author for this series of articles but I think this is a really big and complicated topic, actually the biggest of any survival problem. At the very basic you need to understand fallout protection factor of shelters in regards to your location to the probable targets in your area, expected fallout dose rates at your location in a worst case scenario, as well as fallout decay rates. Most of this you’ll have to figure for yourself based on available documents. How long will you be in that shelter? What will the dose rate be when you emerge? Good luck!

      1. Black out the radar with a nuclear attack that does not disable our ability to strike back! That is your idea of an effective nuclear attack. The problem(s) with an EMP attack is it IS a nuclear attack and we will respond with nuclear weapons. It is an incredibly stupid move by the enemy. It is the equivalent in a fight of spitting in your opponents face before a punch is thrown. It is a waste of the opportunity to make a first strike and thus stand a better chance of actually succeeding.

  9. Are there any practical ways of protecting large livestock such as horses, cows, sheep and pigs from fallout? I thought about this over the years with not a lot of answers that seem practical.

    1. You’ll have to bring them into your basement/bomb shelter as well. They will need food/water and places to urinate/deficate. It will be painstaking to keep large animals around but might be worth it due to nuclear contamination after the strike.

    2. Government Livestock Fallout Shelter Plans
      [Blog Entry]
      Discussion in ‘Livestock’ started by cowboyhermit, Dec 12, 2013.
      Plan for bunker type fallout shelter for beef cattle
      (probably would want to strengthen for 3ft of earth on top )

      Defense Against Radioactive Fallout on The Farm – By Richard A. Fleetwood
      By Richard A. Fleetwood – May 2009

      Report Number: Farmers’ Bulletin No. 2107
      Publisher: United States. Department of Agriculture
      Date: 1958-05
      Copyright: Public Domain
      Retrieved From: FEMA Learning Resource Center:
      Format: pdf
      Media Type: application/pdf

      I have been told that a rich man from Saudi Arabia bought a horse farm in Marion County FL, back in the 1980s. He had a special earth bermed stable built for his race horses, to protect them from fallout. I’ve never seen it or any pictures of it, great OPSEC, but enough folks have told me about it’s existence for me to believe it to be true. It is kind of ironic, a quarter million people would die from lack of shelter, but this man and his race horses would survive.

      If you had an earth bermed winter shelter with a couple of feet of dirt on top, you could probably do some kind of gabion structure across the front, or maybe just a lot of water barrels, making sure that you can’t directly look into the shelter???

      earth berm pig shelter cuts pig feed costs
      (YouTube Video)
      paul wheaton
      Published on Apr 12, 2011
      Duration 6:06

      sepp holzer root cellar / underground animal shelter
      (YouTube Video)
      paul wheaton
      Published on Jul 3, 2011
      Duration 1:10

      Primitive Pole Barn for $93
      (YouTube Video)
      Published on Jan 29, 2017
      Duration 8:24

  10. I would be as worried about the nuke plants melting down due to the lack of power as I would the nuclear attack itself. Not sure what to do about that one.

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