The threat of nuclear war seems like a distant possibility, but as long as there are nuclear weapons—some of them held by nations which are unstable at best—there is always a chance that it could happen. The most terrifying possibility is that a rogue state launches one or two intercontinental missiles and the larger nuclear powers, perhaps fearing repercussions from their perceived enemies, follow suit. But if a major nuclear power engages in the exchange of these weapons of almost unbelievable destructive potential, it won’t be limited to one or two missiles, but likely hundreds, if not thousands.
Could anyone even survive a nuclear war of that magnitude? The answer is a subject of intense debate, but if it can be survived at all, it will be by those who are prepared for just such an event. Living near a large city, military installation, or dense population center would be an almost certain death sentence. If you are lucky enough to live someplace that won’t see the immediate effects of a nuclear exchange, you’ll still need extensive planning and preparation to survive.
You’ll need more than luck—you’ll need a plan. If the building you’re in when the skies light up is still standing after the worst of it, it won’t be safe to go outside for at least a couple of days, probably longer. You should already have food, water, and medical supplies on hand.
You’ll want to stock up on nonperishable food, things that can last for several years without refrigeration, and you’ll need a cool, dry, pest-free place to store them. Your best bets are things like rice, oatmeal, and beans, which are compact and full of carbohydrates. You’ll probably want to add some sugar and honey, both for flavoring and for caloric value for when you might need extra energy.
The thing you’ll need more of than anything else is water—about a gallon per person, per day. You’ll want to store it in food-grade plastic containers, and it would be handy to keep bleach and potassium iodide on hand to purify water after you run out. You’ll also want to research ways to filter water—when you do run out, the water you’ll be able to access will likely need it.
For medical supplies, you’ll want a basic first aid kit with sterile gauze and bandages, surgical tape, latex gloves, scissors, tweezers, some kind of antibiotic ointment, and a blanket. You’ll also want some first aid training or access to helpful manuals, and if you need prescription medication, try to have an emergency supply stockpiled.
Though this is just the beginning, it should help get you through the early days after an attack.
To your survival,