Although the Cold War is over, nuclear weapons are still very much a real and present threat. So, if there was to be a nuclear attack today, what would be the chances of survival, and how might one protect against the initial blast, and subsequent fallout?
While human instinct is to flee attack, the best chances of survival are in waiting out any nuclear incidents below ground. Unless you are fortunate enough to live in Switzerland or Finland, it’s unlikely your domicile will be fitted with an atomic shelter as standard. Seek out a basement, local shelter or any building with reinforced concrete walls and roof. Or, if you have some money to play with, consider investing in a survival shelter, for around $40,000. These home-from-homes are essentially giant, metal canisters sunken into the ground, and come equipped with ventilation, working bathrooms, and even solar power. Disclaimer: masterminding a nuclear shelter is not always compatible with interior design or taste, and practicality will always trump taste in the survival stakes
Most of the equipment you need to survive in the immediate aftermath of a nuclear attack is probably available in your local supermarket. While this might seem to put supermarket employees at a distinct advantage as far as survival is concerned, the flimsy corrugate construction of your common-or-garden retail park purveyor does level the playing field somewhat. When shopping for the apocalypse, forget delicious perishables like bacon and eggs; when you’re on basic rations, that tin of rice pudding really will seem like ambrosia. Dry goods like rice, pasta, oats, beans and noodles are the perfect basis for post-nuclear nourishment, with dried fruit & veg, honey, sugar and powdered milk as little luxuries (though not all at once). All this will mean very little if you have no water available to you, so be sure to stash enough for one gallon per day, per family member.
Unless you want to go cabin crazy, you’ll need to find a way of keeping in touch with what remains of civilisation. A hand-cranked radio might just be the ticket. While there are probably apps for nuclear survival, keep an old mobile phone and charger in your bunker: the battery life lasts longer, and your score on Angry Birds will no longer seem so important when you’re fighting over the last kidney bean.