We need to know what to do in a nuclear attack
LETTER TO THE EDITOR
I AM concerned about the lack of preparedness re nuclear warfare such as missiles that could hit Australia.
We need to know what to do and where to go for safety.
There is no time to sweep it under the mat because it may inflame someone's sensibilities.
Lives are at stake here and a weapon will not be selective of cultures.
The focus on political correctness is only creating further division between people in Australia - whether changing our historical events to please one lot, turning the cheek to another lot, doing away with Christmas teachings to appease another lot, we don't need it for preparedness.
The situation in the world today is terrifying and no one knows when they will be a victim.
The perpetrators are violent people and yet we are asked to get on with life as if nothing is happening.
Our governments and leaders need to help us to be ready for all kinds of disasters - not just fire and flood.
We need to know what to do for missile attacks too.
We cannot keep our heads in the sand and believe we cannot save lives because of the severity of the disaster.
Being ready and aware will save some of us.
We also need to realise the world scene includes Australia.
If Guam. America, UK and other countries are educating their people in this readiness for nuclear attack we are silly to not do so here.
I have found information at ready.gov./ and I will send it around in our next Neighbourhood Watch News, but we need our council to tell us what to do also for it to be helpful for the people in this Region.
Not next year - but now.
Since the end of the Cold War, the US government has been noticeably quiet on promoting these sorts of guidelines.
That's partly because the threat of nuclear annihilation suddenly seemed much less immediate now that the world's two largest nuclear powers had stopped pointing their missiles at each other.
It's also because few people probably believe any of those old-time recommendations would actually be useful in the event of a nuclear strike. But experts caution against that kind of thinking.
"There is a lot of fatalism on this subject, the feeling that there will be untold death and destruction and there is nothing to be done,” Irwin Redlener, director of Columbia University's National Center for Disaster Preparedness,told NBC News back in April.
"But the thing that is frustrating for me is that, with some very simple public messaging, we could save hundreds of thousands of lives in a nuclear detonation.”
In turns out the Guam guidelines are actually practical, offering the best chances of survival in the event of a nuclear strike. Here's what they say, in part:
Take shelter as soon as you can, even if you are many miles from ground zero where the attack occurred - radioactive fallout can be carried by winds for miles. Remember the three protective factors: distance, shielding and time.
If you were outside during or after the blast, get clean as soon as possible, to remove radioactive material that may have settled on your body.
Remove your clothing to keep radioactive material from spreading. Removing the outer layer of clothing can remove up to 90% of radioactive material.
If practical, place your contaminated clothing in a plastic bag and seal or tie the bag. Place the bag as far away as possible from humans and animals so that the radiation it gives off does not affect others.
When possible, take a shower with lots of soap and water to help remove radioactive contamination. Do not scrub or scratch the skin.
Wash your hair with shampoo, or soap and water. Do not use conditioner in your hair because it will bind radioactive material to your hair.
Gently blow your nose and wipe your eyelids with a clean wet cloth. Gently wipe your ears.
The US government has many of these guidelines at the website Ready.gov. The two most important safeguards are distance - being as far away from the blast as possible - and time. That means staying underground or in a shelter for up to two weeks while the radiation threat recedes.
Although the best option, of course, is to not have an attack at all.
Julia Lawrence OAM,