Trapping Food When You’re On The Go

Re-posted from MDSA

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Some traps bought as a teenager for my first trapline at 15. Victory No.2 double coil spring on the left, 110 Conibear, center, and a Victory No.1 single leaf spring, right. 

Over the years I’ve had a number of people ask me what I suggested for trapping in an “On the move, supplies on my back” survival scenario. My usual suggestions are snares if you are travelling very light (example, in the smock kit), and at least four 110 Conibears body hold traps (one for each of the cardinal directions) along with snares if you are carrying a rucksack. Although snares will do their job well if you set them correctly, they also are “one time use” if the animal tears them up. The 110 Conibear will work again and again and again for decades if taken care of.

One of the best ways I’ve found to carry my Conibear traps is by using a mil issue SAW pouch. The SAW pouch was originally designed to carry a 200 round squad automatic weapon (SAW) plastic drum/box, and I have found that it will conveniently carry four 110 Conibear traps, some snares, trap building gear (wood screws, nails, wire, twine and heavy staples) and even a bottle of lure if you want.

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Four brand new Conibear traps placed in a SAW pouch for a new ruck kit. Note how they fit perfectly in the SAW pouch with some room to spare.

My Buddy Bergmann normally uses a British bergan ruck, and at 3:45 in this video, he shows where/how he carries his Conibears in his bergan. One of the advantages I see in carrying your traps in it’s own specific pouch (like the SAW pouch), is your ability to take that pouch off of your ruck, attach it to your LBE/LBV, belt, etc., and go out to run your small trapline while leaving your ruck stashed and camouflaged.

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I’ve had the top trap for 32 years, the bottom one is brand new. 

My trapping experiences and targets as a kid were primarily raccoon, fox and muskrat. We didn’t have much in the way of mink in our area at the time, and there weren’t any coyotes here (DNR imported them from out West in the mid 90’s) yet. Squirrels (one of your primary target animals for food) are harder to trap than muskrat, but easier to trap than coons (in my experience). Learning the art of trapping is a great survival skill that could serve you well if you end up in a post SHTF scenario.

One of the most important things about trapping is the need to actually get out and do it. Watching a youtube video to learn the theory and basic techniques is great, but it’s only about a third (I’m being very generous) of the “successful trapping” equation. A good place for the novice to start is Dave Canterbury’s “Modern Trapping Series“. Below is one of Canterbury’s videos on prepping and use of the 110 Conibear trap, and here is another.

The last dozen 110’s I bought, I purchased through Amazon (convenient), here’s the link. Now is the time to get your trapping kit squared away then go out and learn how to use it. As far as I know, trapping is legal in all 50 states. The requirement might be to buy a $5 trappers permit with your hunting license, or it might require that you take a “Trapper’s” course which is similar to the “Hunter Safety Course”. Check your state requirements, get squared away, and get out and practice.

JCD

American by BIRTH, Infidel by CHOICE

Another SHTF Reality From Selco

Reposted from MDSA

Selco gives us some reality about a typical “Tacticool” SHTF day. Reality is a bitch, and being able to trade is an important survival skill.

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Ordinary Day’

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A lot of people wonder what an ‘ordinary day’ was like during the SHTF. I was thinking on this and remembered this day. I think it is a good illustration and answers this question… It’s odd to say but we were often glad of ‘ordinary days’ when not to bad things happened…

 

Rain was falling down for days, and we all felt wet and soaked with it.

Moisture was in our pores, our clothes, and kinda in our heads too.

It was kind of weather that pushes down and back the smoke from your stove, back to your room instead of through the chimney.

Holes in our roof were plugged, more or less, in the way that we managed to “channel” leaks  into numerous pots and canisters, in order to keep ourselves dry and also to collect water.

Being dirty is bad, but being dirty and smelly during several days of rainy weather is simply awful.

We dried our clothes above the stove, evaporation of dirty clothes together with smell of dirty bodies, bad “tobacco” (we “discover” some new tree leaves which we used as a substitute for tobacco), handmade oil lamps  and tea boiling on stove (we called it sometimes ‘soup’, other times ‘tea’)  made a mixture of smells which simply added to the depression of the whole situation.

In days like that alcohol intake would go up high.

When weather was fine I liked to go on second floor, remove tarp and plywood “setup” from roof hole that was made with mortar shell few months before, sit under it, watch the blue sky and drink.

Other folks would say “he is up there again waiting for mortar shell to land on his head” but it was nice and peaceful to do it, and sometimes I just did not care.

Even that weird relaxation was out of the option because of the endless rain.

In days like that we were closest to animals as we could be.

We ate potatoes for days, we managed to get it through one UN convoy that somehow entered city month ago, and it was mess to get those bags of potatoes because while UN forces tried to organized some kind of delivery system- like small bag of potatoes to each family that show up-folks simply overrun them and started to fight each other over it.

Several people get killed then, but we managed to bring home quite a stash of it.

We were happy because of the potatoes, but few days later rumors exploded that potatoes that we get were poisoned, actually it was not for human use, it was meant for seed only, or something like that and apparently they were treated with very hard chemicals.

We continued to eat it, only difference was that we were not so happy anymore about it…

And then a trade chance came to us.

It was my turn to go to visit the guy who “had some stuff for sell-trade” or at least it was information that we get it.

Good thing about this guy was the fact that I knew him little bit prior SHTF, when SHTF he had strong connections and simply had interesting stuff from time to time. He was something like “trustful” trader, he kept his stuff in his house and did trades there, which usually meant either he is stupid or very protected, and he was not stupid.

“Gogo” was his nickname, and we felt good because we are going to trade with him, because his reputation was pretty big and he (we thought) could not afford too many bad stories about trading with him.

It was as safe a trade as it could be in those days.

My relative show me our possession for trade while we were preparing for trip-it was 10 packs of Kent cigarettes, and when I saw that, it was like I saw UFO landing in backyard, with aliens bringing to us food, water, candies, and safety, and flying me then to a rock concert.

In that period cigarettes were rare, sometimes impossible to find and we were even lucky to have tobacco-which was not actually tobacco but grinded “tree” of tobacco plant, or simply all kind of tree leafs that we experimented with.

White filters Kent cigarettes in that moment were something like wet dream of every smoker.

It was pleasure to even see them, to smoke them meant pure happiness.

On my question where he get it? He answered “from some mercenaries”, and I did not want to ask more, I did not care.

We started our way to Gogo’s house around midnight, because plan was to be at the most dangerous place around 0100hrs.

On our way back we would choose a different way.

That dangerous place was big opening between houses, some 100-150 meters of space where we are completely open to the near hill where Anti Aircraft gun and few m84 machine guns were located.

Those machine gun was nicknamed “sijac smrti” which translates from my language to English as a  “death seeder” or “death bringer” or similar, and when I first time heard that nickname my thoughts were:”oh c’mon-somebody is watching too many movies, it is bombastic nickname for ordinary weapon”

Later when I was targeted first time from that weapon, when they shoot at me, I correct myself and I thought something like” death seeder? It is more, much more, it is Satan, it is hell, it is pure horror…”

And much later I also realized it is more or less common nickname for some other similar weapons.

So I built pretty fast my respect for “sijac smrti”, that shit was way too fast and deadly. It sounded like whole bunch of small deaths flying directly to you while they screaming.

 

(years later, after my SHTF ended and all things go back to some kind of let s say normal, I was watching member of Serbian elite parachute unit, while he was trying to explain his battle experience to another guy.

He and his small unit were holding position in dense woods on some hill during NATO bombing of Serbia, it was on Kosovo, and they were attacked by Albanians, Albanians were much stronger by numbers, but poorly trained, as he said, and he and his comrades did pretty well, morale was high, they were tough guys.

And then he said airplanes came. He said planes were firing from cannons destroying the hundreds years old trees like simple matches and obliterating his unit.

But he said that was not scariest thing-pure horror was sounds of that planes and cannons while they firing down on them, while he was trying to explain that he opened his eyes wide and said” it was sound like there are 10 big cows is in the air flying to you and they are screaming because they are being slaughtered”

Other guy was watching him probably not understanding what is so scary about that sound to terrified big strong elite dude.

And I said to myself “Oh man, I know that horror”)

 

Anyway we came to that open space without too much problems.

Nobody know what kind of view they had there on the hill, but during the night they fired often, without real cause, on that opening, so it was matter of luck sometimes are you going to be shot.

And somehow it was a myth that it is safest to cross it around 0100hrs.

In that time it was many openings like that in the city with different weapon and different tactics for crossing it and different myths about it how to cross it safely.

Lot of folks find God and faith on openings like that while they run or crawl over it.

Of course lot of folks end up dead there too.

I have seen guys being shot dead there while they run as fast as they could, I saw some crazy dudes walking slowly there and nothing happened, some guys were wounded and screamed there for hours with their guts hanging out until they died…

No rules.

We sat down behind the wall next to the opening and I told my relative “ok give me the cigarettes”

He said “it is not smart, it is for trade”

I did not care, so he gave me one pack, I opened it and smoked a cigarette.

It was cool to smoke it, white paper cigarette with white filter, after long time of smoking trash tobacco in any kind of paper that we could get.

It smelled like perfume to me in that moment.

I finished it and told to him “ok I can die now if I need”

He answered to me “fuck you man”

We run across that space while rain was pouring down, nothing happens, not a single shot on us.

Gogo’s house was close by after that, and nothing dangerous happened until we came to his home.

After some guy show up to us at the yard, we were allowed to enter the house with weapon, which was good feeling but not necessary good sign, but when we saw Gogo he recognizes us, and after some casual conversation which includes people that we together know we started to feel better.

We entered small room, two of us and two of them, sat down and had a drink.

 

Rakija (A strong, locally brewed spirit) was available then, so it was not a surprise when he gave us two glasses with that drink.

Numerous different kinds of that drink were circulating around, most often it was pure poison, simple not finished product from destroyed distillery diluted with water, but his was soft and nice.

Room where we sat was something like weird version of display room for customers, so we could see all kind of different stuff around in bags or open cabinets.

I saw pack of beer, even couple bottles of coke, and room strangely smelled of coffee which was high luxury in that time, everything there was set up for turning your senses “to want stuff”.

Bags full of something were lying everywhere and steel cabinet from army barracks was locked in one corner.

After some chatting he put down his hand under the table and put “Zolja” (“wasp”) single use RPG on table and said to us “this is good stuff for you folks, and it is cheap”.

I take it and said to him” it is empty man, fired, useless”

He open his mouth laugh with joy and said” ok man ok, you know that and I know that, but how many idiots outside know that? You could paint water pipe in green and state it is RPG and 90 percent of folks would trust you in dark, this looks real man.  Just fill it with something, point that thing on someone and ask right question”

“Yea, and then I can be killed from the guy who know that weapon is fired long time ago, he could choke me slowly with his bare hands, no thanks”

He said “ok ok, I agree, but here is right one” and then he pull out brand new one, same type, not used.

We said no man, we do not need weapons right now.

He said “ok ok, I have this too, I sell a lot of these and everyone is satisfied man”

Than his buddy opened wood cabinet behind his head and gave him wooden box, size of shoes box, bit smaller.

I look at my relative and look back at me with short surprised expressions.

It was wooden engraved box, pretty common in households in this region prior the war, something that you would put as a display in your living room, and when you opened it there was small wooden bird with mechanism inside, mechanism was activated by opening box, and melody would start, like birds singing…

Is he trying to sell us wooden singing bird in middle of the civil war?

Then he opened the box and push it to me.

Wooden bird was not inside, box was full-maybe some 25 bottles-vials of Penicillin. It was pretty expensive stuff.

I took one bottle and check it, expiration dates were good, Serbian manufacturer, labels looked originally “glued” on bottles.

But on the top of the bottles some of those were missing small thin metal “cap” that is covering rubber sealed “plug”(trough that rubber Penicillin powder is being diluted and aspirated into syringe)

First thought was that some those of the bottles could be used and then filled with flour.

He noticed what I am checking and said “ yeah, some of the caps are missing man, it is being transported through some rough situations before they came to me, but they are good”

I said” cool stuff man, but we do not need it” It was bit suspicious stuff and way to expensive for us at that moment.

He asked finally what we want.

And I said” Meat man!”

He leave the room and get back with one can, and I know he finally meant business because he brought only one can, without showing how much he actually has of it.

He put it on table and said” I have it, it is “Konj“(horse).

In that time different kind of canned food was circulating around, lot of expired stuff, broken, spoiled…

But popular was “horse”.

Horse had good and bad sides, but more good then bad sides.

It was canned meat, stamped label on tin was saying only something like “help from EU” or “help from UNHCR” I do not remember exactly.

Funny thing was that under the marking “type of meat” was written “meat”. Just that: “meat”.

It was kind of partially cooked meat with huge amount of grease inside that looked like snow.

If we ate grease alone it induced bad cases of diarrhea, but you could use it for cooking, melt it and use like oil for lamp, or simply folks stated that it is good to put it in places where you have pain, like an ointment (“bad knees pain – horse grease, rifle butt to the head-horse grease…  😉 )

Meat alone did not had any particular taste, it was unrecognizable, and people simply after some time said it is horse meat because nobody had clue what exactly it is.

So that can was nicknamed “horse”.

There were attempts to call it “kangaroo” but “horse” just stuck to it.

Simply it was usable.

He asked what we have, and I take out one pack of “Kent” he said “nice” without too much enthusiasm but his buddy stand up and said “where you get these man? Cool”

And that moment I knew we gonna get good deal because they are interested, they just kinda “blinked”.

He said to his buddy ”sit down man and shut up, you smoked too much pot” (Use of cannabis was rampant during the war)

And he asked how much of these we have, I answered it depends how much horse he have and bargain started.

At the end, we agree that we gonna gave him 9 packs for 15 cans.

It was great deal for us, and probably cool deal for him, because he knew folks who will appreciate those cigarettes a lot I guess.

After setting up a deal, and after we exchanged stuff we chatted for a bit and he offered me a hand made cigarette.

He gave me a small tin box with hand rolled cigarettes.

And I looked into the box, it used to be small box for cigarillos I think and I looked at the box, I liked it very much.

We carried our tobacco in all kinds of different bags, boxes, foils or whatever, but that tin box simply was “laying” down in my hand so cool. It was foreign stuff clearly.

It somehow “clicked” and perfectly lay down in my hand when I took it.

I gave it back to him asked where he got that, and he clearly saw that I “blinked” this time.

He said ”offer something, it is nice box man”

I only had that one more pack of Kent, with missing cigarette inside (which I wanted originally to keep for myself)

I pull it out from my pocket, gave it to him, he said” ok, I’ll give the cigarette box for this pack”

It was outrageous price, and I could almost feel my relative sending thoughts to me like “you fucking idiot, pack of cigarettes for tin box? We could get more meat for that…”

But I liked the box.

Then Gogo said” wait the second, cigarettes are missing from the pack, it is opened”

I said” yes, but still man, only one is missing and this is Kent real cigarettes”

Then he open drawer from the desk and pull hammer from it, we almost jumped ready for fight, but he took hammer and hit the tin box.

Then he said “ ok, one cigarette is missing in your pack, box is little bit damaged on one end now, but still working, now it is fair deal, we need to keep our business in some rules, it is reputation man!”

I was looking at him, realizing that he kinda lost it, just like most of us did in that time.

But we make the deal done, and all went good.

We get home in one piece, we ate those cans mixed with herbs and potatoes. Older member of family was happy with grease on his knees for some time…

I had a lot of bitching because of that tin box trade, but I survived.

War ended and years go by, I lost tin cigarette box, Gogo moved to Canada, and I heard he is doing apartment decorating business, and sometimes play guitar in some clubs, and have drugs issues…

Then one year, me and my wife were doing big renovation in my old house, and in some box with all kind of mess she pull out that tin box and said to me” oh it is some box for cigarettes, we gonna throw it away or you need it?”

Then she opened it, and inside she read small words that I wrote long time ago “GOGO” and date of trade.

She asked me “what is it, who is Gogo? Is it man or woman”?

From all of the explanation that I could gave her somehow words that came from my mouth were “ Yep, I could have got maybe two horses instead of that box during the war if I were smart”

“you had horses during the war? You rode it? I thought this was city siege! Where in the world you got horses?” she said looking suspiciously at me. (she spent war years in Germany without too much clue how was it here in reality)

I said smartly” no no, I didn’t ride horses, we ate it, it was good stuff”

Then she look at me with horror stating “you killed and ate horses, how could you, they are beautiful animals”

And then finally I said” you know what, forget it, it is long story, just throw away that box, it is useless”

Still, for a week or so she had suspicious looks at me from time to time.

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JCD

American by BIRTH, Infidel by CHOICE

The Nuke-O-Spot Report

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In the last post we discussed personal protective equipment for the nuclear environment. This post concerns having a way to communicate a nuclear explosion in your area via HAM or whatever other commo device you might have available. This is modeled after the the military’s NBC reporting format, but is different and more specific just for a nuclear situation. The reason I set it up that way is simple. If this info makes it’s way back to the military or government through civilian channels, it will be easier for them to convert it into a report to send higher up the chain without having to totally reconstruct or interpret the reports.

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OK, so let’s go through the “Nuke-O-Spot 1 Report” step by step. If the right column is blacked out, it does not get filled in on that specific report. NOTE: If a letter is skipped, it was for the chem or bio part of the original military report template, and doesn’t relate to the nuclear section.  B- Where are you? Find out on a map or GPS what your location is and make sure you list the type of coords you’re using. C- Using your compass, what direction is the blast in? D- Usually, this will be as follows “DDMMMYY, and 24 hour time format with your time zone (that’s important) listed after the number. G- Self explanatory.  H- Was it up in the sky, or close to the ground when it went off? J- Count “one thousand one, one thousand two…..” and take that times 330 to give you the distance in meters. You only need to put the time between the flash and bang in this block though.  L- Use the finger scale below as your measurement guide in Mils., and take the width measurement 5 minutes after detonation. This is an approximation. M- A fist held straight away from the body with arm extended is approximately 150 Mils,. take the height measurement 1 minute after detonation. Just measure the height by how many stacked fists it is. This is an approximation. O- If you can’t take the height measurement at H+1 (or you take another measurement) reference the date/time of blast (H+0), and the height in mils or degree. Example at H+15 the height is 4 fists (approx. 600 mils) high.   Q- When taking a radiation reading, put the location coordinates, or the name of the location (town, major intersection, etc.).  R- Dose rate of the radiation in Rads or Gray measurements. See the chart below.  S- The date and time group that the reading was taken.

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The “Nuke-O-Spot 2 Report” is basically a compilation of multiple N-O-S 1 Reports at an “Info Hub”. Here’s how it works. A- This number is assigned by the group compiling the info   D- Same as N-O-S 1.   F- The Info Hub will use the multiple N-O-S 1 reports to triangulate the location of the detonation.  G- Same as N-O-S 1 reports.  H- Same as N-O-S 1 reports.  N- If the Info Hub has the capability to determine yield by using the cloud height and width information.  P- Info Hub uses weather/winds aloft reports to determine the direction of fallout.  Z- The Info Hub will use the weather/winds aloft report to determine and report the speed of the fallout cloud.

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HOW IT WORKS

There are enough HAM operators (AMRRON maybe) out there to be able to pass this info on to those that can disseminate it to those who need it most and can determine countermeasures. My suggestion is to find a HAM operator in your region that was an NBC specialist in the military, and use him or her as your Info Hub to feed N-O-S 1 reports to. There are plenty of NBC FM’s out there to figure a good bit of this out for yourself. Your group should understand and be able to apply this info for the group’s protection. NOTE: Winds aloft can change directions about every 2,000 feet, and this is why a fallout pattern does not always have a circular or oval shape. Keep this in mind if you are trying to predict the fallout pattern.

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I while back, a friend asked me to put this format out. I have finally gotten around to it, because I think it might be needed in the near future, considering the direction certain national and international players are leaning. Hopefully it won’t be needed, but you know what they say, “Better to have and not need, than to need and not have.

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JCD

Personal Protective Gear For A Nuclear Threat.

Was advised it might be a good idea to repost some of my nuke related posts, so here you go.

Re-post from MDSA

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As a kid, the threat of nuclear war was a very real. One of the reasons I chose to go to NBC School while in the military was due to my interest in learning how to survive it as a teenager, and realizing that whatever I may have learned as a civilian, I could probably learn a lot more in the military. At one point I served as a Battalion NBC NCO, and assisted in the planning and conducting of battalion level training events.

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Although there are a lot of resources out there, the book Nuclear War Survival Skills is still one of the best and most practical. Although a lot of people believe you need a military NBC suit to survive fallout, in actuality, a standard rubber rainsuit will protect you just as well. The military NBC suit is more for the chemicals in a chemical attack than the nuclear radiation threat. You cannot survive in a high radiation dose area simply by what you are wearing. Wearing a protective suit is to help keep the fallout off of your clothing, keep it off your skin, and to make a barrier that is easily decontaminated (decontaminate by hosing or brush off the fallout). Below is a rainsuit on the left, and an military NBC suit on the right.

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Besides the mask you wear to keep from inhaling radioactive debris, the other accessories you need are gauntlet type gloves and some type of over boot. Both of these items need to be able to be easily decontaminated like the suit you’re wearing, and heavy rubber seams to be the best material for that.

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Last but most definitely the most important part of personal nuclear apparel is the mask. The purpose of the mask is primarily to filter the air you breathe. Inhalation of radioactive particulates will kill you from the inside out. A secondary purpose is to keep the fallout out of your hair and the inside of your collar if the mask has a hood. Even a dust mask will work, but I use a military issue masks for their durability and filter compatibility with what the military uses. Below is the M17A1 Mask on the left, the M40A1 on the right. Both have the hoods attached.

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A lot of people discount the older M17A1 masks, but if you find one in good condition, grab it. The internal filters are a pain in the ass to change when needed, but this type of mask is harder for someone to rip off your face in a close quarters fight. However, the side filter models do give you a better cheek weld when using a rifle, and the filter is easy to change quickly.

 

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Keeping track of your personal dose of radiation is done by wearing a dosimeter “pen”. This is pictured on the left above. The item to the right is a dosimeter charger. This is basically a meter that you look through and a needle inside tells you what your radiation exposure is on a scale that is inside the “pen”.

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Last but not least in the electronics department is a radiation survey meter/geiger counter. Depending on the model you get, you can measure the radiation level in your immediate area, or at a distance (some have a cable that you can place at a distance from the meter). This will give you the Rad/Gray level for your location.

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That’s all we’re gonna discuss in this post about personal protective apparel for a nuclear threat.

JCD

Radiation’s Effects And Materials To Mitigate Them

Was advised it might be a good idea to repost some of my nuke related posts, so here you go.

Re-Post from MDSA

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While in conversation with a friend the other night, he mentioned the two previous posts that were published on this blog, and asked if more topics could be discussed. I advised him that there were more in the works, and it was just time constraints that limited their release. Today we will talk about what types of radiation are of concern in a nuclear war context, what kind of a threat they are and for how long, and ways to mitigate those effects. Throughout all this information we will put out about radiation protection, the three basic things to keep in mind that you can use to protect yourself from radiation are Distance, Time, and Shielding.

Radiation

Generally speaking, there are three types of radiation that we are concerned about. Alpha, Beta, and Gamma. The Alpha Radiation/particle is the least dangerous realistically, but it is still a concern. The effects it has can be mitigated by 1 inch of air, a layer of common clothing, and even your skin to a degree. The place where Alpha Radiation can cause you damage is if you ingest it, whether through inhaling or swallowing it. It can cause serious issues with internal organs it comes into contact with. A tightly sealed bandanna, commercial dust respirator or gas mask will inhibit the inhalation part, and cleaning your food off will generally stop the swallowing it part. Keep in mind though, the Alpha particle is 20 times more damaging to human tissue (in contact) than an equal amount of Gamma radiation/rays.

Beta Radiation is more of a concern, but it is usually stopped by 10 inches of air, or several layers of clothing. As with the Alpha particles, Beta’s are also a concern if ingested, and the commercial respirator or gas mask still applies for that concern. Although regular clothing in layers will usually defeat Beta particles, I suggests using a heavy commercial rain suit (pants and hooded jacket will work, but the “overall” type pants with a jacket or a trench coat type jacket with regular pants will work better for the overlap these combos provide), heavy rubber over boots, and gauntlet style rubber gloves (all this was talked about in this post) will help with a speedy decontamination when you arrive back at your home/retreat. You simply get brushed off then sprayed off in a designated decontamination area with a water hose.

Gamma Radiation is the big killer in a nuclear fallout context. Unhindered by a barrier, Gama particles have a range of a 1/2 mile. The way to defeat or mitigate the effects of Gamma radiation is to not be anywhere near it, or to use different types of material to shield against it. The radiation output measurement is called Gray (Gy) or Rad (R) and is measure by the hour.

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Terminology

The “Rad” term is an older one (old US system), and 1 Gray(Gy) equals 100 Rad (R). The term REM stands for “Roentgen Equivalent Man” is generally equal to the same amount as a RAD (1 Rad= 1 REM). The REM is the older US system’s nomenclature for dose received and 100 REM’s  are equal to 1 Sievert (Sv). Both REM and Sievert are a measurement of the dose received by the individual. 1 Sievert equals 100 REM in dose, 1 Gray equals 100 Rads in radiation measurements per hour.   If you are told the radiation level is 1,000R (10 Gy), that means it is 1,000 Rads (10 Gy) in an hour. If you are told the dose received is 1,000R (10 Sv), it means the person received 1,000 REM (10 Sv), and if that person was exposed to that dose for 3 hours, it would not be 1,000 REM (10 Sv), but 3,000 REM (30 Sv).

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Here’s another chart in my notes that will give you an idea of what happens after you are exposed to a given amount of radiation in a given time period.

Doses are listed as REM.

  • 0-70=  Dose period/6-12 hours. No effects to slight incidents of headache, nausea, vomiting. Up to 5%. No medical care required.
  • 70-150= Dose period/2-20 hours. Same as above, from 5-30% effected. Some medical care might be required.
  • 150-300= Dose period/2hrs-2 days. 20-70% percent same as above. Fatigue and weakness in 25-60% of personnel. 5% deaths at low end, 10% at high end.
  • 300-530= Dose period/2hrs-3 days. 50-90% as above. Fatigue and weakness in 50-90%. At low end 10% deaths, at high end 50% deaths
  • 530-830= Dose period/2hrs- 2 days, 80-100% of personnel with moderate to severe nausea and vomiting. 2hrs- 6 weeks, moderate to severe fatigue and weakness in 90-100%. 50% dead in 6 weeks at low end, 99% dead in 3 weeks at high end
  • 830-3000=Dose period/30mins to 2 days, severe nausea, vomiting, fatigue, weakness, dizziness, disorientation, and moderate to severe fluid imbalance and headache. 100% death in 5 days to 3 weeks
  • 3000-8000= Dose period/30mins to 5 days, 100% experience severe nausea, vomiting, fatigue, weakness, dizziness, disorientation, fluid imbalance, and headache. 100% death in 2-3 days
  • Greater than 8000= Dose period/30mins to 1 day, severe and prolonged nausea, vomiting, fatigue, weakness, dizziness, disorientation, fluid imbalance and headache. 100% death in 1 day

Understanding The Half Life of gamma radiation.

There is a basic rule that applies to the effectiveness of radiation, this is called the “Rule of Sevens”. “Half-Life” is the term used to measure the amount of time required for the radioactivity being generated to be cut in half. When measuring Gamma radiation, we use the “Rule of Seven”. In a nut shell this means that for any given amount of radiation, a time span of seven will reduce that radiation to 10% of the quantity previously measured (it will be reduced 90%).

If we start with an example of 2000R in your area one hour after a detonation (H+1), within 7 hours, the radiation level will be reduced to 200R. After 49 hours (approx 2 days), the radiation is reduced to 20R, and after 14 days (two weeks), it will be reduced to 2R. Finally after 98 days ( approx 3 months) it is at 2/10R. Note that the chart above does not measure below a dose rate of 1Gy/1Sv (100 R/100REM). Although there would be trouble spots where fallout would have collected, for the most part, you are relatively safe to come out of the shelter after two weeks in all but the worst hit areas. If you are in those areas, I think you probably would have had a more immediate concern from the initial blast damage, than the radiation.

Blocking Radiation

So now we’re all depressed because we realize what radiation will do to our bodies, let’s talk about how we’re gonna stop it. We’ve already talked about how to block the radioactive Alpha and Beta particles from harming us internally and externally with protective apparel, but one other thing to mention in this regard is potassium iodide (KI) tablets. These are to be taken 48 hours prior to a possible exposure to Alpha and Beta particles due to ingestion or inhalation (they don’t help with external radiation exposure).

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It’s good to have them on hand in case you won’t have the ability to block the inhalation or ingestion of Alpha or Beta particles with some type of respirator, but KI does have numerous side effects that are possible after being taken. Also, KI is not recommended for people over the age of 40, due to side effects affecting the thyroid that are possible.

SHELTERING

OK, so now we are going to shelter in place, and we need to build or add to a shelter, whether it is a shelter within a building, or making the whole building into a shelter. What are some common materials that are available to us for use in our shelter.

We will talk about a number of readily available materials and what radiation shielding capabilities they have. First up is air.

AIR– Distance is your friend when it comes to radiation. To cut the output of radiation in half, you need 200 feet of air/space. This 200 feet of distance will halve whatever Rad or Gray count is emanating from the source of the radiation. Using an uncontaminated parking garage basement that you decide to build a shelter in as an example. If you have 200 feet of air between you and the outside, discounting any other material (steel, concrete, etc) the radiation level is cut in half with that 200 feet of distance. Different types of architecture (high rises) will assist with this.

DIRT– It requires 3.3 inches of dirt to halve the amount of radiation that is put out from a source outside the shelter. If you have an outside radioactive source, 12 inches of dirt will reduce the radiation to 1/10th of the original output, 23″ to 1/100th, and 33″ to 1/1,000th of the outside radiation output.

WOOD– Wood will reduce the effects of outside radiation to 1/10th with 35″, 1/100th with 58″. and 1/1,000th with 88″. The halving thickness is 8.8″.

STEEL– Steel’s radiation reduction is as follows: 1/10th is 2.3″, 1/100th is 5″, and 1/1,000th is 7″. The halving thickness is .7″.

CONCRETE– 10 inches of concrete will block 1/10th of the outside radiation, 15 inches blocks 1/100th, and 23 inches blocks 1/1,000th. The halving thickness is 2.2″.

PAPER– the protection books and magazines provide equals 1/10th with 28 inches, 1/100th with 54 inches, and 1/1,000th with 77 inches. The halving thickness is 7.7″

WATER– Something like a waterbed in the room above might be factored into your protection. Water provides 1/10th the exposure with 19 inches, 1/100th the exposure with 30 inches, and 1/1,000th with 48 inches. The halving thickness is 4.8″.

In case you didn’t notice, the denser and heavier a substance is for a given size (example 1 cubic foot) the better the protection and shielding from radiation.

In the next nuke series post, we’ll talk about using some of the materials listed above to build shelters out of your home, within your home, and in a building you might get caught in or in the open after a blast.

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JCD