Protection from a dirty bombA Dirty Bomb is a conventional explosive bomb that is mixed with radioactive materials. Most experts agree that the radioactive materials used in a dirty bomb are low level and would probably not create enough radiation exposure to cause immediate serious illness. However those who are very close to the epicenter or who’s immune systems are already compromised could be at higher risk.

After the explosion there will be radioactive dust and smoke that can be inhaled is dangerous. This radioactive dust is actually too small (microscopic) for you to see, feels, taste or smell.

If you find yourself in this situation there are steps that should be taken to protect yourself and your family.

If you are close to the incident and inside:

  • Stay in the building, providing the windows and walls are not broken.  If the are broken go to an interior room and do not leave.
  • If the building is damaged and unsafe quickly leave, covering your nose and mouth with a cloth so as not to breath in radioactive dust or smoke, and find a building who walls and windows are not broken.
  • Close all doors, windows and any fireplace dampers to keep dust out.
  • Turn off the fans, air conditioning or heating unit if they bring in outside air. (You do not need to use plastic and tape to seal off windows doors or vents. The lack of air movement will be enough to keep the dust out.)
  • If you have been exposed to the dust. Once inside remove your outer clothing and seal it in a plastic bag. Shower or wash with soap and water especially your hair to remove any remaining dust. Removing outer clothes may get rid of up to 90% of radioactive dust.
  • Listen to your local television or radio for news and more information.

References

For more on this subject visit the CDC website http://www.bt.cdc.gov/radiation/pdf/dirtybombs.pdf

Dirty Bomb – Quick Reference Material http://www.bioterrorism.slu.edu/dirty/quick.htm