Types of Radiation Emergencies
Radiation emergencies may be
- Intentional (e.g., caused by terrorists)
- Unintentional or unplanned
Intentional (Terrorist) Acts
- Contaminating food/water with radioactive material
- Spreading radioactive material into the environment
- Using conventional explosives (e.g., dynamite) – this is called a dirty bomb
- Using wind currents or natural traffic patterns
- Bombing or destroying a nuclear reactor
- Causing a truck/train carrying nuclear material to spill its load
- Exploding a nuclear weapon
Unintentional Radiation Emergencies
Basic Steps to Protect Yourself and Your Family in a Radiation Emergency
If a radiation emergency happens near where people live or work, you can take immediate action to protect yourself, your loved ones, and others around you. This kind of emergency could be a dirty bomb or nuclear explosion, a nuclear power plant accident, or a transportation accident. These actions will protect people in a radiation emergency:
- Get inside and stay inside an undamaged building.
- If possible, shower and change into clean clothes.
- Stay tuned to television or radio for updates and instructions.
Emergency workers and local officials are trained to respond to different types of situations and will give you specific instructions to keep you safe. For more information, please read Protecting Yourself and Family.
- Page last updated March 13, 2013
- Page last reviewed April 1, 2010
- Content source: Radiation Studies Branch (RSB), Division of Environmental Hazards and Health Effects (EHHE), National Center for Environmental Health (NCEH), Coordinating Center for Environmental Health and Injury Prevention (CCEHIP)
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