The alert tells you that within 30 minutes a series of dirty bombs in your city are expected to go off.
What do you do?
Thankfully most of what you need for this situation is stuff that should already be in your preps. Food, water, medical gear … those are the biggies. And you’re already good to go there.
What you need to worry about is shelter.
But first, an aside about the radiation dangers from a dirty bomb. Simply put, they’re not as bad as you might worry about unless the bomb goes off close to you. Since there’s no atomic reaction involved, it’s just a bunch of explosives throwing radioactive materials around.
The best way to protect yourself from radiation and radioactive materials is to put as much mass between you and the source as possible. So a great starting point for your shelter is a basement.
If you don’t have a basement, the center of your house is a good place to be.
Assuming you don’t have a shelter already built, now it’s time to build yourself a fort.
Remember when you were a kid and you made forts out of the dining room table and blankets? Same concept here, just more urgent.
You want to build yourself a sturdy roof. Dining room tables are usually already sturdy, but you may have to improvise this.
Once you have a roof, stack heavy stuff on top of it. Books, water, wood, whatever you have handy. Remember, mass is your friend since it absorbs radiation.
Make sure you reinforce your roof as needed. Maybe add a sheet or two of plywood before piling on, doors from interior rooms, or something else. Don’t forget to reinforce the supports as well.
Use more stuff to make walls for your shelter. Anything you can get your hands on will help here. Leave a small crawling entrance open, just like when you were a kid.
The one thing you have to make sure you leave though is ventilation holes. Depending on the size of the shelter and the number of folks in there, you may want to have a couple different holes.
Make sure your ventilation is as high up on the wall of the shelter as possible to help draft hot air out and cool air in.
Bring your food and water into your shelter and hang out.
Due to the nature of a dirty bomb, you won’t have to stay for long. A day or two probably tops. Use your emergency radio to listen for guidance on radiation levels from local broadcasters.
Obviously there’s more to this, and way beyond just shelter, but I wanted you to think about it. It’s an unlikely event, but a high impact event. Though the impact will be largely social and supply line related, and not so much radiological unless you’re close to the blast.
Now, since you’re already thinking about this, you can make life a bit easier for yourself.
Just like how folks in hurricane country should store plywood for windows, etc, if you feel that you’re in an area that’s at greater risk of a dirty bomb attack, you should prepare a bit.
You don’t have to keep a shelter up full time, but a good idea would be to have some parts of it prefabricated. You can make a pretty rock solid shelter just with standard dimensional lumber and plywood. Everything can be cut and partially assembled, then stored wherever it makes sense.
Then if it ever comes time to use it, you’re set.
Make sure you know ahead of time where you’ll go, and put some stores there. For example, before we moved we had a part of the basement that was perfect for sheltering from a nuclear or biological or pandemic event. It doubled as one of our pantry areas, so we always had food and water there, no matter what.
Think things through … like most potential disasters, a dirty bomb attack isn’t all that likely, but it also doesn’t require much in the way of incremental preps beyond what most of us are already working on or already have.
You just have to think things through…