In the event of a radiation emergency, there are precautions you can take. In the event of a radiation emergency, stay tuned to your radio or television to hear what protective actions local, state and federal authorities recommend. Recommended actions will depend on the situation, but you will be told either to stay in place or evacuate your area.
Shelter in place
If you're advised to stay where you are, whether you're at home or work or elsewhere, do the following:
- Close and lock all doors and windows.
- Turn off fans, air conditioners and heating units that bring air in from outside.
- Close fireplace dampers.
- Bring pets indoors.
- Move to an inner room or basement.
- Stay tuned to your emergency response network or local news.
If you're advised to evacuate, follow the instructions provided by your local authorities. Try to stay calm and move quickly and in an orderly manner. In addition, travel lightly, but take supplies, including:
- Portable radio
- First-aid kit
- Necessary medicines
- Sealed food, such as canned, and bottled water
- Manual can opener
- Cash and credit cards
- Extra clothes
Be aware that most emergency vehicles and shelters won't accept pets. Take them only if you're driving your own vehicle and going someplace other than a shelter.
Oct. 06, 2012
- Goldman L, et al. Cecil Medicine. 24th ed. Philadelphia, Pa.: Saunders Elsevier; 2012. http://www.mdconsult.com/das/book/body/191371208-2/0/1492/0.html#. Accessed June 5, 2012.
- Marx JA, et al. Rosen's Emergency Medicine: Concepts and Clinical Practice. 7th ed. Philadelphia, Pa.: Mosby Elsevier; 2010. http://www.mdconsult.com/books/about.do?about=true&eid=4-u1.0-B978-0-323-05472-0..X0001-1--TOP&isbn=978-0-
- 323-05472-0&uniqId=230100505-57. Accessed June 5, 2012..
- Radiation exposure and contamination. The Merck Manuals: The Merck Manual for Healthcare Professionals. http://www.merckmanuals.com/professional/injuries_poisoning/radiation_exposure_and_contamination/radiation_exposure_and_contamination.html?qt=radiation%20exposure&alt=sh. Accessed June 5, 2012.
- Kliegman RM, et al. Nelson Textbook of Pediatrics. 19th ed. Philadelphia, Pa.: Saunders Elsevier; 2011. http://www.mdconsult.com/das/book/body/208746819-6/0/1608/0.html. Accessed June 5, 2012.
- Lin EC. Radiation risk from medical imaging. Mayo Clinic Proceedings. 2010;85:2042.
- Christodouleas JP, et al. Short-term and long-term health risks of nuclear-power-plant accidents. New England Journal of Medicine. 2011;364:2334.
- Cardis E, et al. The Chernobyl accident — An epidemiological perspective. Clinical Oncology. 2011;23:251.
- Radiation emergencies. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. http://www.bt.cdc.gov/radiation/. Accessed June 5, 2012.
You Are ... The Campaign for Mayo Clinic
Mayo Clinic is a not-for-profit organization. Make a difference today.