By Caden Wilson
On February 8, Alma College hosted Amnesty International’s nuclear preparedness simulation, an event where students were invited to see exactly how prepared they would be in the event of a nuclear strike.
After the four corners of the room had been labeled A,B,C and D, Megan Finkbeiner (’19) addressed the gathered students and explained that the United States was under attack and a nuclear explosion had been confirmed in the vicinity.
At the front of the classroom four options were projected, one for each alphabetized corner which participants would walk to after having decided on their answers. Through a series of chosen responses, participants learned what to do if a nuclear missile were to strike the U.S.
Much of the public fear of nuclear war is a result of tensions, sometimes expressed via twitter, between President Donald Trump and North Korean leader Kim Jong Un. Amnesty International’s Alma event poked fun at this in its public advertisement as it referenced one of the pesident’s January tweets.
“Will someone from his depleted and food starved regime please inform him that I too have a Nuclear Button, but it is a much bigger & more powerful one than his, and my Button works!” Trump tweeted.
According to the Department of Homeland Security, the first major concern would be to those directly in range of the blast. Intense heat and fire would surround the impact site, while a shockwave would destroy everything in the vicinity.
As roughly one-third of the participants guessed, the best chance of survival for people outside in the open would be to lie face down on the ground with their hands over their head.
FEMA reports that fallout and radioactive material are more dangerous than the initial nuclear blast. Finkbeiner explained that the primary goal of an individual trapped by fallout should be to find a brick or concrete building to take shelter in within 10 minutes.
While moving in the open, it is necessary to cover the eyes, mouth and nose with cloth or another respiratory system to prevent radioactive particles from entering the body.
To prevent long exposure to radiation, it is imperative to remove and seal clothing in a plastic bag before wiping or washing exposed skin clean. It is also important to remain inside with a radio or cell phone to listen to FEMA reports about outside conditions.
After learning the proper procedure for the hours following the blast, students were asked to assess which supplies would be the most important from a given selection. FEMA’s recommendation is to remain indoors for two weeks after the initial detonation.
“It was entertaining to see what supplies other people placed higher value on,” said Eric Ferrara (’18). Ferrara added that he was glad to have been a part of an updated rendition of nuclear preparedness, citing the antiquated methods of the past. “Duck and cover is a joke. It hardly does anything.”