[ RadSafe ] Carnegie Mellon professors question advice for nuclearattacks

Brennan, Mike (DOH) Mike.Brennan at DOH.WA.GOV
Wed Apr 11 11:32:41 CDT 2007

I assume that the professors had more meat in their statements than came
through in the article.  Still, I question some of what is here.  Much
of what you would want on hand for sheltering in place (as opposed to
building a dedicated fallout shelter, which I would never advise) are
things that you would want on hand anyway, for routine use or other
emergencies.  Food stored for emergencies should be things that you eat
anyway, and stock should be rotated, so there is no real cost.  A good
first aid kit is always worth having.  

Including "the cost of storage space and the time needed to tend it"
decreases the credibility of their position.  To the extent supplies are
consumables that are routinely used, the storage space costs zero.  The
volume of the rest of the supplies are small enough as to be of no
consequence.  The "time needed to tend it" comes out of leisure time, as
opposed to time that could be used to make money.  If it amounts to more
than a couple hours a year, I would be surprised.  If people engaged in
emergency planning and preparations rather than watching "American Idol"
results shows, they would be well ahead of the game.


-----Original Message-----
From: radsafe-bounces at radlab.nl [mailto:radsafe-bounces at radlab.nl] On
Sent: Tuesday, April 10, 2007 9:20 PM
To: radsafe at radlab.nl
Subject: [ RadSafe ] Carnegie Mellon professors question advice for

Contact: Chriss Swaney
swaney at andrew.cmu.edu
Carnegie Mellon University 
  Carnegie Mellon professors question advice for nuclear attacks
Researchers question advice  PITTSBURGH-In the current Fox television
adventure series, "24," a terrorist explodes a small nuclear bomb in Los
Angeles. In the May 2007 issue of the journal Health Physics, Carnegie
Mellon researchers Keith Florig and Baruch Fischhoff offer simple,
practical advice that ordinary citizens can use when faced by such
threats.   Specifically, the two scientists address the following
questions: whether it is worth citizens' time to stock supplies needed
for a home shelter, how urgently should one seek shelter following a
nearby nuclear detonation, and how long should survivors remain in a
shelter after the radioactive dust settles.   Carnegie Mellon's Florig,
a senior research engineer and Fischhoff, a university professor, report
that many families simply can't afford the government stocking
guidelines; they need help to protect themselves.   "A number of
 organizations recommend that people stock their homes with a couple
dozen categories of emergency supplies," said Florig of Carnegie
Mellon's engineering and public policy department. "We calculated that
it would cost about $240 per year for a typical family to maintain such
a stock, including the value of storage space and the time needed to
tend to it."   Their research also suggests that many families who could
afford to follow the stocking guidelines might think twice about whether
the investment was really worth it, given the low probability that
stocked supplies would actually be used in a nuclear emergency.
"Government websites such as Ready.gov recommend that people take
shelter or evacuate following a nuclear blast, but provide no
information that might help people determine how much time they have to
react before a fallout cloud arrives," said Florig. We advocate a more
nuanced message with simple rules for minimizing risk based on how far
people are from the
 blast. If you are within several miles of the blast, there will be no
time to flee and you will have only minutes to seek shelter. If you are
10 miles from the blast, you will have 15 to 60 minutes to find shelter,
but not enough time to reliably flee the area before the fallout
arrives," said Florig.   Finally, the researchers analyze how long
people should remain sheltered in a contaminated area before it is
riskier to stay than to evacuate.   "The answer depends on how good
their shelters are and how long it would take to evacuate. Those who
have poor shelters, limited stores and no access to a vehicle will need
the most help to escape," according to the researchers.   Understanding
these simple rules can help people to plan for themselves and help
officials to plan for them.   "More generally, I think our research
illustrates how relatively simple analyses that consider citizens'
circumstances can help make the best of a bad situation," said
Fischhoff, a professor in
 Carnegie Mellon's social and decision sciences and the engineering and
public policy department 

Roy Herren
 Get your own web address.
 Have a HUGE year through Yahoo! Small Business.
You are currently subscribed to the RadSafe mailing list

Before posting a message to RadSafe be sure to have read and understood
the RadSafe rules. These can be found at:

For information on how to subscribe or unsubscribe and other settings
visit: http://radlab.nl/radsafe/

More information about the RadSafe mailing list