Forget “duck and cover”; “get inside” and “stay tuned.”
If a nuclear blast befalls the Big Apple, New Yorkers should immediately seek shelter indoors and stay put.
That’s according to a new public service announcement the city released Monday outlining the three key steps New Yorkers should take in case Gotham gets nuked, either by a foreign power or a terrorist with a “dirty bomb”:
- Get inside
- Stay inside
- Stay tuned
“As the threat landscape continues to evolve, it is important that New Yorkers know we are preparing for any imminent threats and are providing them with the resources they need to stay safe and informed,” said the city’s Emergency Management Commissioner Zach Iscol in a statement on July 11.
While the likelihood of such an attack in or around the Five Boroughs is “very low,” according to the Emergency Management Department, the agency released a short video online to show that they have a plan in case it does.
The clip begins with deserted city streets and sirens howling in the distance, when a narrator walks into frame explaining the situation.
“So there’s been a nuclear attack. Don’t ask me how or why, just know that the big one has hit,” she says.
The matter-of-fact guide notes that you should get into a building and move to the center, away from the windows, adding that staying in a car is not a safe alternative.
If you have a basement, head underground, but if not, go as far into the middle of the building as possible for more protection.
The main concern from a nuclear event, should you survive it, is highly-radioactive fallout from the explosion that could dump lethal dust on an area for up to two weeks. Merely staying inside isn’t enough, even with windows or doors in tact; you’d have to get to the middle of the basement, or a shelter, to stay as protected from the fallout as possible.
Anyone caught outside during the blast must clean themselves off immediately, removing all outer clothes and bag them, to keep radioactive dust or ash away from their body.
Wash off the fallout gunk with soap or shampoo — assuming your shower still works at this point.
Then the waiting begins. The narrator tells viewers to follow media for more information, sign up for the city’s emergency alert system Notify NYC, and stay put until officials say it’s safe to reemerge.
“All right? You’ve got this,” she then signs off.
The video doesn’t address a nuclear blast survivor’s nutritional or medical needs — which figure to be potentially catastrophic after a nuclear event.
The public messaging echoes Cold War-era films that told Americans to “duck and cover” in case of a nuclear detonation.
The 1950s campaign by the Federal Civil Defense Administration famously showed people quickly dropping down and covering themselves in several everyday situations, such as kids in a school classroom, or a family having a leisurely picnic where the dad uses nothing but a newspaper to cover his head, all of which are set against an upbeat tune repeating the line “duck and cover.”
The federal government’s Department of Homeland Security now has a more detailed guide for what to in case of a nuclear blast that is similar to the city’s guidance.