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Why Is Nuclear War in the News at Christmas, Asks the Association of American Physicians and Surgeons (AAPS)?

TUCSON, Ariz., Dec. 24, 2019 (GLOBE NEWSWIRE) -- In a Dec 17 article, Business Insider writes that the six most likely targets of a nuclear attack, including Los Angeles and San Francisco, are completely unprepared. There are no marked fallout shelters and no supplies. This is hardly news—nothing has changed since the Hawaiian wake-up call about one year ago, states AAPS executive director Jane M. Orient, M.D. 

The “dos and don’ts” helpfully linked to the article were generally well-known in the 1950s but are largely forgotten now, Dr. Orient states.

Nearly 6,000 reactions to this article were posted on Yahoo! News. Many repeated the canards that no one would survive or anyway you wouldn’t want to.

But why now, asks Dr. Orient. Could it be concern about a North Korean “Christmas surprise”? There have been reports about reopening of North Korean nuclear or ballistic missile facilities. What could be a better time to cause maximum disruption than when much of the population is away from home?

Whatever the reason, lifesaving information is always timely, she states. The Good News about Nuclear Destruction” is that the vast majority of Americans could survive, uninjured and healthy, if they had a little basic knowledge.

The single thing, which would save more lives than anything else, is this: If you see a bright flash, drop and cover. A blast wave will hit very soon, with high winds, shattered glass, and flying debris. The vital 1950s “duck and cover” drill has been ridiculed, but “stop, drop, and roll” in the event of fire is still taught, Dr. Orient states.

Radioactive fallout may arrive at variable intervals. It looks like sand or grit. You need to put mass or distance between yourself and the fallout—underground or in the interior on a middle floor of a building—until the radiation decays. By the 7:10 rule, the level at 7 hours will be one-tenth the level at 1 hour.

The U.S. once kept calibrated radiation monitoring instruments ready, but this program was dismantled and not replaced decades ago, Dr. Orient states. A large amount of information is still available, although civil defense is now mostly self-help.

“The best gift you can give your family and your patients is the gift of knowledge,” stated Dr. Orient. “At a minimum, everyone should know what is on the 60-second training card. And for your New Year’s resolutions, see that you have the essentials required not to leave your home for a period of time, in case of any type of emergency.”

The Association of American Physicians and Surgeons (AAPS) is a national organization representing physicians in all specialties since 1943.

Contact: Jane M. Orient, M.D., (520) 323-3110, janeorientmd@gmail.com