Some see ominous possibilities as 16,000 Russian troops move into Ukraine, the U.S. Sixth Fleet moves toward Crimea, and NATO troops land in Western Ukraine.
Signals from Washington are decidedly mixed. In a Feb 28 statement, Barack Obama stated: “The United States will stand with the international community in affirming that there will be costs for any military intervention in Ukraine.” Less than 30 minutes later, he declared a “happy hour” at a Democratic National Committee fundraiser and joked about a heckler’s questionconcerning his “plans for a nuclear war with Russia.”
“Is the situation like the Cuban missile crisis, without the public awareness?” asks Physicians for Civil Defense president Jane M. Orient, M.D.
In a world loaded with nuclear weapons in the hands of many actors, including Russia, with both sophisticated and crude delivery systems, the only warning of a nuclear event could be a bright flash or sudden loss of power (and your internet connection).
At a Feb 22 meeting sponsored by the Medical Reserve Corps of Southern Arizona (MRCSA), attendees were reminded that in such a crisis “what you have is ALL you will have.”
Americans lack even the basic knowledge that all were taught at the time of the Cuban missile crisis, such as the need to drop and cover if they see a bright flash—even though the information can be conveyed in 60 seconds.
The government disposed of the radiation monitoring instruments from the Cold War civil defense program and did not replace them. There are better instruments now, available privately, but a very limited inventory. Orient recommends the the SIRAD (Self-Indicating Instant Radiation Alert Dosimeter) monitor created by the Department of Defense for first responders and the military. These monitors work by instantly and permanently changing color as radiation is absorbed. Currently these monitors, which are the size of a credit card, are available at J.P. Labs, 120 Wood Avenue, New Jersey, for about $40. Other affordable devices include the NukAlert key fob survey meter and the homemade Kearny Fallout Meter, which you can make from instructions in Nuclear War Survival Skills.
At the time of the Cold War, many government scientists recognized that in a crisis like today’s, which they presciently describe in the foreword to Nuclear War Survival Skills, Americans would be on their own. That book is their life-saving plan—available now, free, as long as you have an internet connection and a printer.
“Do you have some water, food, salt, medicines, fuel, and other essential items you may not be able to buy for a long time?” Orient asks.
Physicians for Civil Defense distributes information to help to save lives in the event of disaster.