Facts About Fallout

GPO O-F-430280, 1957

Fallout? What's that?

Fallout is nothing more than particals of air, made radioactive by nuclear or thermonuclear explosions. When an atomic or hydrogen bomb is exploded close to the ground, building materials, rocks, and gases are sucked upward, sometime to a height of 80,000 feet or more. They help form the mushroom cloud which is always seen with one of these explosions.

Some of these radioactive particals spill out in the immediate area of the explosion soon after it occurs, but others may be carried by the upper winds for many miles. Sooner or later, however, they settle to earth. This is called fallout.

Radioactivity is Nothing New...
The Whole World is Radioactive

But normal amounts are not dangerous. It is only when radioactivity is present in highly concentrated amounts, such as those created by atomic and hydrogen bomb explosions, that it becomes dangerous. Radioactive fallout is sometimes highly concentrated.

If you are exposed to it long enough -

Whom Will it Hit?
It Could Hit You!

Yes, it could settle anywhere. The upper winds could carry fallout to most remote parts of the country. Small towns and rural areas many miles from the scene of a nuclear explosion may be endangered by fallout. Every citizen is a potential target for fallout.

How will I know it?

Civil Defense officials and weather experts will estimate the probable path and speed of approaching fallout and keep you posted.

Tune your AM radio to 640 or 1240 kilocycles, your CONELRAD stations, for Civil Defense news and instructions.

Civil Defense radiological monitoring teams will detect fallout if it is present in your area. They will tell you when it is safe and when you must take protective measures.

An old fashioned storm cave or root cellar is ideal. Stock it with food staples as Grandmother did. Add water supplies, first aid kits, blankets, a lantern, fuel...

If you think you have been in a serious fallout area, remove your outer clothing and wash the esposed parts of you body thoroughly. Unless you have been subjected to serious contamination, it may not be necessarry to destroy or discard the clothing, since it can be made safe by laundering or simply waiting for the radioactivity to decay.

To Sum Up...

Americans are hard to scare. Of course, we are worried anout the forces science has unlocked. We would not be intelligent human beings otherwise.

But this problem can be solved - by American ingenuity and careful preparation -


See you local Civil Defense Office


Let Civil Defense help you to help yourself and the Nation to be prepared.

The Virtual Atomic Museum

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