Glenn Reynolds has a very good, very timely article on the subject* that depresses me utterly. Not just because of the subject matter, which is gruesome, but necessary to contemplate. What’s depressing is that I grew up in the tail end of the Cold War, and I remember well drawing overlapping circles on a map of the tri-State area and concluding that there wasn’t a chance in Hell that I could get far enough from the primary blast zones if the balloon ever went up**. I did not mind in the slightest when history appeared to end in 1991.
But history doesn’t end, dammit. And we need to address our lack of a Civil Defense program.
*The very short version? Unless you’re in the “instant kill” zone of a nuke, if one goes off near you it is a very good idea to duck when you see the flash (thus making you less of a target for the wave of infrared radiation and blast wave of pulverized solid materials that will follow), find cover (thus increasing your changes of surviving the shock waves) and seek shelter-in-place (thus not only avoiding fallout, which is going be highly dangerous; it also will help minimize the confusion and panic that will come in the aftermath of a nuclear strike). The Obama administration is not being goofy by drawing from the 1950s Civil Defense programs; those programs were based on examinations of the aftermath of the Hiroshima and Nagasaki bombs, and the conclusions make sense.
**Fort Monmouth. Had the 513th Military Intelligence Brigade at the time. Worth a bomb. Ten miles from my house.