Credit Card Size
A FEW MINUTES OF RADIATION TRAINING
Today’s first responders are very busy with various responsibilities. Responding to a radiation emergency is just only one of them. They may face radiation incidents which may include nuclear bomb, dirty bomb, mishap at a nuclear reactor (e.g., Chernobyl, Ukraine) and a mishandling of a radiation source (e.g., Goiania, Brazil)1,2,3,4,5,6. Hence, we have prepared a few minutes of introductory radiation training for first responders (which can also be used by general public). Detailed information on this complex matter is in some of the references cited.
Basic information: Avoid unnecessary exposure to ionizing radiation (e.g., gamma or X-rays); in large enough amounts they can cause cancer, injuries and death. Diagnostic dosages (chest X-rays = ~0.05 rad/0.5mSv and CT scan = ~1 rad/10 mSv) are considered acceptable risks (except for fetus and children)7,8,9. Public is advised to limit their exposure to 5 rad/50 mSv per year and 25 rad/250 mSv for lifetime and emergency workers to 50 rad/500 mSv10,11. There are no symptoms or medical treatment below ~50 rad/500 mSv exposure. Contact an emergency room if exposed to dosages higher than 50 rad/500 mSv. Depending upon the dose and the dose period, nausea, vomiting and hair loss are usually the early symptoms after receiving radiation doses above 100 rad/1,000 mSv12,13. If you are contaminated go to the nearest place and take a shower.
Nuclear bomb explosion: If you hear a huge explosion and see an extremely bright flash, drop and cover yourself for a few minutes. Keep eyes closed. Dangerous level of radioactive materials can fall (fallout) over a few tens of square miles. The fallout from the explosion looks like sand, ash or grit. Fallout loses 90% of its radioactivity every 7 hours, 99% in 2 days and 99.9% in 2 weeks, so stay indoors far from outside and behind heavy materials14,15,16,17,18,19.
Dirty bomb/RDD: The major objectives of a radiological dispersion device (RDD) are to cause panic, worry and mass disruption. The radioactivity of the barely noticeable fallout is likely to be very low and limited to a few miles. While the area may be deemed unlivable, barely a few people may get doses higher than 5 rad/50 mSv. There is no need to panic20,21,22,23,24,25.
Accident at a nuclear power plant/reactor: If it is a minor radiation leakage, it is extremely unlikely you will receive a harmful dose. If the accident is major/serious, e.g., a meltdown (as that of Chernobyl nuclear reactor, Ukraine), the dose could be fatal (>1,000 rad/10,000 mSv) for those who are near the reactor. Remain behind a thick object/wall or basement. Wait for instructions from the authority/government26,27.
Improper handling of radiation sources: You will learn about these types of incidents (e.g., that of Goiania, Brazil) only after a handler is seriously injured. Once the incident becomes known, do not go near the affected area unless permitted by the authority28,29,30. If you had been near the incident for a prolonged time, contact the authority. In case of a mishap with a X-ray or radiation therapy type machine, only the operator or patient may get over-exposed.
To minimize panic & worry purchase a radiation dosimeter: It is less likely that a radiation incident will occur and you will receive a dose higher 5 rad/50 mSv. However, you cannot know how much dose you have received without a personal dosimeter31. Accidents due to panic can cause more injuries and deaths than exposure to radiation32.
Therefore, to minimize panic and worry, carry a dosimeter, e.g., wearable, instantly color-developing, pre-calibrated, always ready, reliable, rugged, federally funded and tested33, field proven and affordable SIRAD® (RADTriage34 or RADSticker35 ) for monitoring and triaging exposure information and treatment. RADSticker35 which
weighs only 0.2 gram can be applied on many objects. A SIRAD may compliment, but cannot replace any other dosimeter/detector you may be required to use.
Credit card size Post office stamp size
Pioneer of Casualty Dosimeters
and Nano-Conversion Technology