In a nuclear attack against the United States, people very close to an explosion - in the area of total destruction - would blast resistant buildingsbe killed by blast or by extreme heat of the nuclear fireball. People just outside this area - in the area of heavy destruction - would be severely affected by the blast, heat, initial nuclear radiation, fallout radiation and fires. People in the fringe area would be subjected to lesser blast, heat and fire hazards. People outside the fringe area would not be affected by the blast, heat or fires. To them and to the survivors closer to the point of explosion (ground zero), radioactive fallout might be the main danger.

Rational design can enhance man's chances of surviving the hostile environment created by a nuclear explosion. This does not mean the design and construction of special shelter facilities but simply the application of appropriate design techniques to try and create fire and blast resistant buildings. Some degree of protection can be achieved without compromising the primary function of the building or adversely affecting appearance or cost. Protected areas need not be recognizable as shelters.

In this 15-page guide issued by the Federal Emergency Management Agency, you can read up on basic concepts of design techniques in order to work on having fire and blast resistant buildings for increased protection. This guide will open your eyes to the possibility of improving the buildings' design so that they can provide increased protection.

Topics Covered

  • Preface
  • Introduction
  • The Influence of Nuclear Explosions on Building Design
  • The Plan for Survival
  • Principles of Protective Design
    • Thermal Radiation
    • Fires
    • Blast
  • Selected References