Radiation is a type of energy. People are exposed to small amounts of radiation every day from sources such as sunlight. A radiation emergency would involve larger amounts of radiation and could be caused by
- Dirty bombs - a mix of explosives with radioactive powder
- Fallout from a nuclear bomb
- Accidental release from a nuclear reactor or a nuclear weapons plant
A lot of radiation over a short period can cause burns or radiation sickness. If the exposure is large enough, it can cause premature aging or even death.
Although there are no guarantees of safety during a radiation emergency, you can take actions to protect yourself. You should have a disaster plan. Being prepared can help reduce fear, anxiety and losses.
Centers for Disease Control and Prevention
- Frequently Asked Questions about Radiation Emergencies (Centers for Disease Control and Prevention)