The possibility of war is still just a possibility, but Tuesday's exchange between President Trump and North Korea left many wondering about possible global conflict. More specifically, you may already be thinking about where the safest place to hide in a nuclear war is, because if it does come to that, you should probably consider how best to protect yourself.
In this scenario, let's assume you don't have the physical means or time to travel to one of the safest cities in the world during nuclear war. Instead, you're forced to find safety locally. In 2010, a collection of government agencies published a useful Planning Guide For Response To Nuclear Detonation that detailed the best and worst buildings to hide in during nuclear fallout.
Unsurprisingly, the best nuclear fallout shelters are buildings constructed from thick brick or concrete that have basements, or inhabitable window-free areas. The poorest shelters during nuclear war are houses or buildings without basements, buildings with lots of windows, and buildings made of lightweight materials.
During a talk on surviving nuclear attacks, U.S. specialist on disaster preparedness Irwin Redlener shared that secured basements or higher apartment floors are the safest options. "You've got to get out of there. If you don't get out of there, you're going to be exposed to lethal radiation in very short order. If you can't get out of there, we want you to go into a shelter and stay there," said Redlener, as reported by Mirror UK.
"Now, a shelter in an urban area means you have to be either in a basement as deep as possible, or you have to be on a high floor — if it's a ground burst explosion, which it would be, higher than the ninth floor. So you have to be tenth floor or higher, or in the basement. But basically, you've got to get out of town as quickly as possible. And if you do that, you actually can survive a nuclear blast."
A 2014 study published in the journal Proceedings of the Royal Society A: Mathematical and Physical Sciences says if you're in the fallout area during the blast and your shelter is poor but you know of a shelter within 10 minutes' distance, then making your way there is worth it.
If you're aiming to take shelter that's about 15 minutes away, it's best to stay put. In fact, if you're secure, it's recommended that you ration food and keep yourself well-clothed (to protect your skin) for up to nine days while radiation settles. Then, you make your way out back into the apocalyptic Mad Max world. Hopefully, however, it will never come to this.