The social and economic cost of evacuating lots of people is very high, and authorities naturally want to avoid such measures. It will therefore be up to the individual people to decide whether evacuation is necessary. The obvious precautions include: staying indoors with the windows firmly shut, closing any ventilation system, bring in any wash hanging outside on the line, bringing in any domestic pets, sealing off open fireplaces, put away carpets and hard to clean dust-collecting items such as clothing and curtains. If you get dust or smoke on you, take two or three showers. Leave your shoes outside the house. Keep children away from play areas and sandpits. Afterward check these areas carefully. Cover your vegetable garden with plasic. Avoid eating local produce unless you know the level of contamination. Keep a stock of fresh, covered water and food free of fallout. Refrigerated foods should be ok. Wash clothing and bed linen every day. If you have to go out in the rain, cover yourself with waterproof clothing and rubber boots. Cover your mouth and nose with a damp disposable cloth. to prevent swallowing or inhaling radioactive particles. Avoid consuming fresh milk or dairy products from anywhere in the area. Concrete buildings (90% safe) are safer than wooden ones (50% safe.) The highest levels of fall out occur close to the plant, particularly less voltile actinides and alpha emitters, that are easily blown around and suspended in air. These can be breathed in and are carried into coastal waters and lakes, where they are concentrated in bottom dwellers and bacteria, and there enter the food chain. Fertilizing the ground with potash or potassium causes less ground intake of caesium. Poorer soils are more radioactive. Consuming kelp protects the thyroid by causing less uptake of radioactive iodine. Nuclear installations are usually far from populated areas, therefore the chance of experiencing a chernoble-type disaster is practically nil. The plan is usually to evacuate people within a few kilometers of the plant. IF IT RAINSObviously, not all localities are measured for fall-out, and some areas will be entirely missed (especially in the countryside) and people who live there left in ignorance. What we have learned is we should be on our guard if it rains heavily at a time when the radioactive cloud is somewhere in the vicinity. If there is contaminated air in the vicinity, we should not go outside, nor drink rainwater, and not go for a swim. Animals must be sheltered and kept inside for many weeks. This reduces the exposure to short-lived radio-isotopes like iodine-131. Contamination of food will be a problem where fall-out has contaminated the supply of wheat and feed. Wild vegetation tends to be more efficient at concentrating radioactive material than well-fertilized domestic crops. Game animals that live on these plants are likely to have higher levels of radioactivity compared with domestic ones. Some buildings are more effective in shielding us from radiation than are others. The best protection is found in an air-tight building, concrete blocks or apartments. The traditional wooden structures are less protective. If you remain in the area, you might move to a prefabricated air tight home. Filters in an air cleaning system will have to be replaced following a radioactive event, and care must be taken when changing and disposing of the contaminated filters. If iodine tablets were not issued, uptake of radio iodine may be lessed by consuming kelp. The main task after a major radiation release should not be to hose down vehicles, roads, buildings, because that only disperses the particles into the soil; the main task is to confine the contamination and dispose of it at a safe site. When the source of radioactive contamination is closed and secured, the task of collecting fall-out begins. The Soviets sprayed a light, sticky plastic film over the surface of the ground, which was later gathered and disposed. The first few centimeters of topsoil have to be taken to a secure landfill site. Buildings can be coated with special paint, and roads may be tarred to bind radioactive fallout for collection and disposal. Radiation levels in the Ukraine increased over three years before returning to May 1986 levels. As we learned from the Chernoble accident, we can expect, measured high radioactivity in livestock to increase six months after the initial fall-out. If the initial weather conditions are rain when the vented plumes surface and reach locales and communities, the levels of radioactive caesium in livestock will continue to increase in those areas.