Radiation protection – how to protect yourself from radiation in an emergency or at work

Alfred Felsberger

Radiation protection provides people with appropriate protective measures against the harmful effects of radiation. This applies to emergencies, but also in some professions.

The most effective way of radiation protection would be to renounce nuclear power. Private measures and correct behavior for radiation protection cannot prevent large-scale radiation in case of an emergency. But they can significantly reduce the harmful consequences.

When the radiation protection signal "Warning" (three minutes long continuous tone) sounds, one should turn on the radio or TV set. The relevant federal or. National warning centers immediately pass on information about the nature and extent of the disaster to the television stations, which immediately publish it.

It is advisable to avoid outdoor exposure after a radiation accident. In the "fresh air" the exposure is 100%, but in a solid building it drops to 0.6%. If there is no shelter or protective filter in the dwelling, at least the windows and doors should be sealed with adhesive tape.

Radiation protection – potassium iodine tablets and nutrition

In addition, it is advisable to stock up on potassium iodine tablets before a possible catastrophe. It is especially important to have a food supply for at least two weeks. 80% of radiation exposure occurs through food ingestion.

The basis for household stockpile is well preserved food with a lot of carbohydrates. For example, honey, sugar, rice, pasta, oatmeal, rusk, and packaged bread. Furthermore, condensed milk, processed cheese, canned fish, canned meat, long-life sausage as well as dried legumes contain a lot of protein and can also be kept for months. Finally, the need for fats can cover edible fat, oil or margarine.

The emergency menu can be enriched with canned vegetables, ready meals, spices, potato products, nuts and soluble coffee. Diet patients should have an adequate supply of their specialty foods. Sufficient infant food should be available for infants and small children. Water is particularly precious. Mineral water is suitable for stockpiling because of its long shelf life.


The best protection against radioactive radiation is a shelter. In this facility, the walls and ceiling are made of reinforced concrete. A safety room provides partial protection. This is an existing living room or basement – with special radiation filters consisting of HEPA and activated carbon filters and fan. The filter draws in the radiated outside air, cleans it and blows it into the room.

Basically, any measure, no matter how small, is useful. For example, sealed doors and windows can already reduce exposure by up to 90%. The adhesive tapes and foils (50 mm wide), however, should be obtained before the disaster occurs. In addition, protective clothing should be available for leaving the rooms at short notice.

Radiation protection at work

There is a need in various professions to pay attention to the individual radiation exposure of professionals. For example, there are basic concepts and methods for optimizing the maximum occupational dose in radiology.

It is true that if the radiation dose to the patients is reduced, then the dose to the personnel will also be reduced. Most tools and methods of occupational radiation protection are completely dependent on the operator. Various protective measures should be routinely and properly applied in this regard.

The individual dose depends on how well one follows goodvarious radiation protection practices. The only way to measure your own exposure is to wear a dosimeter. Finally, the annual dose to the individual should be well below 10 mSv / year, ideally in the range of 2 to 4 mSv / year.

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