Geiger Counter Essentials After a Nuclear Catastrophe
Immediately after the Fukushima disaster in Japan many people started considering the need for Geiger counters. It's a great idea to have one nearby, since a nuclear catastrophe like the one that happened in Japan is a possibility anywhere there's a nuclear plant.
Indeed, the ability to detect nuclear radiation in and around the home and workplace may become as commonplace as a standard weather thermometer, especially for people living or working near a nuclear facility. It's no wonder that sales of Geiger counters jumped dramatically following Fukushima with an entire nation concerned with radiation levels and public safety.
What is a Geiger Counter?
Basically, a Geiger counter is a device used to detect and measure ionizing nuclear radiation, which is radiation caused by the breakdown of atomic isotopes. Geiger counters are able to detect alpha, beta and gamma rays. The design is fairly simple: a gas-filled tube generates and electrical pulse when an atomic particle passes through it. This pulse is then amplified, counted and displayed on a meter. The level of radiation is determined by the number and frequency of measured pulses.
Following a nuclear accident the most important use of a Geiger counter is to detect the contamination of the immediate environment; you must know if your food and water are safe.
Geiger Counter as Your Nuclear Radiation Survival Essential
Beyond protecting your ingestibles, a Geiger counter can help you with other important radiation detection tasks such as measurement of personal exposure and radioactive fallout or residue carried by dust and wind.
If we are speaking of a hand held Geiger counter, you should look for the following features :
Audible Alert – This will allow you to set an alarm that will be heard should excess levels be detected.
Certified Calibration - Any Geiger counter you buy should have been factory calibrated against a standard test source like Cobalt or Cesium, which signed calibration certificate included.
Full Range Detection - any useful radiation detector must be able to detect and measure all 3 forms of ionizing radiation: alpha , beta, and gamma. If your Geiger counter doesn't measure all 3, don't buy it!
Long Battery Life - Some Geiger counters on the market offer battery life up to 10 years. The advantage of having an always ready device, never having to worry about batteries, is a big plus.
Memory Storage - Since tissue damage from radiation occurs cumulatively, your Geiger counter should have a memory function that allow measurement of exposure over time. Up to 1 year storage history is best.
Learning how to properly store and use a Geiger counter during a nuclear catastrophe will prepare you should the unthinkable occur. Your Geiger counter should always be in an easily accessible place, be full charged and ready to operate, and should be checked periodically against a test source to make sure the Geiger-Mueller tube has not been damaged.
And as part of every household's emergency survival kit the Geiger counter will join a first aid kit, flashlight, batteries, face masks, drinking water and some food, as the essentials necessary to survive an unpredictable radioactive disaster, whether from nuclear plant of terrorist bomb.
It's a fact, everyone should add a Geiger counter to their list of essential survival tools.