Radiation Emergency

Emergency guidelines in the event of a radiation emergency



Signs of danger:

  • You hear or see an official danger warning. Humans are unable to perceive radioactive radiation.
  • You hear or see a report of a major accident at a nuclear power plant in a nearby country or the use of a nuclear weapon in an armed conflict.
  • You see a radiation warning symbol on a vehicle involved in an accident, a damaged container, or a suspicious object.

How to be prepared for a radiation accident

  • Make preparations at home so that you can take refuge indoors in the event of a radiological emergency – In the event of radioactive contamination, you may receive official instructions for taking shelter in your basement. Find out if your basement or underground floor has an interior room, preferably one without windows, that is suitable for taking shelter.
  • Inspect your home supplies and technical aids.
  • Familiarise yourself with the symbols of a radiation hazard so that you can recognise a hazard.

How to proceed after receiving a radiation accident warning

  • Follow the information provided by the authorities and follow the emergency guidelines.
  • Cover open wells.
  • Bring domestic animals indoors and cover the feed.
  • Prepare to take shelter indoors.

What to do in the event of a radiation accident:

  • Protect your respiratory tract and skin in radioactively contaminated areas (a wet cloth in front of the mouth and nose, clothing that covers your entire body).
  • Do not eat, drink, or smoke in contaminated areas.
  • Quickly seek shelter in the nearest indoor space.
  • If you have been in a contaminated area, remove contaminated clothing, pack it in an airtight plastic bag, and leave it outside before going indoors.
  • Wash yourself with soap.
  • Stay indoors and close doors, windows, ventilation, and flue dampers to prevent outside air from entering.
  • Choose a place to take shelter that is the most secure and secluded from the outside environment (basement, behind multiple walls, a room without windows inside a building, etc.).
  • Consume pre-packaged food and tap or bottled water that you have stored at home.
  • Monitor danger warnings provided by the Estonian media and follow the emergency guidelines.
  • Continue to take shelter in place until the all-clear has been given.
  • Be prepared to receive an order to evacuate. Put together the essentials to do so.
  • A single high dose of radiation will cause health problems within a few days, with symptoms such as reddening of the skin, nausea, and vomiting. If you experience any of these symptoms, call the emergency number 112.
  • Once the threat has passed, follow the instructions and restrictions of authorities.

Good to know

  • The less time you spend outdoors or in a contaminated area, the lower the radiation dose and damage.
  • The further away you are from the radiation source, the lower the radiation dose will be.
  • Any sort of shelter reduces the radiation dose.
  • Do not take iodine tablets unless instructed to do so by Estonian authorities.
  • If a radiation accident has taken place abroad, the impact on Estonia will generally be limited due to the distance. The emergency guidelines issued in Estonia may differ from those in other countries. While in Estonia, you must follow the instructions given via Estonian channels.