Meteorite or Bomb: Duck and Cover, Doctors Say

Feb 26, 2013, 12:06 ET from Physicians for Civil Defense

TUCSON, Ariz., Feb. 26, 2013 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ -- On Feb 15,  a bus-sized meteorite hit Siberia with the energy of 20 atomic bombs. About 3,000 buildings in Chelyabinsk were damaged, and 1 million square feet of glass was shattered, according to an Associated Press report.

At least 1,000 people were injured, primarily by glass. Many had gone to the window to look at the brilliant flash, which was described as being brighter than the sun.

A Russian press agency quoted a nationalist leader as saying that the flash was caused by a new weapon being tested by the U.S.

"The explosion of a nuclear weapon would have a similar effect," stated Jane Orient, M.D., president of Physicians for Civil Defense. "First the flash, which travels at the speed of light, followed by the slower moving shock wave up to several minutes later."

This was the rationale for the old Civil Defense "duck and cover" drill, she stated. "This should be taught to everyone. If you ever see a flash, drop to the ground and take the best available cover."

People are eight times more likely to survive a blast lying down. People who are standing are likely to be hurled into a wall. "And you don't want glass shards in your eyes," she added.

This goes for the blast wave from any type of explosion, not just nuclear.

"Lack of this simple knowledge could cause millions of preventable casualties in this age of nuclear proliferation," Orient emphasizes. "The most essential information fits on a wallet-size card that Stephen Jones, special projects director for Physicians for Civil Defense, has distributed to thousands of first responders nationwide."

Schools and the press should distribute this information to all. But since this has not happened, Jones resorted to a 3,550 mile bicycle ride across the entire nation to deliver the message.

Previously, Jones and other volunteers delivered radiation monitoring equipment to all rural fire departments in Arizona by automobile, and prepared video of the trip, including the training sessions.

"The meteorite should be a wake-up call," Jones said.

Physicians for Civil Defense distributes information to help to save lives in the event of natural disaster, terrorism, or war.

Contact: Jane M. Orient, M.D., (520) 323-3110,

SOURCE Physicians for Civil Defense