1. JadeX

    JadeX Senior Member

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    What would you loot from an abandoned Wal-Mart days after a nuclear attack?

    Discussion in 'Research' started by JadeX, Sep 27, 2017.

    In the scene I'm writing now, it is 3 days after a limited nuclear exchange. The fallout warnings in the local area have been lifted, and my MC and his family are experiencing the outside world for the first time since the attacks. They stop at a Wal-Mart on their way out of the city, and find that it's deserted, with the lights off, and very obvious evidence of looting; broken cash registers, toppled shelves, etc. Social order hasn't been restored yet in any form - looting is, for the time being, fair game.

    It's 3 days later, and this is just after the dangerous fallout has passed, so the store hasn't quite been picked clean yet. Let's say there's about a 50/50 chance you'll find what you're looking for. What are some of the things you would look for if you were in this situation?
     
  2. ChickenFreak

    ChickenFreak Contributor Contributor

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    Water purification pills.
    Seeds.
    Whatever food is maximum calories for minimum weight and volume.
    Whatever clothing is maximum warmth for minimum weight and volume.
    Antibiotics, prescription and otherwise.
    Luggage to carry stuff in--duffels, that kind of thing.
    Whatever looks best for storing/carrying water in.
    Water.
    Batteries
    Flashlights.
    Emergency radio(s)
    Stuff for starting fires.
    Sleeping bags.

    OK, my brain ran down. I suspect the list could go to dozens more items.
     
  3. Shadowfax

    Shadowfax Contributor Contributor

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    Canned food.

    Nothing else, it will have been irradiated (I'm not even certain about the canned food)
     
  4. MythMachine

    MythMachine Active Member

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    I'd probably focus on first aid items and tools. A crowbar would be very useful. If there are no running vehicles as an option, I would consider looting a bike for the increased mobility. Perhaps some stuff for hygiene, and vitamins. Clothing (especially a good pair of boots), depending on the weather, and a sturdy backpack to carry everything in (not the bike, of course). I might grab a rifle and ammo for hunting. If the Walmart was within range of the nuclear blast, I'd probably avoid the food, as Shadowfax suggested.
     
  5. newjerseyrunner

    newjerseyrunner Contributor Contributor

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    Drugs, seeds, canned stuff, first aid, rubbing alcohol, foil, paper and pens
     
  6. Damien Loveshaft

    Damien Loveshaft Active Member

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    Food, gardening tools, seeds, first aid, flashlight, batteries.
     
  7. Stormsong07

    Stormsong07 Contributor Contributor

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    I'm with y'all on the seeds. Fruits and veggies and herbs.
    batteries, flashlights
    canned food, dry goods
    drugs
    protein powders and drinks
    diapers
    clothes
    blankets
    suitcase for it all
    bottled water, and a big container to store water
    camping equipment- tent, firestarters, water purification tablets, those ration meals that you just heat up, etc
    tarps
    a wagon- like a kiddie wagon to carry stuff if we're on foot. Also backpacks for the same reason
    radio- preferably one of those ones that winds up so you don't have to worry about power
    walkie-talkies
    knives, weapons, guns? Does Walmart carry guns? I don't even know lol

    probably more, but i ran out of steam lol
     
  8. TWErvin2

    TWErvin2 Contributor Contributor

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    Medicines, water purification tablets, batteries, female hygiene products, preserved foods, ammunition, fishing gear, if you have to travel, backpacks, wagons or luggage carts, etc., hand axe, solar powered charger, lighters/matches, antiseptics/alcohol, boots.
     
  9. Simpson17866

    Simpson17866 Contributor Contributor

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    Yes it has ;)

    On Black Friday, you have two groups of people:
    1. Those who get in line.
    2. Those who decide not to bother because they know how crazy the Black Friday line is.
    In a post-apocalyptic scenario, you will not have this second group.
     
  10. Moon

    Moon Waking Contributor

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    Currently Reading::
    The Workings of Kamma: (Second Revised Edition)
    The boring shit like food, water, blah blah blah. Then the real loot,

    [​IMG]
     
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  11. Cave Troll

    Cave Troll It's Coffee O'clock everywhere. Contributor

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    Well batteries and electronics would be useless due to EMP.
    Anything kept in glass would be alright; beer, spirits, water, etc.
    Maybe canned food, and vacuum sealed foods, or foods kept
    in foil. And basically whatever junk one could want that does
    not need a plug or batteries.

    Well it all depends really, cause chances are you will get irradiated
    by fallout. It can take up to about a month for the radiation to settle
    from the air, but that does not make it any less radioactive. If the
    bomb was salted with some kind of heavy metal (gold, etc.) then
    you might have higher odds of getting radiation poisoning and
    heavy metal toxicity as well. So you won't be doing much three
    days afterward if you really want to live to a decent age, unless
    you have sodium iodide or something to protect your thyroid.
    It takes at a minimum 20,000 years for a nuke site to become
    completely radiation free, but the effects of it will lessen with the
    years (Hiroshima and Nagasaki are still around), but it takes more
    than a few days for the radiation to decay to even 'safe' levels
    for people to live worry free.

    So if Joe Shmoe wants to go and raid Wally World 3 days after
    a nuke goes off, then he will likely get radiation poisoning to
    some degree and then die. :p
     
  12. big soft moose

    big soft moose An Admoostrator Staff Supporter Contributor Community Volunteer

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    not necessarily - the EMP only takes out stuff which is operating t the time of the pulse

    That aside I wouldnt bother looting walmart at first - I'd head straight for the nearest military base for an NBC suit and some serious hardware - only then would i hit walmart for food and bottled water before heading for the countryside
     
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  13. JadeX

    JadeX Senior Member

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    No it wouldn't be. We're 30 miles from the nearest blast, the only danger is fallout, which is essentially dust. Anything stored indoors is safe, and anything found outdoors is safe as long as you clean it off.


    The military is still operating, and ratcheting up their operations for the recovery. If you try to go to a military base, you'll get shot.
     
  14. Cave Troll

    Cave Troll It's Coffee O'clock everywhere. Contributor

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    Actually it is much more interesting than that.
    http://www.offthegridnews.com/grid-threats/5-surprising-items-that-will-survive-an-end-of-the-world-emp-attack/

    But since the power grid will be down, they will be largely useless, along with mass communication systems.
     
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  15. newjerseyrunner

    newjerseyrunner Contributor Contributor

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    Couple of points. The majority of danger from radiation comes from fallout, not the blast. If you are upwind of the blast, you will likely be fine. The small amount of it that will circle the globe will not be problematic. The USA and Soviet Union detonated tons of atmosphere bombs and side effects in far away lands were negligible and very long term.

    Furthermore, hydrogen bombs don't have fallout, their physics is completely different than a nuke.

    EMP would not drain batteries or anything like that. That's not how it works. The EMP is one, powerful blast. This creates powerful currents through anything conductive. The reason it destroyed microprocessors is because that current is too high for the microwires to handle and they burn. Batteries have thick metal cases and are heavily insulated between the two ends. The current will go right through the metal case, and may heat it up a little, but not affect the potential energy difference. Thick wires will also not burn unless they are very long and can build up a current over a long distance. The copper wire in your house will likely not be affected. The reason power lines would be destroyed even though they are so thick is because of how long they are and how much of a current they can build up over their entire length.
     
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  16. big soft moose

    big soft moose An Admoostrator Staff Supporter Contributor Community Volunteer

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    Arent most hydrogen bombs triggered by a nuke to get the reaction going ?
     
  17. newjerseyrunner

    newjerseyrunner Contributor Contributor

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    You're right. I'm aware of conventional ways to build a thermonuclear weapon without a trigger, but I can't find any documentation that we actually did.
     
  18. JadeX

    JadeX Senior Member

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    Okay, a few things here. First, there's a difference between "radiation" and "radioactive fallout" - the ionizing radiation created by the blast will only affect the immediate blast area. That radiation will then irradiate the particles of dust, dirt, debris, etc. that is thrown into the air by the blast - this is the fallout. The fallout is radioactive, but it's essentially just a dust/sand-like substance. It can be cleaned off of things with relative ease.

    The radioactivity of fallout is the most dangerous within the first 24 to 48 hours, and then it rapidly decays. You may still get sick from prolonged exposure to it days later, but it won't be anywhere close to a lethal dose (especially not when you're 30 miles from the nearest blast, like my characters are).

    As for the "20,000 years" figure you mentioned - this is where people lose sight of the difference between fallout from nuclear weapons, and fallout from nuclear power plants meltdowns/explosions. The "20,000 years" figure was originally stated in relation to the habitability of the Chernobyl area after the 1986 meltdown. The radiation produced when a nuclear power plants melts down and explodes is much more dangerous than the fallout and residual radiation, combined, from nuclear weapons. The "20,000 years" figure does not apply at all. In reality, you're looking at - at most - 50 to 100 years, worst case scenario. More like 5 to 10, though, for most low to medium yield weapons.

    Even if that figure were accurate, it would only apply for the area located directly around the blast site, not 30+ miles away where my characters are. The only danger my characters have ever faced is the fallout, and now the worst of that has passed. They don't have to worry about lethal fallout anymore, but they will still have to deal with non-lethal fallout that can make them sick, which will still be a concern for a month or two.

    So, no, going outside 3 days later and 30 miles away is not instant death, not anywhere close. You'll only get radiation poisoning if you linger around outside for a while, and even then, it isn't going to be fatal.

    /endrant

    Sorry, it just really irritates me when people blatantly disregard all the research I've done. There's a lot of myths and misconceptions out there and I've done literally years of research trying to break through all that crap and get down to the facts.

    All I asked is what you'd take from an abandoned store, not what the effects of nuclear weapons are - I can answer that part for myself, I just wanted insight on what sorts of supplies people would think to be most useful. Please, just stick to my question and we'll get along fine. : )
     
    Last edited: Sep 28, 2017
  19. Cave Troll

    Cave Troll It's Coffee O'clock everywhere. Contributor

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    Firstly, you never specified what type of nuke was used (fission or fusion, nor how big).
    Secondly radiation sickness takes in acute poisoning 45 minutes to kill, while in indirect
    poisoning can take days. So not instant death.
    Thirdly wind would carry fallout for miles from the blast zone. And we have bigger and
    better bombs that can destroy the big cities now. So unless a small tactical nuke was used,
    chances are (given you are using a bigger bomb) you would feel some residual fallout. Even
    30 miles away.

    Be more economical to throw a rod from high orbit, and just watch the magic happen. :p
    Gravity is an evil force when you know how to use it.
    Just for fun, a ship the size of a small house can destroy a planet going roughly 99% C.
    Bit like a what happens when you shoot an apple, but on a much bigger scale. :p
     
  20. newjerseyrunner

    newjerseyrunner Contributor Contributor

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    You're actually off by many orders of magnitude. Try 99.999% the speed of light (when you approach the speed of light, those additional nines get way harder to reach.) I did the math a while ago to figure out how fast the shuttle (which weighs 2 million pounds) would have to hit the earth to release as much energy as the dinosaur killer.
     
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  21. JadeX

    JadeX Senior Member

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    It's set in the near-future (2022), so it would be modern-sized nukes, which are actually smaller than the ones deployed during the Cold War. The big nukes you speak of, that can level entire cities, were developed mostly in the 1950s and 1960s to make up for the inaccuracies of missile technology and bombing techniques of the day - if you destroy everything for 3 miles, it won't matter if you hit half a mile off-target. Weapons are much more accurate now, so the yield can be decreased - modern nukes are generally anywhere from 50 kilotons to 1 megaton. (Russia still deploys some very powerful bombs, up to 25 megatons, but they make up only a fraction of their arsenal.) Just for fun: Here's a site that lets you play around with different nuclear yields and observe their effects. Pretty neat.

    As far as the situation in my story goes, the nearest hit was at Travis Air Force Base, 27 miles away, hit with a 250-kiloton weapon. The second-nearest hit was San Francisco, 70 miles away, 600-kiloton weapon. Not exactly tactical nukes, as those are fairly big bombs by today's standards, but it's not quite to the level of Castle Bravo-style fallout (the kind that can make whole areas uninhabitable for years). It'll definitely be a hindrance on daily life, though - probably a good idea to stay inside, and not spend more than an hour or two a day outdoors and only when absolutely necessary. Fallout would still be a very big concern even after the first 3 days, it just wouldn't be lethal (though it can make you tremendously sick and make you wish you were dead! as my MC unfortunately learns at some point...)


    Anyway, back to the original topic - good idea a few people had, mentioning guns. Somehow I totally forgot Wal-Mart sells those. I do have a question on that matter, though: My story is set in California, and I know California has some of the toughest gun laws in the nation - would a Wal-Mart in California even have guns? If so, what kinds might there be (complying with CA law)?
    If the urban vs rural divide makes any difference here, the store in question is located on the outskirts of Sacramento.
     
  22. Cave Troll

    Cave Troll It's Coffee O'clock everywhere. Contributor

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    Well then, 30 mi. is a safe place to be when the henpecking
    happens. FAE could do the same thing with no fallout, in a
    3 mi. radius.

    And apparently California does not sell guns in their walmarts. (Back in 2003)
    https://www.cbsnews.com/news/wal-mart-stops-gun-sales-in-california/

    But some think they are going to one day.
    https://www.calguns.net/calgunforum/showthread.php?t=453885

    But they might still sell them now adays.:p IDK. They have gun
    stores. Better conclusion is don't live in Cali. :p
     
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  23. big soft moose

    big soft moose An Admoostrator Staff Supporter Contributor Community Volunteer

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    As i said before military base/ national guard armory is going to offer much better pickings than Walmart ... NBC suits, automatic weapons, vehicles that can literally go anywhere , fuel, preserved rations etc.
     
  24. peachalulu

    peachalulu Member Reviewer Contributor

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    occasionally Oz , mainly Canada
    guns and ammo,
    water
    tools
    any kind of hiking survival kit with compass and stuff
    a map
    medicine/ vitamins
    fresh clothes
    soap
    canned goods & can opener
    needle and thread
    flashlight & batteries
    matches
    candy
    backpacks
    a good knife
     
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  25. JadeX

    JadeX Senior Member

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    And as I said before, that's not an option. Half their bases may be gone, but the military is still fully capable of operation (after all, they're the ones spearheading the initial recovery efforts). Their bases are just as secure now as they always have been, if not more so. Going anywhere near a military base is a death wish. You're not getting inside one, and you're definitely not stealing from one. If you attempt it, it'll be the last thing you ever do.
     

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