Radiation accident



Warning signs

  • You hear or see an official warning message. A person himself/herself does not perceive radiation.
  • You hear or see a message about a serious accident at a nuclear power station in a neighbouring country or the use of a nuclear weapon in an armed conflict.
  • You see the radiation warning symbol on a vehicle involved in an accident, a damaged container or a suspicious item.

How to prepare for a radiation accident

How to act upon receiving a radiation warning

  • Follow the information and codes of conduct issued by authorities.
  • Cover all open wells.
  • Bring pets inside and cover their fodder.
  • Be ready to shelter indoors.
  • The less you stay outside or in a contaminated area, the smaller the radiation dose and the damage incurred.
  • The farther you are from the radiation source, the smaller the radiation dose.
  • Any shelter reduces the radiation dose.
  • Do not consume iodine tablets unless instructed to do so by Estonian authorities.
  • If the radiation accident happened in a foreign state, the impact on Estonia is generally restricted due to distance. The codes of conduct distributed in Estonia may differ from those of other countries. In Estonia, one must follow the instructions given specifically via Estonian channels.

How to act in case of a radiation accident


  • Protect your respiratory tract and skin in radioactively contaminated areas (wet cloth over the nose and mouth, clothes that fully cover the body).
  • Do not eat, drink or smoke in a contaminated area.
  • Shelter quickly in the closest room indoors. (See Chapter “Sheltering Indoors”.)
  • If you have stayed in a contaminated area, remove all clothes that were exposed to the contamination before going indoors, seal them in a plastic bag and leave it outside. Wash yourself with soap.


  • Remain indoors and close your doors and windows, shut off the ventilation and dampers to the chimney to make sure that ambient air cannot get inside.
  • Choose a place for sheltering, one that is isolated from the external environment in the best and most definitive manner (basement, behind several walls, a room without windows in the middle of the building, etc.).
  • Consume packed food and tap water or bottled water previously stored at home.
  • Follow the warning message transmitted through Estonian media by the authorities and follow the code of conduct.
  • Stay inside until you get a notice that the danger has passed.
  • Be ready for an order to evacuate. Assemble the essential items you will need. (See Chapter “Evacuation”.)
  • In the event of a single large dose of radiation, health problems will emerge within a couple of days, the symptoms of which are, for example, redness of the skin, nausea and vomiting. If you have any of these symptoms, report it via the emergency number 112.
  • When the danger has passed, follow the instructions and restrictions of authorities.