The guiding principle of radiation safety is “ALARA”. ALARA stands for “as low as reasonably achievable”. This principle means that even if it is a small dose, if receiving that dose has no direct benefit, you should try to avoid it. To do this, you can use three basic protective measures in radiation safety: time, distance, and shielding.
In a radiation emergency you may be asked to get inside a building and take shelter for a period of time.
- To shield yourself from a radiation source, put something between you and the source.
- In a radiation emergency, officials may instruct you to get inside and put as many walls between you and the outside as possible. This is another way to use shielding.
- Protective clothing can shield first responders from alpha and beta particles, but will not protect them from gamma rays. Standing behind a wall or a fire truck can also serve as a shield.
- Page last reviewed: December 7, 2015
- Page last updated: December 7, 2015
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