Is a Geiger Counter a Smart Purchase?

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Wayne
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Is a Geiger Counter a Smart Purchase?

Post by Wayne » Sat Mar 03, 2018 4:36 pm

There're many disasters that could occur that would result in a higher than normal release of radiation. Living a 1000 km away from a nuclear reactor site or large city that may be targeted by the enemy is no guarantee that you will be prepared (or even know about) the fallout that will be an extreme hazard.

When considering this I thought about the practicality of having a Geiger counter. On one hand it would be something cool to have, but on the other I'm not too sure if it's practical. After all I don't think that a nuclear incident is likely possible to occur that I wouldn't find out about (a mushroom cloud in the distance would give it away) :-)

In looking at the Geiger counters usually available for purchase, the bulk of them have a maximum reading of less than 1000 microsievert or one millisievert or 0.1 Rad per hour. To put this in-perspective, a human being (dependent upon previous radiation exposure) can absorb about 100 Rads in a single dosage which would cause radiation sickness (including nausea, lower white blood cell count). This is usually non-fatal however 5% of those afflicted will develop a fatal form of cancer later in life.

If in this context I have a Geiger counter that has a maximum reading of 0.1 rads per hour, I have 1000 hours to het out of the area! If the radiation is much higher, I would have no idea nor would I be able to estimate my survivability. What is required is a Counter that measures a much higher measurement. What am I missing here????


None you improvise, one (or more) is luxury.

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helicopilot
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Re: Is a Geiger Counter a Smart Purchase?

Post by helicopilot » Sat Mar 03, 2018 8:44 pm

I would say that the concern is to buy a gimmick that wouldn't be nearly accurate enough to give you a decent idea. I'll give you an idea. I bought a 3 pack of soil testers (humidity, light and I forgot the 3rd one). They all looked legit. Put all 3 of them side by each in a pot and they all gave me significantly different readings. Even after soaking the soil to a mud-like consistency, one of the readers was still indicating in the "dry" range.

Another time, I bought a pulse oximeter for my personal medical bag. I bought it from a reputable store, but at ~$120, was considerably cheaper than the brands used by medical professionals. During one of my shifts on ambulance, I brought it to compare the results with a "real" one and the differences were such that it made mine entirely untrustworthy.

Where am I going with this? I was able to find out those were junk and didn't serve the purpose intended. How would you know your geiser counter is actually remotely accurate? Unless you can find one that would be purchased by government officials or hazmat teams, I believe you risk just buying yourself a gimmick too.

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Wayne
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Re: Is a Geiger Counter a Smart Purchase?

Post by Wayne » Sat Mar 03, 2018 10:16 pm

An excellent point. I suppose it's like anything else, there are items that are certified and those that aren't. Fortunately radiation is a hazard for the medical and nuclear power industry and workers must have a means to track radiation for worker safety. Various films are used to track exposure, I don't question the accuracy of some devices, but there usefulness in an applied way. Cost is obviously a factor.

I agree with you. It seems that many of the Geiger counters available are for the novice to fool around with. Equipment that is practical is another matter. As always, thanks for your thoughtful comments.
None you improvise, one (or more) is luxury.

scrounger
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Re: Is a Geiger Counter a Smart Purchase?

Post by scrounger » Sun Mar 04, 2018 12:10 am

I guess if one trusts their government completely then perhaps it is not needed for prepping purposes. Maybe just for "fun"

https://www.herald.co.zw/japan-and-the-big-nuclear-lie/

https://www.washingtonpost.com/archive/ ... 264776a57f

Of course you should also stock up on iodine pills.

https://www.thestar.com/news/gta/2015/1 ... ution.html

Here is some light reading on detection devices.

https://www.remm.nlm.gov/civilian.htm
I reserve the right to be a blowhard. Blaster

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Wayne
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Re: Is a Geiger Counter a Smart Purchase?

Post by Wayne » Sun Mar 04, 2018 1:03 pm

Thanks scrounger; this is great information on the types and limitations of counters!
None you improvise, one (or more) is luxury.

thecrownsown
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Re: Is a Geiger Counter a Smart Purchase?

Post by thecrownsown » Mon Mar 19, 2018 8:39 pm

My personal thought on this. Having one isn't a bad idea. Its a low probability event, but the pay off knowing about a spike in radiation ahead of time is immense. I'm not about a nuclear war, but instead about the every day uses and applications of radioactive materials. In a nuclear war..I'm running towards the flash..we're all gonna go...just make it quick. ;)

I am probably bias, because recently I've been watching a lot of doc's on historical nuclear disasters. NOVA puts out some great content. Whether its Chernobyl, Fukashima, Windscale, 3 Mile...and yes even the Bruce in Ontario (albeit decades ago) or the number of other nuclear incidents...the one thing they have in common....information to the general public is lacking, and woefully late. Whether its an authority having jurisdiction, or a company at fault..and whether willful or not... for some reason emergency measures and notifications come to slow or even after the fact. Either people are exposed such as in Chernobyl...or a near disaster is avoided so the unsuspecting public was largely spared the worst but should have been evacuated..and they "lucked out." (3 mile.)

Having that "heads up" that something is wrong can be helpful. Even if it means something as simple as sheltering in place and turning off the furnace. Radiation is odourless, colourless..and really not detectable without a Geiger counter.

There are a number of smaller nuclear events that occur, that are also low probability..but with grave consequences. we've all heard about Alexander Litvinenko (sp?) who died from being poisoned by Polonium in his Tea. What isn't mentioned as much...the 100's of normal people around him and the room he was poisoned in that were exposed unknowingly. To date..the government doesnt' know the full extent or what the long term effects will be.

I bought one recently and have toyed around with it and am glad I have it. It sits in the console of my truck or in the home. It has an alarm that goes off if background radiation exceeds whats considered normal. Is it military or research grade? Nope. Top of the line? not even close. But for $130 bucks (i think) it offers quite a bit of information.
https://www.internationalpreppersnetwork.net/viewtopic.php?f=57&t=7738

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