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No, You Shouldn’t Buy Anti-Radiation Meds: Alaska Emergency Officials

Fallout shelter sign. Getty Images
Fallout shelter sign. Getty Images

PALMER, Alaska — Reports that experts here want residents to purchase anti-radiation medication are completely untrue, officials with Alaska’s emergency management office said Thursday.

A recent news story quoted Jeremy Zidek, an agency spokesman, as advising residents to buy Prussian Blue, a type of medication used to treat certain types of radiation poisoning, as part of their personal emergency response preparations.

But Bryan Fisher, the agency’s chief of operations, said Zidek’s interview was incorrectly reported by the U.K.-based Mirror, which has since edited the article to remove the reference to the medication. What hasn’t been edited, however, is the article as posted to a variety of other websites, including the Daily Mail.

Alaska is more closely tied to actions in North Korea than many residents realize.

It could be within missile shot of a weapon launched from North Korea, and Fort Greely, located in the state’s interior, is home to a complex U.S. missile defense system. And a national tsunami warning center located here is the first location in the world to know when an underground nuclear test is conducted thanks to its collection of high-tech seismic monitors.  

Yet the state does not have an emergency plan specifically to address a nuclear strike, and does not plan to develop one, Fisher said. Instead, officials continue to tell residents to develop a plan that can be used in any type of emergency situation.

“Our message is, really, if you’re concerned about everything that is in the international media, you should also be prepared for the snow we got today, just like you should be prepared for an earthquake, or a nuclear attack, or an oil spill, or something like that,” he said.

And even if state officials were developing a plan specifically to address a nuclear threat, Fisher said his organization would never recommend Prussian Blue.

“That particular brand of anti-radiation medicine is really not for a nuclear blast or a nuclear weapon,” he said. “It’s not really a countermeasure to a nuclear weapon … so we would not have said that.”

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