Old Civil Defense Radiation Detectors


Do you have any means of detecting radiation?  I recently was talking to someone at a local fire department and found out that they still had a bunch of left over radiation detectors from the cold war that were no longer being used.  Anyway, after a quick small donation to the department, I left with several detectors including their manuals and documentation.  I ended up with two survey meters, a Geiger counter, a dosimeter charger and six dosimeters..

These are the old civil defense detectors that are still useful.  There are several models available, but if you can only get one, the best choice is the CDV715 area survey meter.  If you can, get at least one detector recalibrated.  The following website is a service that sells and recalibrates these detectors.  https://www.radmeters4u.com/#7b  Their website is very informative and provides lots of information on the subject of radiation and types of detectors.

The following comment is taken from their website.  If you have several detectors you may want to take this into consideration.

“FYI, if somehow you are ever stuck with an un-calibrated radiation detector meter in a future nuclear emergency you might find some use for it if a known calibrated meter is also handy.  If/when the time comes and you find yourself in an actual radiation field, you could use it (the calibrated meter) to also test against your other (un-calibrated) meters reliability and accuracy.  If one of your current, un-calibrated, meters reads high or low compared to the calibrated meter, then you could mark on it a correction factor denoting that meters particular variance from a true reading.  This would allow you to then get some useful service out of it while keeping the correction factor in mind.

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That’s a much better use of any un-calibrated instruments, rather than having them sit on a shelf unused in an ongoing nuclear emergency or selling or giving them to somebody else that doesn’t know how important it is to only rely on a recently calibrated meter for protecting their own family.”

If you check with your local fire department or office of emergency services to determine if they have surplus detectors, check to see if they have the book Radiation Safety in Shelters.  This is an excellent reference on the use of the meters and how to find the best shelter.


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1 thought on “Old Civil Defense Radiation Detectors”

  1. The older rad detectors are fine if you can have them calibrated, you read the manuals and learn to use them correctly. In the National Capital Region, the Nuke Alert detector has been issued widely to public safety personnel. These are about the sise of a 9-volt battery and can be kept on your keyring or worn on your ID chain. The device emits a weak clicking sound to tell you it is working, and “chirps” in the presence of a rad source. By counting the number of chirps per minute, you can refer to a table imprinted on the back of the device to detrmine your exposure dosage. While individual units are expensive, cost comes down when you buy contract quantities. These are simple to use, are always on and have a 5-year battery life.

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