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Let's take the worst situation first and that would be that right now we're sitting here we see this tremendous flash of light and then the rawer and here in Washington where we sit about three and a half miles from the White House we would have no problem with civil defense because we wouldn't be here. And seconds after they told the range of destruction for a 20 megaton bomb. And that's what we use for our planning bases. The range of total destruction for a 20 megaton bomb a five mile radius. And as you saw earlier when we were looking at maps of Washington DC Washington D.C. To the east and west boundaries are exactly five miles from the White House. So a bomb landing somewhere around the White House would just about wipe everything off the face of Washington D.C. all the buildings and structures standing would be destroyed and blown down. Of course this would be chaotic. There'd be no opportunity for any survival maneuvers this is a surprise attack and I would say that we would probably lose all of the people that were in the bomb within the boundaries of the district at that time.
The National Association of educational broadcasters presents prepare for survival are radio sounding board for facts and opinions on civil defense. It's now a work day in Washington D.C. we would have about eight hundred fifty thousand people here when we go to the. Movie at an attack with some warning. Then of course our survival chances certainly are improved if we had no more than 40 minutes warning that would mean no evacuation here in Washington but only a take of a signal it would be my guess that we would probably lose about 90 percent of the population here in Washington who did seek cover and took such cover because they're within the area of total destruction. The fireball alone we would estimate would have a diameter of about three
and a half to four miles justifiable all it would produce such thermal radiation and intensities and no living person could live through it and not in any existing shelter here. But those people who are in the fringe on the around the borders of the district who were in good shelter might well survive the initial attack and I would say about 10 percent that might survive. Rather than. Describing the effect on Washington D.C. of a surprise attack and an attack
in which less than 40 minutes of warning was given was that city's civil defense director Mr. George Roderick the three previous programs have presented civil defense policies on the basic survival measures the evacuation fallout shelters and bomb blast shelters. This program will report on civil defense progress in five major United States cities Washington D.C. New York City Detroit Michigan Atlanta Georgia and Portland Oregon participating are the local director Mr. Rodricks of Washington D.C. General Robert E. Condon New York City civil defense director general Clyde Doherty a Detroit civil defense director Atlanta's director Mr. Elliott Jackson and the civil defense director of Portland Oregon Mr. Jack Lowe. These people were recorded separately in their respective offices and their remarks are presented here with their consent in edited form in the original subject
context. House Bill 85 days 6 0 6 passed into law by Congress in August of 1958. Clearly designate civil defense to be a joint federal state and local government responsibility with the federal government providing the necessary direction coordination and guidance while the state and city governments must assume the primary responsibility for local survival preparations. Commenting on the state of local civil defense preparedness is Ohio's Sen. Steven M. Young. And the nation. There are thousands of paid. Civil defense workers in Ohio. There are the civil defense paid officials all over the state of Ohio doing I think constructive. And that's true in other states. I do pay tribute as all of us do to find volunteer
workers who. Offer their time and services without expecting any compensation and by the way. In floods and in fires that we've had in Ohio the UN paid civil defense workers are the only ones who have made any sacrifice whatever not one paid civil defense official from Hawaii. I don't down the line has made any sacrifice in. In fact most of those men and women feeding at the public trough that's what they're doing are making more money than they ever made before in their lives. We're not expected to set up here an operational headquarters to take over anything operations or organizations. Nothing lets off the District of Columbia government agencies all the operating services for civil defense. I give you an example of the police department the police department's responsibility under the civil defense plan is to provide for the protection of the
people. They have a great number of resources available to us. The personnel equipment and facilities in order to discharge this emergency responsibility to the Department of Health. For the district is responsible for all of agency medical and public health protection for the people. This department has 3000 employees. It has two major hospitals under its control. It has about 25 clinics here in the city. It has a broad base of professional and technically qualified people to conduct emergency operations and so on with all of the major organizations of the district governor as a matter of fact I would say for civil defense purposes we have approximately 26000 employees of the District government here available for any emergency duty. The problem of civil defense remains as it was during the previous discussions of evacuation fallout and blast shelters. We will either run
or we will hide evacuate or take shelter because there are no mass bomb blast shelters existent in the United States today and no mass fallout shelters other than improvised facilities in some regular buildings constructed for peacetime purposes. The civil defense policies of the local governments are all based on the principle that cities will be evacuated if at least one hour's warning of attack is given by the Air Force. Less time would mean that civilians would be told to take whatever shelter is available and a surprise attack. As Mr. Rodricks mentioned would catch people at whatever they happen to be doing. Thus preempting any survival measures these policies are derived from the inescapable fact that if there is time we must run to escape the bomb. If there is no time to get away we must hide where we can whether it be in a basement or a hallway. Since there are no real bomb shelters
or if the bomb should drop without warning there is little we can do. Well anything that I said above the duck and cover other take cover procedure. Is influenced by the facts known to me. As of today. I don't mean to leave the impression that there is nothing that the people could do in these buildings. Certainly blast shelters and other types of shelters that are not available know that if we had them they percentage of people who would survive would be much greater always correspondingly greater to the protective measures provided. But when we talk of downtown and that would be in the Federal Triangle here are the major federal buildings if we had a surface burst in that area. I would think that there would be little or no hope for those people taking cover. But remember they would be taking cover only because there was no other thing
no other maneuver they could take. This is a real negative maneuver but the only one permitted and it would be impossible I would think to survive even in available cover thats known to was not a downtown area. There is no Souter for Congressman. They have tried to provide an underground shelter for the executives that congressman have never even been asked to participate in a mock attack. This is Representative Martha W. Gryphus of Michigan. If I happened. I would go to the to the subway. I this would protect you for a little while unless you were in a direct attack. Mr. Rodricks was asked by our producer whether his take cover orders would be binding on the president and the Congress and federal officials in
general. Well let's let's look at that very carefully because I do not have. Many of the facts here in this office that touch on the survival maneuvers or preparations made by any national agency except as those national agency think this office ought to know of some of the things. But if we would go and make an across the board statement. If those agencies the White House and the other national agencies of the Capitol. If those people have provided themselves with a deep underground blast shelters and other things and they had to take cover in them I would assume that they are able to withstand the blast and heat effects of nuclear bombs. However we're still talking about take cover and take cover means that this is not surprise attack and there is still some time to execute execute other maneuvers I said earlier. Let's assume 40 minutes that would mean that there was no
evacuation. I have every reason to believe that there are means and methods of getting people out of Washington by helicopter and other such things in very rapid on it so that I'm sure that key government officials who have. Helicopter is available to them for example could within a matter of 20 or 30 minutes be successfully removed from this area. But I would think that's about the only successful means and then of course remember that take cover and evacuation of men Dettori that the law doesn't say they have to do it. If an official of the government or a private citizen is told that he'd better take cover because there are only 20 or 30 minutes left and he elects to get in his automobile and try to evacuating that time there's nothing to stop him from doing this. Are New Yorkers now prepared to survive an attack. Gen.
Robert Condon the city's civil defense director answers this question. We have been a city of New York under is set up now. A goodly number of the city departments who were they had the commissioners of which are deputy directors or several to fraps to each one of those persons each one of those deputy directors the heads of the various city departments would be directed to proceed with the implementation in the carrying out of the civil defense plan as it applies to them. I think there has been manifold layout an increased interest on the part of the people to take Arkansas of the civil defense planning and have survival methods. And while much of the public is has not yet made itself conscious of the possibilities of the effect of attack we're very hopeful that the public will soon realize that it's personal and a family obligation to go to civil
defense and final analysis must be individuals as people today. If we were to have an enemy attack say now when we we realize we have done short warning say 15 minutes or half an hour with the urban popular. New York City written off is beyond help today if we have 15 minutes warning not necessarily with all the drugs and not until the attack actually occurs do we know where the strike would be the most devastating and take cover. Alarm would be sounded immediately and those persons that work within the radius of the actual blast would have substantial opportunity to save their lives and save the lives of their family by taking some kind of
refuge or do they have these were a few soldiers now. While we have some twelve hundred of them in the city of New York and their doubt as others any kind of protection. Unless you're actually at the blast site about an overt action at all. Detroit is probably as well prepared in civil defense as any city in the country but it cannot be said of Detroit or any other city could withstand an enemy attack. The physical damage from nuclear attack on a city would be the same why there are not there was an effective civil defense organization. It is the number of casualties and the restoration of facilities that make civil defense important in Detroit it is read by General Doherty kept to a minimum compared with other cities Detroit citizens generally are better acquainted with what to do in case of warning. There are people in most cities. Detroit has a complete air raid
warning system. If Detroit were attacked today there is no doubt that carriage casualties would be high. They would number in the hundreds of thousands unless several hours of warning were received which is not likely a successful attack would level the heart of the city and inflict major damage everywhere within the city limits and for several miles beyond as we said the physical damage to the city is something that cannot be prevented by civil defense. But in case of warning there is much that could be and would be done. If the warning indicated that there was time to start an evacuation movement the people would be advised to leave the city by way of the nearest evacuation route and go a distance of approximately 30 miles. Of course we cannot always expect to have this much warning. There may not be time for evacuation. In that case unless the attack
was only minutes away the people would be told to get together with their families if time permitted and prepare for an attack. This would mean assembling survival items such as food and water and preparing the family shelter for occupancy. If the warning indicated that there was only time to take shelter the sirens would indicate this and everyone would be instructed to take the best shelter immediately available. This would usually mean getting into the basement of homes and other buildings. There are no air raid shelters in Detroit of the type that were built in Europe during World War Two. There are some buildings a reinforced concrete construction which would afford excellent protection but they could not be considered blast shelters for they are not designed for that purpose as protection against fallout. Detroit is in a better position than most other
communities but not as adequately equipped as we would like most of Detroit's homes have basements and these are good but not adequate shit fallout shelters. Basements will reduce the effectiveness of follow up to about 10 percent in this matter of shelters. It is probably not feasible to construct blast shelters for all of the people because we could spend ourselves into ruin and such a program and it is not reasonable to expect citizens to build their own blast shelters. But then while blast is the primary hazard from nuclear weapons it is not the factor that will kill the most people fall out will cause the largest number of casualties. But if the blast would level Detroit are not fallout shelters in the downtown area futile for hours we'd never know ground zero.
We never know exactly where the weapon will be detonated. Therefore it is necessary that everyone have some means of protection because there will always be that line of demarcation where you would have lived had you had protection where you would have died had you not had protection. Here is Mr. Elliott Jackson civil defense director for Atlanta Georgia. Mr. Jackson is followed by Mr. Jack Lowe Portland Oregon as director of civil defense. It would be extremely difficult to imagine what problems would be involved in a nuclear attack. For that reason it is not possible to say whether Atlanta is prepared to survive such an attack. We do believe Hiver that Atlanta is as well prepared as the average city in the United States. Atlanta has been designated as one of the target cities if the country is attacked.
It is reasonable to believe that any industrial transportation and communication center like Atlanta would be attacked and enemy can gain a tremendous advantage by mutilating our destroying Atlantic. We are the first to admit that not all citizens in the latter area are very first in several defense. We do believe higher over that the percentage of people who know what the problem is and something about how to meet it is high if not higher than the national average. Federal control might be all right but it is our opinion that such action would incline people to let the federal government take care of things without making any personal effort and several events will not work that way by an act of Congress the responsibility for civil defense or the joint effort of the federal state and local government. And we believe that is the best way to have an effective civil defense. At the latter does not have glass shelter protection. The cost of such
shelter is beyond the reach of any city we know of no city which has complete plans protection for its citizens. Although we have information that quite a number of home shelters are exist and we could not estimate how many there are. We know of one outside shelter which was built underground and another actually built into a new home while it was under construction. This type information is not publicized for the reason that those having shelter is suspected many people some really interested in others just curiosity seekers would visit probably overrun such locations creating a shelter is a very personal effort for any family. Something like religion and not just attract attention. So Atlanta is as well prepared as Detroit which is as well-prepared as any other city in America. Perhaps Portland
Oregon regarded by federal civil defense officials as a model city of preparedness which is fully prepared know to a degree yes. The city of Portland does have in operation an underground relocation site for the city government from which we can coordinate and control whatever resources we have available for post attack operations. We have a well engineered evacuation plan and by a limited test have proved its feasibility. The extent to which our citizens have accepted this plan and have prepared themselves physically and mentally for evacuation is an unknown factor. Although interest in family survival planning does seem to be increasing. Portland also has by Charter Amendment automatic succession to all elective offices of the city in the event of death or disability of our elected officials resulting from
enemy attack. And we also have a comprehensive records preservation program. So to a considerable degree the city government of Portland is prepared. The citizens of Portland are prepared to a lesser degree a great deal more remains to be done principally in getting our citizens to accept the need for realistic survival planning and to make the necessary preparations. A. The basic civil defense plan for Portland is a pointed warning of attack to get as many people as possible away from the bullseye and out of the target area. In other words evacuation personnel have equipment essential for post attack operations such as fire and police personnel and equipment. Public works and public utilities equipment certain medical personnel and selected others will move out to pre-selected dispersal areas and for mobile task forces which
will post attack and coordinated from the emergency operations center. Return towards the city to establish control and do what they can to save lives and minimize property damage. All others in the city will evacuated for a minimum distance of 15 miles. Oh Cyn and I lay gonna run to 0 7 and I'm gonna run to 0 7 and I run away gonna run all day. Perhaps we've been thinking too crudely. There are more subtle means of mass extermination than the hydrogen bomb. Chemical and biological warfare. An area of civil defense the technicalities of which there is no time to present during these programs. However here are three statements by Mr Jackson Mr Loewe and General Condon on chemical and biological warfare. They are significant as an
indication of the present preparedness to cope with it. Listen carefully read between the lines and apply these statements to what has already been said about the problems policies and controversies of a civil defense against a hydrogen bomb. The officer several line defense mobilization is working diligently to focus attention on gays in biological warfare the hazards of radioactive fall had has had the most attention naturally since this is assumed to be the most likely attack. But biological and chemical defense is moving fast to the fight. To the best of my knowledge nothing is being done at my level the city level. I believe the Federal Civil Defense Office has some research programs on biological and gas warfare protection but we know very little about them and at the local level there is virtually no capability to withstand an attack
of this nature. When I came into civil defense that was not part of the problem here or elsewhere that I know of and I believe New York City was the first to introduce that and to call on civil defense statewide nationally to include preparations against chemical and biological agents as part of any survival program. It is an intricate part of our program here. Only recently I appointed a committee a group of five. Gentlemen who will all work combat ready like you call out Come back of their combat chemical and biological officers and World War 2 to follow the program shelters are recommended for protection from bomb blast and fallout affects other similar
measures which one can take against biological and chemical warfare. General Condon made this reply. Well I'm afraid for transgressing into an item now that we wouldn't want to discuss here. In many instances and sort of as a military it's not desirable that we turn over our information sources it might find a counter to it. Yet some information on this subject is available in an official civil defense booklet called What You Should Know about biological warfare which assures us that biological war can and is being dealt with through existing health programs and precautionary sanitary measures in effect throughout the country in the form of local health boards mass inoculation programs crop and livestock regulations and emigration requirements. The matter will be left here with the understanding that the listener is to apply the principles learned about civil defense and the hydrogen bomb
to the problems posed by chemical and biological warfare. We fought World War 2 but prepare for survival is a radio sounding board for facts and opinions on civil defense written and produced by Richard chick and directed by Alan Murdock recording editor and ream music by Rowena Logan speaking prepare for survival is recorded by Wayne State University Radio in Detroit for the National Association of educational broadcasters under a grant from the National Educational Television and Radio Center. This is the end Radio Network.
Prepare for survival
Local civil defense plans and policies
Producing Organization
WDET (Radio station : Detroit, Mich.)
Contributing Organization
University of Maryland (College Park, Maryland)
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Episode Description
This program focuses on civil defense progress in five major American cities.
Series Description
A radio sounding board for facts and opinions on civil defense.
Broadcast Date
Public Affairs
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Announcer: Logan, Dan
Director: Murdoch, Alan
Guest: Rodericks, George
Guest: Young, Stephen M. (Stephen Marvin), 1889-1984
Guest: Condon, Robert E.
Guest: Dougherty, Clyde
Guest: Jackson, Elliot
Guest: Lowe, Jack
Producer: Schick, Richard
Producing Organization: WDET (Radio station : Detroit, Mich.)
Writer: Schick, Richard
AAPB Contributor Holdings
University of Maryland
Identifier: 60-52-10 (National Association of Educational Broadcasters)
Format: 1/4 inch audio tape
Duration: 00:29:20
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Chicago: “Prepare for survival; Local civil defense plans and policies,” 1960-11-07, University of Maryland, American Archive of Public Broadcasting (GBH and the Library of Congress), Boston, MA and Washington, DC, accessed July 19, 2024,
MLA: “Prepare for survival; Local civil defense plans and policies.” 1960-11-07. University of Maryland, American Archive of Public Broadcasting (GBH and the Library of Congress), Boston, MA and Washington, DC. Web. July 19, 2024. <>.
APA: Prepare for survival; Local civil defense plans and policies. Boston, MA: University of Maryland, American Archive of Public Broadcasting (GBH and the Library of Congress), Boston, MA and Washington, DC. Retrieved from