When disaster strikes; Rehearsal for disaster
Drive to. Disaster. A big word. A black word but plain ordinary people can meet it anywhere in the world any day of the world on a street in London with the bombs dropping. I felt an excruciating pain in my yes. I felt myself being blown across the pavement toward the wall of a building but if I was raging blood was running down my face. I tried to hold on but there was nothing to hold onto. You know how us in Holland with the water rising up out of the house front dropped away and then another piece. I thought what can we do. What can anyone do outside our attic window was a scaffolding. What it was all about. My little child was struggling against me and her fear. But somehow I climbed. Back to his movie theater with the wind outside blowing 100 miles an hour. You could hear it you could hear it was coming. And some guy yeah. I. Think.
Everybody and I are going to say. This is dishonest or nightmarish unreal pricing into an ordered and commonplace scene and wanted comes every day ordinary people make their frantic instinctive clutch survival. I tried to hold off. Somehow I climbed. And. Then the bomb sea as. The waters receded the winds die away reality returns but it's not the reality they knew. It wears a frightening and distorted face the familiar patterns are run storeyed a disaster has come among them and ordinary people find their everyday world is not common place anymore. What then. What do they do then. Radio television at the University of Texas presents when disaster strikes
a series of programs designed to show how present day Americans meet the crisis of a disaster situation all over our nation. Social scientists are seeking special studies to find out how we as a people react to such widespread catastrophe. With the help of Dr. Harry the more I think of the Department of Sociology at the University of Texas and the Hogg foundation for Mental Health we're going to share some of the things these scientists have found when disaster strikes is produced and recorded by radio television and the University of Texas under a grant from the Educational Television and Radio Center. On which. The make sure sufficient. Education to broadcast. The day's programming rehearsal for disaster. It is a fact you know that we of this country and of this century live with the
threat and challenge of disaster before it could be the vindictive blow of an enemy attack. It is more likely the onslaught of nature on a rampage. But when disaster strikes it makes unique demands on us living as we do our complicated independent lives in cities and towns. Now how do we couldn temporary Americans stand up to these demands. Do we as individuals have the stamina to cope with the emotional the social the physical problems that dishonest or dumps in our laps suddenly faced with a bomb a flood a fire an earthquake a tornado what would we do. What would our neighbors do. How would our communities function. Some of us outweigh dis Aster is a tragic fact. Are trying conscientiously to find out. And some of us at home. All rights only a far away fiction. I think we already know what we do we'd all go off our rockers that's what we do.
Oh that's not so Joe I don't believe it. Well you'd better believe it. Well listen here. OK if something like that happened here would be the biggest rat race you ever saw. Not necessarily George. I'm inclined to agree with K.. Well good for you Fred. You think good for you Fred if one of those rascals ever hit this town. I don't even mean a bomb a tornado for instance. A real honest to gosh tornado people get hurt in those things you know. Lots of people killed two houses buildings coworkers. Like so many matchsticks as babies don't play around. Of course they don't George we all know that. But people can take what they've got to take. Well I think so too and most people anyway. Why look every day somebodies property gets destroyed somebody gets hurt die get killed. People take those things. Sure people can take any of those things gradually one of the time or spread out or worse things if they know what's coming. But a tornado in one of those sudden jobs we're talking about. It's too big it's too quick. People
can't take that knock some sky wind and then they go out of the mines. How Geonic What do you mean by panic and that's what I mean. Like a cattle stampede. No control no sense no nothing. Just take out stomp over anything that gets in the way. Big dumb blind rush to get the heck out of the picture. Not all of them. Well no Bo not all of the rest to be making hay while the dust settles. Taking this little gilt edged opportunity to pilfer and loot and profiteer. I think your Haro not horrible I am just realistic. We're good folks in a pinch until you pinch too hard. Take my word for it. I don't think we'll do that George. I say I don't think we will take your word for how Americans are likely to perform in a king size disaster as you put it. We've got a better way to find out. Yeah what's that. The same way you find out how people are going to play their parts in any performance joy
not a rehearsal for disaster. Who are you kidding. Nobody but we're going to watch them play those parts. Real people the people of a typical American town. We're going to watch their performance as a tornado strikes four for us. At the heart of their city during the late afternoon rush hour a kingsize tornado that kills one hundred fourteen people injures a thousand levels 2 square miles of the business district. Oh my. God. Dread somebody personally. It's not for me it's about the most heartless idea I've ever heard of. I say I don't know who you are but this is by Dr Harry Moore George a sociologist. He's been making a series of studies about what happens to people when it decides to strike. And you're right. Charged this is not for you in the sense that it is something staged just for your benefit. Waco Texas can't avoid this tornado disaster here is an inescapable fact. But you can look George you can
line as we're trying to line. And the hope that many people can profit from what we do lying and it's not such a heartless idea when you come to think about it. After all they are in the really authentic great high school for this Asda is unfortunately this asteroid itself. We're on our way to Waco Texas late in the afternoon of May 11 1953. A few hours ago it was a typical American town home of ninety thousand ordinary everyday people. Typical that is except that those people considered their town to be a little safer than most tornadoes. Now we don't worry about tornadoes. When I said down in these hills the way we are in the wind it doesn't break up before it gets here I'll have to climb so high it will just go on over. That's the way the Indians figured we've had a lot of years to prove they're right. From tornadoes for ever sheltered in its low valley protected by
its rim of hills from any threat. That's the way Waco Indian legend had it and that's the way Waco believed it to be. So in spite of heavy skies and ominous clouds of a strange calm and darkness that came too soon in spite of warm air damp and sticky to the touch and storm warnings out since daylight downtown Waco What about its affairs with noisy and busy unconcerned. Just ahead was the 5 o'clock rush hour late shoppers crowded the sidewalks in the stores. Family drivers circled the blocks waiting to pick up those who would come from offices and stories at the amicable building work was in progress on the installation of heavy new automatic doors. But the workman stopped to comment on the weather looks bad. It's getting dark about them and yet feels funny to hear ears pop and yeah now that you mention it they all. Look at these doors. One of them stand out like that before those
automatic doors when it's not supposed to question is it. We've got to put stronger springs on the heat. I don't think that's it. I think we've got a pressure problem. It's funny did come out here. It's nearly a vacuum the way I see it and it's the air inside pressing out that's opening those doors. If we want any doors left we better brace and open and equalize that pressure. The skies grew darker and the wind role is blowing now and erratic gusts the rain came but oddly sideways not hitting the pavement and heard by some but muffled by traffic noise is one of the other low rule. Study drive through it. The ordinary Americans what about their everyday tasks at the switchboard in the RV done as building routine calls were coming through and the furniture company appliances just Ripley in an office behind the Paget building misses the doctors ready for you.
You can come here in a pool hall around the corner. Twenty or thirty of Waco's use while the way a rainy afternoon rabbit rabbit you know is more likely to match against the dark I can see that you are an Army lieutenant and his wife parked their car in front of the Piccadilly cafeteria and went in to dinner and in a white frame bungalow a telephone right. Now. Or he may call what we have finding. Life or death in the bad out here. No no we are all right. Joan and I are planning dinner and well I'll call you back with a grocery list in ten minutes. By. Those ten minutes were to be an eternity. And the goodbye was more final than she knew. Horrid 4:35 the tornado was struck with all its fury the deafening roar all the road the traffic noise. It's. Body of all committed by the shattering of broken glass and the baton of punch of heavy signs
blown like jackstraws down the street right. What I mean by. A nurse ran white faced into the office to doctor that because that's what it's waiting just like and at home in her grocery list in her hand. Wife heard with horror her husband's terrified voice shouting over the phone. Money money money money and disaster had come upon Waco. Through the center of this town the tornado moved like a giant vacuum cleaner sucking up buildings to throw them in giant heaps of destruction on other buildings and cars on people. The storm's tip called the dentist building four top floors just snatched. Hand like and then they came to Christ in a heap. You couldn't believe it while you're with CNN. No you couldn't believe it while you were seeing it and you could believe it even less when it was over with a dying roar the storm zigzagged its way to the northeast leaving block upon block of destruction in its wake.
Mountains of rubble stories high cars crushed flat the screams of victims trapped in the wreckage of relatives who had seen them trapped in Lake Erie tooting of automobile horns from cars under the ruins. See what did I tell you. Panic just plain panic. Wait a minute charge not panic shock. Yes. This devastation has come so suddenly a sense of nightmare frantic Agency all of these. But does this sound like panic the more you guys get through it. There's people under that I was no blind stampede here charge people ran yes but they ran with a pipe us and desperate drove as they scrambled over the rubble carrying a brick Kember clash with their families to reach those with them. Very good for the. Soul. Oh. Good. They
were driven by my son. Not feel. I ran along the walls broken windows when the cars and smashed by tons of breaking up the two policeman tearing debris away from the 51 points today. They all serve somebody in there. Yeah one thing that. Was. A little give you hand. Off my. Horse. Fell is that the here why yes we can see it all now you know masses of around noise when you saw it. These people have just an eye while the rumble before but the noise is a rescue boat. We found our house for sale by my wife with a very light. Rail. You. Say. I think you're right. People read that.
OK. I heard we had you here. For. I think a everybody here. Err. Not how they tried to manage that great reporting area. Here. And the overall confusion when they saw it online. Hysteria drugs where they are marked destroyed communication was there with disrupted social organization agent. But one concerted action and I can see where prices are piling up. Right. Right. Right. I. Was. Just OK. It's easy to get an operation or other chaos. George if you look at the broad social field which had the same big overall pick all day is there any such pictures just rounds. Yeah I missed out on this because I asked if it's precisely the lack of preparation the
unexpected. Supply of that. The lack of any adequate safeguards with Mike on made or they decide ask. And then wait go in 1953. He's an adequate says optically glaring awake oh really. I ask for a fee it finds hard to believe. As no white man thought it was a shining. Example of Defense direct they do their job. Such plans as they are often meeting does I ask of you. And I'm realistic. They exist mostly on paper or on someone's good intentions. Waco as a community as an organization on the whole cannot operate effectively in this time of crisis because it doesn't know how. And I have no blueprints no experience to guide it no realistic of the drowned plans and practices. No accumulation no inventory of needed supplies. No established relationships between institutions. So in a way Cole and 1953. Will take longer than usual for the larger groups and
institutions and organizations to reorient themselves to these new era when demands to swing into organized effective action. It's too soon by many hours for the big picture to come into focus. But let's look again at the little picture. At the people who have gone into action as individuals or small groups. The smoke pictures may conflict and overlap. But here within each separate little picture there is far less disorganization far more purposeful activity. In this new world of. Pastor feed. There is no overall guidance. Authority has not yet handed down any new appropriate rules for behavior. So the people fall back upon the old familiar ways of behaving. The patterns the customs the attitudes they have built into them through their Yaz of living. Look at the first aid stations hastily assembled on a wrecked street where a doctor and a nurse who had never met before are treating the injured by flashlight.
We'll take them as they come in doctor. These girls clean him up. But the ideas on how to handle a first day job past the rough ones on to you. You see George these people up in Sinai not so much with on welfare and safety as for that of other people. And then now in smaller areas of activity they are acting logically realistically and on the whole effectively. OK sure. Share but look who are doctors nurses Red Cross workers. They're trained for this kind of thing. They've been there before I guess one way or another. But you take a look at just plain old run of the mill people. Somebody is new at this. All right they will now not hard to find even those who are brand new. Oh. Yeah yeah that's right. Two bulldozers. One Kerry ol Joe who. Oh ok yeah I got it thanks a lot. Well all ya
affronts moderate side to to drag lines an ally. Yeah yeah wait a minute. YEAH I GOT TOLD YA YA coalition is still Barker's humble station raring to go. Sure sure the mind body wants a front loader. Beats me I don't know what any of this stuff is all hey now hold on. Been answering these phones for 4 or 5 hours and finding out who's God was and find out who needs what they got most of it you don't even lie down. At all. Would you hold on just a minute. Who's got time to write all but this is specialized equipment. Boy you say you don't even know what's to know I'm not Usenet I'm just sourcing this whole ya ya site down. Well how on earth does does he do it. He probably couldn't tell you himself. Lots of people in Waco are drawing on reserves they didn't know they had of strength courage resourcefulness not all of course some of them are they just shock them by
apathy by what they've experienced the world they knew has blown away. We'll have to give them time to get acquainted with a new way and in the meantime in the meantime some of the mugs a days they can't get the heck out it was on the spot maybe pitching in but their fellow citizens ard. Look at those highways choked with cars beating away from Waco. Look again George. They're being it alright but not away from Waco to Waco. That's right people equipment food clothing wires phone call's radio messages all of these things are flowing into Waco not away from it. Everything is converging on Waco as if the stricken town were a powerful magnet drawing the things it needs and some things it doesn't need and everything all at once. Much that is vital to survival in health and rehabilitation but much that makes the task of rescue and control much more difficult. Switchboards jammed with calls a face few days.
Highways and streets choked with traffic far from preventing any panic stricken exodus out of the stricken city Waco's problem now is to prevent a mass convergence that may critically happen its efforts to cope with the dishonest problems. This is radio WAC Oh we have this emergency message. This is an official emergency announcement. All people living in Waco stay at home do not go downtown Do not use your phone. We have the army in here now and there are enough rescue workers in the downtown area. If you live outside do not come to Waco. Do not come to Waco. We can't impress this upon you too urgently. Do not come to Waco. Well Joy. Oh ok you OK. No panic no hysteria no stampede. You see it's just the way Kay and I said. People take what they have to take. Likely story.
It does seem highly unlikely that people when yield to temptation where things are in such turmoil making up something of value would be so easy. But we find that relatively few people do yield on the whole people feel they must behave in certain ways. Whether a policeman is watching or not now own self-imposed controls function they have no time or inclination for taking that too busy giving things away. Everybody yeah really got. Life like that all at Harvard. Why why why. You know better before I get three hundred dozen cookies and 44 cakes. Well our church kitchen was knocked out of commission when the steeple fell but we heard you all were feeding folks out of your church so we just all cooked at home and I said oh John raincoats five dozen pairs of boots brand new off my shelves.
All I had. A man comes running in says they're needed for rescuers digging out the engine. A man I don't know who you don't ask who you just say take him. Wish I did have more fella. Sure wish I did. These are the plus things our studies vividly point charge. When you see the American people in a crisis such as a Waco tornado you can't failed and I was the helpfulness the consenting fathers on the part of people who have suffered a devastating loss even of loved ones all material goods. You can't fail to be away of the resources of the American people. The strengths of a democratic society the courage and flexibility with which destruction is met. We've certainly seen those things on every hand year but what about the money as things. The confusion the disorganization. Old die hard George. You can't close your eyes to the fact that things down there are you know pretty mixed up state. For all Dr. Moore's fancy talk about small units and personality organization and broad social field you know or you know a
judge is right. OK we have a diehard sin that we don't want to be victims of dishonesty when we don't have to. We want to avoid the mistakes that we can avoid minimize the death and injury that have occurred result from those mistakes. The only way to do this is to look realistically at what we do to see how we as patients function how does a chanson institutions function wrong as well as right and the situation in Waco will be chaotic for many hours in the first desperate hours calls for relief have been going out from everywhere without verification of the actual need and without indication of the authorizing agency City headquarters are only now beginning to form police services are spread thin. But the district Civil Defense Corps donator who stands ready to provide these services upon request can't find any of the city officials and the City officials have had difficulty finding one another.
Passes of being issued on the at the City Hall but you can't get to the city hall without a pass. There's no missing persons B-roll no central mob no hospital routing system destruct people are trudging from place to place and sights of missing relatives of friends. But Arthur is a maging the community is pulling itself together mending its lines of communication and organization and at 5:30 this morning May 2 of 1953 a memorandum will go forward to govern the severance from Belle McGill the state director of defense and disaster relief a control center is functioning at the First National Bank in Wakil to handle details of rescue relief and damage survey. We have representatives of this office in Waco to feed us information as it develops in the disaster relief headquarters. This office is on 24 hour operation following the tornado at Waco. Here is Mr. Murray city editor of the Waco News Tribune reading an
editorial that reflects the significance of that good tester fee. Waco was misfortune Lee Alterman let me someone sell a share. In the Waco tornado was the nearest thing to an atomic bomb to set or. That Nature has played it in the United States. Waco this tornado is a dry run for atomic deplaning in every municipality in this country. You see Joe I guess even those who viewed it faced ham. The way called tornado of May 11 1953. Was a green. Perhaps constructive rehearsal for disaster. When Disaster Strikes radio television the University of Texas has brought you the first in this series of programs designed to show how modern Americans react to the crisis of a disaster situation. Today's program rehearsal for disaster was prepared with the cooperation and
assistance of Dr. Harry Moore of the Department of Sociology of the University of Texas and the Hogg foundation for mental health. We are indebted also to the division of defense and assessed really of the governor's office the state of Texas for material from its files and to the British Information Services and the Macmillan Company of New York. The material quoted from frontline. When disaster strikes is directed by RC Nora's from scripts by the Durham to AMS under the supervision of Robert F.. Music for the series is supervised by Elena Pape. Who has composed the original score. Your narrator is Jim Morris. Prior speaker. Rehearsal photo syster was produced and recorded by radio television at the University of Texas under a grant from the Educational Television and Radio Center and is being distributed by the National Association of education for. The air. Long as.
This is the NAACP radio network or group.
- When disaster strikes
- Rehearsal for disaster
- Producing Organization
- University of Texas
- KUT (Radio station : Austin, Tex.)
- Contributing Organization
- University of Maryland (College Park, Maryland)
- AAPB ID
- Episode Description
- This program envisions how a "Rehearsal for Disaster" can point out the strengths and weaknesses in a community's emergency plan.
- Series Description
- This series focuses on disaster preparation, as well as the effects wrought by disaster.
- Public Affairs
- Disasters--United States.
- Media type
Composer: Page, Frances Eleanor
Director: Norris, R. C.
Narrator: Morriss, Jimmy
Producing Organization: University of Texas
Producing Organization: KUT (Radio station : Austin, Tex.)
Speaker: Moore, Harry E.
- AAPB Contributor Holdings
University of Maryland
Identifier: 5057 (University of Maryland)
Format: 1/4 inch audio tape
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- Chicago: “When disaster strikes; Rehearsal for disaster,” University of Maryland, American Archive of Public Broadcasting (GBH and the Library of Congress), Boston, MA and Washington, DC, accessed December 8, 2023, http://americanarchive.org/catalog/cpb-aacip-500-707wqz2f.
- MLA: “When disaster strikes; Rehearsal for disaster.” University of Maryland, American Archive of Public Broadcasting (GBH and the Library of Congress), Boston, MA and Washington, DC. Web. December 8, 2023. <http://americanarchive.org/catalog/cpb-aacip-500-707wqz2f>.
- APA: When disaster strikes; Rehearsal for disaster. Boston, MA: University of Maryland, American Archive of Public Broadcasting (GBH and the Library of Congress), Boston, MA and Washington, DC. Retrieved from http://americanarchive.org/catalog/cpb-aacip-500-707wqz2f