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Have. 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 it said in Holland with the water rising a part 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 in 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 was coming and some guy yeah. Everybody and I think. This is dis Aster 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 seats. 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 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 for special studies. To find out how we as a people react to sudden widespread catastrophe. With the help of Dr. Harry the morra 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. The University of Texas is under a grant from the educational television and radio. Thanks. For coming. On.
This program rehearsal for disaster. It is a fun 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 those outward dis Aster is a tragic fact are trying conscientiously to find out and some of us at home. The 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 John I don't believe you. 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 code. Like so many matchsticks those babies don't play around.
Of course they don't George we all know that. But people can take what they've got today. 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 wanted a 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 men will 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 boy or 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 hardball horrible and 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 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 and has a thousand levels to square miles of that business district.
Oh how dreadful. Somebody's personal. 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 Miss is but Dr. Harry Moore George a sociologist. He's been making a series of studies about what happens to people when disasters 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 line and it's not such a heartless idea when you come to think about it. After all they are in their really authentic rehearsal 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 and I have to climb so high it will just grow 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 went 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 meet 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 the money he had feels funny to hear ears popping. Yeah now that you mention it they all. Look at these doors. One of them standing out would have seen him act 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 rose blowing now and erratic gusts the rain came but oddly sideways not hitting the pavement and heard by some but muffled by traffic noises for the odd low roll. Study drug grew in volume. 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. Yes there are plenty in an office behind the Paget building. MS is not the doctor's 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. Write it read write it you know it's more likely you maggots are 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 a white frame bungalow. The telephone rang.
0 0 0. 0 he may call but we're finding. Life or death in the bad out here. No no we're all right. John 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 feeling the deafening roar all the road the traffic noise it's gone. Get all knotted 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 waving to us up 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. 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. Less storms tipped 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 up on 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 not panic shock. Yes right this devastation has come so suddenly the sense of nightmare frantic Agency all of these. But does this sound like panic the more you guys get know that there's people under there. I was no blind stampede here George. People ran yes but they ran with a pipe us and desperate drove as they scrambled over the rubble carrying the brick to cumber clash with their families. To reach those with them. Very good for the. Soul. They were driven by myself. Not feel. I ran the walls broken windows or the cars and smashed by tons of brick and rubble or two policeman tearing debris away from a 51 points today. They all search somebody and land. Yeah I. Was. Doing. A little give you hand. Last night. The worse.
You fellows looked up here why yes. We can rinse it all. Right. No masses overon noise in a few days people have just been a while they crumble before but the noises and the noise of the rescue boat people shouting our house by saying why why. Why. Like. You. Say. I think a report that. I think everybody here. They're not trying to manage that area.
The overall confusion the sardonic stereotype they have am I destroyed communication so disrupted so so long as a nation. I just went on to say action and I can see where the price is. Right. Oh. Yeah. It's easy to get braces you know I took a risk George if you look at the broad social field. With high the same big overall because they have this I think she just laughs. Yeah I missed out on this. Because I asked if. It's precisely the lack of preparation the unexpectedness of I have said. The lack of any. Adequate safeguards with my gift on my door they decide ask. And then wait go in 1953. These And I add to Chris's optically glaring wake up really fast for a fee it finds hard to believe he
has no right to them solvent as a shining. Example of Defense direct days when you do a job. Such plans as I often meeting does I ask of you. I mean I'm realistic. They exist mostly on paper 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 realistically the drawn plans and practices. No accumulation no inventory of needed supplies. No established relationships between institutions. So in Waco and 1953. It 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. Of 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 are clean him up. But the ideas on how to handle a first day job past the rough ones on to you. You see Joe I judge these people up inside not so much with their own well fan
safety as for that of other people and then they own small areas of activity. They are acting logically realistically and on the whole effectively. Ok issue share but look who are doctors nurses Red Cross workers who are 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 hour right. They will. They're not hard to find. Even those who are brand new. Oh yeah yeah that's right. Due to bulldozers one carry on. Joe who. Oh ok yeah I got it thanks a lot. Oh yeah. Affronts motorists like to drag lines I don't want to wait a minute.
He also witnessed the marker's humble station round the goal. Sure sure the mind body wants a front loader. Beats me I don't know what any of this stuff is. Oh hey you know hold on I've been answering these phones for four five hours and find out who's gonna watch 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 the whole ya ya psych test. Well how on earth does he do it. He probably couldn't tell you himself. Lots of people in Waco are drawing on Rezaei as I didn't know they had of strength courage resourcefulness. Not all of course some of them are stunned dazed shocked and apathy about what they've experienced in a while they knew has blown away. We'll have to give them time to get acquainted with a new world and in the mean time yeah in the meantime
some of the Marjah days they can't get the heck out of town. 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 this stricken city Waco's problem now is to
prevent a mass convergence that may critically hamper its efforts to cope with the decisive problems. This is radio W.A. So you know 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. You 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 is just the way Kay and I said. People take what they have to take a 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 a not now own self-imposed controls function. They have no time or inclination for taking that too busy giving things away. Yeah everybody yeah. Yeah. If you like but I don't. Why why why. You know that even before every hundred dozen cookies and 44 cakes. Well our church kitchen was knocked out of commission when the steeple fell but we hardly all were feeding folks out of your church so we just all cooked at home and I said let's run 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 of charge. When you see the American people in a crisis such as a Waco tornado you can't failed and I was they have fullness they can sign for others on the part of people who have suffered a devastating loss either of loved ones all material goods. You can't fail to be aware 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 miners things. The confusion the disorganization will 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 SEO awards you know the
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 injury to have a good 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 organizations and institutions function wrong as well as right and the situation in Waco will be counted 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 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. Distraught people are trudging from place to place and sights of missing relatives or friends. But oh isn't my aging 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 aid 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 defeatist 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 the city editor of the Waco News Tribune reading an
editorial that reflects the significance of that good tester for. Waco it was misfortune they ultimately be someone's salvation. The Waco tornado was the nearest thing to an atomic bomb this after. 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 to those who viewed it at face time him. The way called tornado of May 11 1953. Was a grim. But. Perhaps constructive rehearsal for disaster. When Disaster Strikes radio television the University of Texas has brought you the first in a 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 of systems 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 R. C. Norris from scripts by the Durham to AMS under the supervision of Robert F. chinking. Music for the series are supervised by Elena page. Who has composed the original score. Your narrator is Jim Morris. Practice prior speaking. Rehearsal for disaster 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 educational board. Was.
Wrong and. This is the NAACP Radio Network.
Series
When disaster strikes
Episode
Rehearsal for disaster
Producing Organization
University of Texas
KUT (Radio station : Austin, Tex.)
Contributing Organization
University of Maryland (College Park, Maryland)
AAPB ID
cpb-aacip/500-pc2t8j63
If you have more information about this item than what is given here, or if you have concerns about this record, we want to know! Contact us, indicating the AAPB ID (cpb-aacip/500-pc2t8j63).
Description
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.
Broadcast Date
1959-01-01
Topics
Public Affairs
Subjects
Disasters--United States.
Media type
Sound
Duration
00:29:38
Embed Code
Copy and paste this HTML to include AAPB content on your blog or webpage.
Credits
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: 59-15-1 (National Association of Educational Broadcasters)
Format: 1/4 inch audio tape
Duration: 00:29:13
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Citations
Chicago: “When disaster strikes; Rehearsal for disaster,” 1959-01-01, University of Maryland, American Archive of Public Broadcasting (GBH and the Library of Congress), Boston, MA and Washington, DC, accessed May 29, 2024, http://americanarchive.org/catalog/cpb-aacip-500-pc2t8j63.
MLA: “When disaster strikes; Rehearsal for disaster.” 1959-01-01. University of Maryland, American Archive of Public Broadcasting (GBH and the Library of Congress), Boston, MA and Washington, DC. Web. May 29, 2024. <http://americanarchive.org/catalog/cpb-aacip-500-pc2t8j63>.
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-pc2t8j63