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Civil Defense Department of New York State

Wednesday, July 25, 1951

This episode is from the WNYC archives. It may contain language which is no longer politically or socially appropriate.

James Flemming reports first about tests taking place at the Enewetak Atoll, then to Rochester, NY for an "on the scene sound picture" of Operation Rochester.
They describe the detonation of an atomic bomb on Enewetak, and radiation surveys that took place immediately after. The radiation hazard was reported to disappear after the first two minutes, allowing for rescue work to begin, as in the Texas City disaster.


Milton B. O'Connell speaks about "Operation Rochester," which took place July 14, 1941. 12,000 people participated in this simulated A-bomb attack. Flemming describes the various duties carried out by member of the public. The drill included individuals with mock injuries.


Flemming continues to reiterate the need for volunteers.


Audio courtesy of the NYC Municipal Archives WNYC Collection


WNYC archives id: 71709
Municipal archives id: LT4226

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About Plan For Survival

"Maybe you, maybe me.  Death and destruction ... Panic in the streets ..." Not a program for pre-bedtime listening, these recordings examine the impossibility of sufficiently preparing for nuclear winter.

With surprisingly calm moderators, the Plan for Survival series (1950-1951) goes beyond the usual "duck and cover" advisement and into the details of an A-bomb attack, fallout shelters, the Soviet threat, first aid, radiation sickness, and food and water supplies following a nuclear attack. Guests include civilians recounting their survival experiences in wartime, like the missile blitzes in England.

The show was transcribed for the Civil Defense Network, which "linked virtually every radio station in New York State and operates entirely by air. It can function even if regular radio lines are destroyed." Bill Leonard hosts with expert panelists, and most programs consist of a balance of speculation and civil information for New York State in general and New York City in particular.  Intended to be a public service announcement for a new nuclear age, the record of these programs now serves to add perspective to 21st century fears —from suffocating due to sinus congestion to bags left in the subway. It's clear -- death comes from above.

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