Civil Defense in Erie County

Wednesday, October 17, 1951

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

Bill Leonard introduces the 39th program in the "Plan for Survival" series over the civil defense radio network. A report on what one part of the state, Erie County, is doing for civil defense.

Clip of an announcement concerning nuclear weapons in Russia, broadcast Wednesday, October 3. Heralds more menace to our lives.

Volunteer civil defense force. William J. Flynn, director of recruitment and training for Erie County's civil defense, explains how volunteers are recruited.

Mr. and Mrs. Elmer Clavoon (?) talk about the training of volunteers. He says it's useful for everyone to go through the training. She says there needs to be two women for every one man enlisted.

Lawrence J. Emerling, deputy chief of the New York Fire Corp, talks about problems in recruiting volunteer firemen.

A report from the Navy about civil defense volunteers. A list of the materials needed to treat a burn victim. Specific details about the atomic blast itself.

Edward R. Swartzenberg, of the Erie County county civil defense talks about problems they've faced in getting volunteers.

Audio courtesy of the NYC Municipal Archives WNYC Collection

WNYC archives id: 71564
Municipal archives id: LT1847


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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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