Food and water

Wednesday, April 18, 1951

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

13th in the series.

Bill Leonard talks to Omar Pancost, Special Consultant of the New York State Civil Defense Commission, about food and water. Families should be keeping a few days' worth of high energy content food that can be prepared without water, as well as fruit juices. Householders should avoid wasteful food buying to avoid adding to inflation. An atomic blast could contaminate any exposed or open food. Most streets will not be impassable after an attack. Emergency feeding stations will be set up. There is very little chance water will be contaminated by radiation.

Leonard talks with Dr. Theodore Rosenthal, of the New York City Department of Health, about what will happen to food and water in the event of an emergency. Sealed bottles of water should be stored in the home and will be safe to use. Conserve water for fire fighting. Don't rush to take a bath or shower after an attack unless told you may have been exposed to contamination. No serious contamination of water after a high air burst. Plans for transportation of food, food for infants, food for homeless people and food for working men.

Program concludes with announcer requesting listeners to send in questions.

Audio courtesy of the NYC Municipal Archives WNYC Collection

WNYC archives id: 71842
Municipal archives id: LT1819

Hosted by:

Bill Leonard


Omar Pancost and Theodore Rosenthal


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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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