Police Protection

Monday, April 02, 1951

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

15th in series.

Al Morgan hosts, substituting for Bill Leonard. The format of the show is listener questions and answers with guest Sergeant Richard T. Barber.

Q. In the event of a bomb there will most certainly be sabotage, has the state taken steps to protect industries from this kind of attack?
A. Yes, while industrial plants are responsible for themselves, the police have taken steps, particularly with key industries, where measures against internal sabotage are already enforced. Most industrial plants have already taken their own measures of protection.

Q. The water supply of New York States seems highly vulnerable to pollution by an enemy , during the last war it was protected by armed guards. Are we going to do the same now?
A. Sergeant Barber reminds listeners that water comes from numerous sources and that only 1% of water consumed is drank. He cannot divulge the actual security measures, but reassures listeners that steps are being taken.

Q. If our city is bombed there will undoubtedly be some looting, how do we protect ourselves?
A. A well-trained volunteer police force is vital. New York State is prepared with an auxiliary police force through the Civil Defense program. It is a policy of the Civil Defense Commission that every community have a trained auxiliary police force.

That wraps up the New York State portion of Plan for Survival, the New York City segment follows with New York Police Commissioner Thomas Murphy.

Q. During some emergencies in the city of New York the police phone lines have been strained to capacity. How is this going to be handled during a bombing attack?
A. Comprehensive plans have been put into effect. The police department communications division is increasing the number of phone lines to each command throughout the city. The two way radio system and other radio systems are also utilized, as well as walkie-talkies and motorcycle messengers. A new network consisting of borough control centers has been established as well.

Q. Is training for the auxiliary police the same as that for regular policemen?
A. Practically so.

Q. How will we cope with traffic during an alert?
A. There will be no normal traffic during an alert, only official vehicles will be allowed to move in this scenario.

Q. Should parking areas be marked off for use during an alert?
A. No - it would be a waste of space. Seconds count when a bomb falls and there would not be time to move cars to a designated area.

Audio courtesy of the NYC Municipal Archives WNYC Collection

WNYC archives id: 71799
Municipal archives id: LT1813


Richard T. Barber and Thomas Francis Murphy

Hosted by:

Al Morgan


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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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