Public Works division and Civil Defense

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

Commissioner Arthur Wallander discusses civil defense with Commissioner of Public Works, Frederick Zurmuhlen.


Zurmuhlen reports that the Public Works emergency division is well organized, they have enlisted 50,000 volunteer personnel and the siren installation project is almost complete. Other projects are under way, and plans to avoid sabotage have been put in place.


One of the biggest challenges faced by the Public Works office following an attack is the debris that will block streets and broken mains restricting access to utilities. Likewise, building stability is of concern. Furthermore, Zurmuhlen discusses a master list that is kept up to date that catalogs all heavy moving equipment, such as motor vehicles, truck cranes, bull dozers, as well as tools such as shovels, picks, and crow bars. The cataloged list is maintained using an IBM computer. He also speaks of the many individuals trained to respond to a disaster.


Audio courtesy of the NYC Municipal Archives WNYC Collection


WNYC archives id: 71588
Municipal archives id: LT1820