Question box program

Wednesday, May 16, 1951

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

17th in the series.

Bill Leonard and Martin Cayden, Technical Specialist for New York State Civil Defense Commission, answer listener questions. Cayden says that we know our enemies do have the ability to bomb us, as well as the willingness. We are not absolutely sure they will attack, though.

Ventilation in shelters: leave ventilators on until an attack, then there's no need to worry about suffocation after an attack.

How to build small underground shelters, the best kind of indoor shelter: the Commission has not released any specifications, though there is a pamphlet nearing completion.

Government contributions for shelters: The State of New York doesn't have any plans to finance private shelters.

Should people know their blood types?: Medical services will need blood and plasma donated immediately after an attack.

A list of towns or cities listed as no-threat of an attack?: There is no list, nor is there such a classification. Such action plays directly in to the enemy's hands. You cannot hide from danger. No place is immune from attack. The atomic bomb does not mean the end of our city/state/country.

In the second segment, Leonard and Joan Gould, of Arthur Wallander's staff, answer listener questions.

Identification tags: There are no plans to require citizens to wear ID tags.

Transportation after an attack: If the siren sounds, citizens must pull to the side of the road, exit their cars, and leave the keys in the ignition.

Care of pets: ASPCA

Children volunteering: They should participate in school activities and inspect their homes.

What if an attack happens while on a bus: In the case of a sneak attack, drop to the floor and cover face. For a warning, leave the bus and go to shelter.

Tenants in tall buildings: Lower floors are best, windowless hallways are okay. Boilers may have too much pressure to be safe.

Audio courtesy of the NYC Municipal Archives WNYC Collection

WNYC archives id: 71864
Municipal archives id: LT1825

Hosted by:

Bill Leonard


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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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