The role of the Department of Marine and Aviation in Civil Defense

Monday, November 13, 1950

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

Civil defense is no picnic, it is grim but must be done. We must have a hard headed policy in order to maintain peace.

Commissioner Arthur Wallander speaks with his guest, Commissioner Edward F. Cavanagh, Jr. of the Department of Marine and Aviation. Cavanagh describes the function of his department in relation to Civil Defense. They are responsible for all water born transportation. Water transportation is most suited to continue operation in the face of a disaster.
He notes that Commander William B. Leeds of the US Coast Guard has been invaluable in aiding the department to establish plans.

Cavanagh notes the many surveys that have been carried out, including helicopter surveys of evacuation routes and surveys of under water terrain.

Maritime industries have also been surveyed as well as equipment and personnel for use in the case of an emergency.

The department has also established a working relationship with the civil air patrol. They've arranged for emergency transportation of key personnel and medical supplies.

He closes by thanking all the maritime organizations and labor unions who are cooperating with the Department of Marine and Aviation.

Audio courtesy of the NYC Municipal Archives WNYC Collection

WNYC archives id: 71594
Municipal archives id: LT1863


Edward F. Cavanagh

Hosted by:

Arthur W. Wallander


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About Report on Civil Defense

From public welfare to firefighting to water safety, this program updates the public about disaster preparedness.

From 1950 to 1952, Arthur J. Wallander, Civil Defense Director for New York City, interviewed the heads of city departments about the steps their departments had taken to meet the needs of the city's civil defense system.

These programs provide an interesting vantage point on beliefs and fears about what many assumed were imminent attacks.  While providing exhaustive details about the municipal systems, they also ask the implicit question, what is your plan in the case of nuclear attack? 


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