Water-born transportation and civil defense

Wednesday, May 02, 1951

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

Commissioner Arthur Wallander conducts a short question and answer session with Edward F. Cavanagh Jr., Commissioner of Marine and Aviation and Deputy Director of Water-born Transportation under the Division of Transportation.

Cavanagh notes that water transport is more rugged than other forms of transportation and suited to continue functioning during an emergency. It is a viable means for a large scale evacuation. The Department of of Marine and Aviation and the Marine Division of the fire department have conducted a thorough survey of all available craft - ferries, tugs, small crafts, etc.
In the event of a disaster the Evacuation Division would establish assembly points for water evacuations.
Even if the event of total disaster, stations would be able to continue because there are independent stations in each of the boroughs. The also each have there own radio communication, in the even of radio signal loss the stations have small crafts that could be sent out to communicate with flags and blinker lights.

Some crafts would be dedicated to fighting fires. Landings must be identified and depth must be considered so the proper craft is sent. Sites are being established to build landings.

At end, announcer reminds listeners of the air raid warnings scheduled for noon on Saturday, May 26 and every Saturday thereafter. He describes the horse power of all of the sirens.

Audio courtesy of the NYC Municipal Archives WNYC Collection

WNYC archives id: 71586
Municipal archives id: LT1826

Hosted by:

Arthur W. Wallander


Edward F. Cavanagh


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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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