This episode is from the WNYC archives. It may contain language which is no longer politically or socially appropriate.
37th in series.
Host Bill Leonard introduces this episode.
Reporter Lockwood Doty plays 'man on the street' interviews answering the question ""What would you do if an atomic bomb fell?"
Answers vary between "taking cover" and "running," a firefighter explains he would have to go to work. Doty notes that very few answered correctly - the correct response is to duck into a doorway or drop into a gutter and cover all exposed parts of the skin.
Doty admonishes a man who continued cutting his grass despite gas explosions in Rochester. His neighbors houses were burning, but he continued on with his chores. This would be the worst response in the face of an atomic bomb.
Milton O'Connell deputy director of NYS Civil Defense Commission talks about an exhibit on the results of an atomic attack. This exhibit which will be touring throughout the state.
Doty reminds listeners of other nations who have learned the meaning of 'personal survival' over the past twelves years: 1940 - the German Luftwaffe over England; August 6 and 9, 1945 - the atomic bombs dropped on Japan, and currently the Koreans.
Actuality of Governor Thomas Dewey speaking about the importance of Civil Defense. Speaks to civil defense officials from several New York cities. Doty continues talking about getting ready for "A-Day". Audio from various speakers about how they are preparing, including government officials from Niagra Falls, Syracuse, and others. James Costikian, Asst Director of NYC Civil Defense addresses the needs of New York, the city set a goal of enrolling 1 million citizens in Civil Defense training, but to this point they have only 250,000.
Tessie O'Shea, British commedianne, recalls an air raid during WWII in England. She recounts how she started a big fire because she was unprepared.
Ray Wiley, Syracuse Public Information Officer for Civil Defense, asks listeners to remember "some preparation is better than no preparation."
Audio courtesy of the NYC Municipal Archives WNYC Collection
WNYC archives id: 2479
Municipal archives id: LT1845
This is a machine-generated transcript. Text is unformatted and may contain errors.
This is Bill limited to introduce the thirty seventh in a weekly series of programs called plans for survival broadcast over the civil defense Radio Network this network links to virtually every radio station in New York State and it operates and partly by air and it can function even if regular communication lines are destroyed our program this week brings you the voices of people from Albany and Syracuse Niagara Falls Rochester New York City and many other places throughout the state they tell you the story of what Mr and Mrs John Citizen have done what they are doing now and what they must do for some time to come in the vital task of preparing for survival to tell a story from a reporter's point point of view here is radio newsman Lockwood Doty And the question is a vital question for every citizen what would you do if an atomic bomb fell. We put the same question to a group of people in one of New York state's largest cities a city that conceivably could be the victim of an atomic attack the answer is the first. Thing about only five in my jacket. Close to the side of a building or something in. The for. The first. Time. If there were anything like that. As you heard very few of those persons knew the correct answer which is ducking into a doorway if there's one close otherwise drop on your face in the gutter are beside a building cover all exposed parts of the skin if your home town was hit by an atom bomb tomorrow and you were one of those who didn't know what to do by tomorrow night the chances are you would be only a statistic several weeks ago when a series of gas explosions wrecked thirty one homes in Brighton a suburb of Rochester a man in the disaster area kept on his lawn homes on either side of his were burning and across the street another was going up in smoke but this man continued to push his lawnmower and when he had finished cutting the grass he brought out a pair of flippers to trim the head there's nothing I can do he told the reporter I'm not very handy best thing I can do is cut grass. Well this gentleman was brave no question about that but if those gas explosions had been atomic explosions his bravery wouldn't help them too many of us have the idea that if an air raid should come the best thing we could do would be to continue cutting grass go right on doing what we were doing before the enemy planes showed up we shrug and say there's nothing we can do about it anyway if it's going to get us it's going to get us that might be true probably would be if you were directly under the bomb at Ground Zero or within a half mile of the blast but beyond that your chances of survival are good and they are up to you The New York State Civil Defense Commission has prepared on exhibits which will tour the state it was opened last month at the State Fair and Sarah Hughes and we asked Milton O'Connell deputy director of the state civil defense commission for a rundown on the exhibits purpose. That we have been able to magically. Bring home the story devastation caused by an atomic bomb to the people who say it people are very busy these days they have too many things to do and the subject of an atomic attack is not too pleasant to them they don't like to think about it read therefore are using this means and this exhibit at the state of New York city to city thousands more on see exactly what the results of atomic attack and may do something really within their own homes read they write an organized civil defense groups to save their lives and when an attack should take place after our civil defense is common sense civil defense. Activity and it is nothing less than insurance. Personal survival during the past twelve years those two words I've taken on a significance never before known Europeans know exactly what they mean they remember the nothings and now the communists Englishman learned all about those two words in nineteen forty when the Germans carried over British cities. The Japanese learned meaning two fatal days in August nineteen forty five the Koreans know about personal survival. We may someday learn the meaning of those two words the way others but if we learned by. The first hand so terrible as governor do is that. People realize that one way to avoid war is to be strong enough so we won't be attacked the biggest job the citizens of our state is. At home and that means doing everybody. In the community. And. We ask the federal civil defense administration how he thought the New York state would bring home to us the question we must learn. To. The average. Has to go down in this country. And. Photograph. After an atomic bomb. And. What could happen. For that sort of attack. I hope that everyone who is listening to me. Let's keep this in mind and do his part. To protect some sound and his family and friends getting in touch with the center of the French director in his own county and finding out how he can help to prepare against attack upon this country and most of the cities of New York State have done something to get ready for a day if it should come the small cities as well as the large and very conscious of the official level of the desperate need for getting ready to name but one of the smallest It is Lockport the pages of the lock Fort Union sun and journal and almost every issue carries some news of what the Lockport Civil Defense Council and the people are doing for the day they hope will never come we asked civil defense officials of several New York City's what they are doing lucky at Niagara Falls told us how his area is accomplishing the vital job of recruiting same day workers. And that the interest in civil defense tends to go up and down with the international situation worked on recruitment and organization and training until finally we have now approximately ten thousand people in Niagara Falls organized in civil defense. In the city of about ninety five thousand and so that Rep represents roughly one out of every ten in that city being in civil defense now I really find that when the president talks to socks that interest in civil defense has gone down again I'm special efforts are going to have to be made to recruit more of our civil defense we hope for peace and security but we prepare for the worst. Next Colonel Harvey Smith civil defense director for the serac used area we are not fully facing the facts about atomic survival until we are trained we can use thousands of volunteers for civil defense and an about a county sheriff in the state in the yard and I'd like to say to the people who've made lessons as you're going to wait till it's too late the bomb explodes you give us in the says the city of Rochester as had the most recent experience with explosions the tragedy in Brighton that we mentioned earlier in this broadcast and hairy bear on the Rochester Civil Defense Organization told us what his city has done in rolling up its sleeves to get ready for a day one of the major problems we had was recruiting as has happened in many other cities and we found success and putting forth a recording drive during the month of June more than five thousand volunteers indicated their interest in the various categories of civil defense and not being urged to register it formally in the city firehouses although we did not reach our goal of approximately fifteen thousand this in the volunteers cried we tried to run our ranks under the circumstance we have pleased with the results. Civil defense director to tell us what his city is doing. About defense plans in the state's capital. Civil defense director. The biggest civil defense the biggest. Assistant director of the. Defense Organization. Population. Training is progressing satisfactorily and. We have trained approximately one hundred thirty five to one hundred forty. Training against the possibility of. British comedy. Remembers. I can tell you about a little incident. I was. Playing. I had never heard. Of like. And I find the mind in the. Nine ten. Come around again like. I am not knowing I just. Find a nice. Because. When an old has. Lasers write up. I'm trying to tell you with. Time I should have known that I should have planned. Anything. Ana started a big farm which was a shocking thing because I was unprepared and I may be telling you I mean after that I went and I learned all there was about civil defense. Anyway I possibly could that's all I can tell you I mean it's just a little incident but it could have led to thousands of lives lost but what is the answer the final answer to this getting ready for a while a public information officer for the serac U.S. aerial Civil Defense Organization told us remember it can happen in your state that may happen in your city we pray to God that it doesn't but if it does I slowed down and some preparation is better than no preparation and the more we have the mind lines the rule be saved as we say at the commission when we say with one child even if it's yet unborn we have done something for the people of New York State thank you Mr Wiley and thanks to the rest of you who have appeared on this broadcast remember to keep your eyes open for that New York state civil defense exhibit that's coming to your area this is locked with also reminding you that the civil defense commission's plan for survival is your plan for survival. Thank you for your interesting report on civil defense in New York State you may find out when the New York State Civil Defense commission's plan for survival exhibit will be in your community by calling or writing your local office of civil defense make it a point to see it when it comes to your town next week plan for survival we'll present sketch Henderson and say Emerson to outstanding figures of the entertainment world to bring you more of the colorful dramatic and continuing story of civil defense this is Bill Leonard reminding you that several defense is common sense and this is the civil defense radio network.