Old Civil Defense Planning Films

The “Nuclear Effects Tools” page has a scenario building update to help you with evaluating your own vulnerability.

yeso1In my search for information, I came across, and reviewed, some old Civil Defense films from the 50s and 60s.  One of them draws quite a bit of negative commentary, and those complaints are based on the “If a bomb hits, you are dead” crowd-think. I must agree on one point – if the bomb hits near enough, you are dead. Make no bones about it. Unless your name is some version of Jung-il, you’d be crazy to treat a nuke as a toy or some inconsequential tool in a war-maker’s chest.

BUT…. as with all things that go *BOOM*, your proximity to the blast is all important in determining if your are killed by the effects of the blast. This is why nuclear effects simulators are so very important to the average Joe. The film I’m talking about is the old “Duck and Cover” production. People laugh at it because the kids piling under their desks, and the men falling in gutters and crouching in doorways will die when that bomb pops. They miss the all important point. I’ll make it clear, here.

If you are outside the zone where blast will kill you outright, you can still be killed if you don’t take cover!

It’s really that simple. You will receive a last ditch warning, even if no siren sounds or no emergency broadcast screams from a radio or TV. There will be a flash. A bright one. It is your warning that a bomb has exploded and a wave of rapidly advancing pressure is on its way to you. When it arrives, it will destroy windows and light construction, and it will take things that normally do not move and will move them anyway.

Taking cover does a few things for you. It protects you from…

  •  body shredding missiles such as shattered panes of glass, ruptured ceilings, splintered doors and small furniture
  • falling debris and heavy section of ceiling
  • outdoors debris like masonry facades, signs, fence parts
  • the blast wave itself in the case of one who choses to lay flat, as opposed to standing upright and taking the hit full-on
  • and any number of items that could be lifted and thrown forcefully at your person

Many individuals that could otherwise shield themselves from these material insults to their bodies will be injured or killed because they stood still, asking “What was that?” instead of ducking, taking cover, getting under something sturdy or hiding behind a heavy mass capable of taking some hits.

The films I watched are old. You should see “The House in the Middle.” It’s on YouTube. The techniques used in making the film are dated, the weapons used in the test are relatively small, but each of the concepts remain as valid as they were back then. Heat and blast haven’t changed. They have increased, and so the distances at which the effects presented in the films have grown longer. By taking these into account, and making the proper adjustments, it’s not hard to place these concepts within their proper spheres of applicability.

I think I’ll put together a post, collecting some of those old films into one location for your study. I don’t want to see anyone cut to ribbons by flying glass, or beat to death as they are tossed into the side of a building while standing like some target mannequin.

Nuclear attacks are survivable for a great many people. Prepping for the aftermath is possible. Don’t let hopelessness lock you into a defeat mentality. Study the effects of nuclear weapons – REAL weapons, not Cold War monsters that only exist in memory.

1 comment to Old Civil Defense Planning Films

  • Thank you very much for this post. I have been preaching the validity of the Duck and Cover concept expounded in that Duck and Cover film for a very long time. It is good to know that others recognize the fact that it is a valid concept.

    People make fun of it, and some consider it a false hope type of thing. It isn’t. Ducking and covering will save lives and prevent many injuries if a person is outside the zone of total destruction. It certainly is not a guarantee of survival, but it ups the chances dramatically.

    Just my opinion.


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