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Title: In Time Of Emergency
       A Citizen's Handbook On Nuclear Attack, Natural Disasters (1968)

Author: Department of Defense

Release Date: February 24, 2005 [EBook #15158]

Language: English

Character set encoding: ASCII


Produced by Kevin Handy, John Hagerson, and the PG Online Distributed
Proofreading Team.

in time of

a citizen's handbook on



       *       *       *       *       *










Civil Defense____________________________________




Health Department________________________________




Red Cross________________________________________

Utility Companies________________________________


Weather Bureau___________________________________


       *       *       *       *       *



The Office of Civil Defense gratefully acknowledges the assistance
provided by representatives of the following agencies and organizations
in the preparation of material for this handbook:

    U.S. Atomic Energy Commission

    U.S. Department of Agriculture

    U.S. Department of Commerce; Environmental Science Services
    Administration; Weather Bureau

    U.S. Department of Health, Education, and Welfare; Public
    Health Service

    Office of Emergency Planning, Executive Office of the President

    American Medical Association; Committee on Disaster Medical

    American National Red Cross

    National Geographic Society

    National Association of State Civil Defense Directors

    United States Civil Defense Council

The Office of Civil Defense, however, is solely responsible for the
validity and accuracy of the information in the handbook.

       *       *       *       *       *




    Chapter 1--Checklist of Emergency Actions

    Chapter 2---Understand the Hazards of Nuclear Attack

    Chapter 3--Know About Warning

    Chapter 4--Fallout Shelters, Public and Private

    Chapter 5--Improvising Fallout Protection

    Chapter 6--Supplies for Fallout Shelters

    Chapter 7--Water, Food, and Sanitation in a Shelter

    Chapter 8--Fire Hazards

    Chapter 9--Emergency Care of the Sick and Injured


    Chapter 1--General Guidance

    Chapter 2--Floods and Hurricanes

    Chapter 3--Tornadoes

    Chapter 4--Winter Storms

    Chapter 5--Earthquakes


       *       *       *       *       *


A major emergency affecting a large number of people may occur anytime
and anywhere.

It may be a peacetime disaster such as a flood, tornado, fire,
hurricane, blizzard or earthquake. It could be an enemy nuclear attack
on the United States.

In any type of general disaster, lives can be saved if people are
prepared for the emergency, and know what actions to take when it

With the aid of Federal and State governments, cities and counties in
all parts of the country are developing their local civil defense
systems--the fallout shelters, supporting equipment and emergency plans
needed to reduce the loss of life from an enemy attack.

While these local government systems have been set up mainly as
safeguards against nuclear attack, they have saved lives and relieved
suffering in many major peacetime disasters. People have been warned of
impending storms and similar dangers, told how to protect themselves,
sheltered from the elements, fed and clothed, treated for injury and
illness, and given help in resuming their normal lives. Experience has
shown that as cities, counties and towns develop their systems to
preserve life under nuclear attack conditions, they also become better
prepared to deal effectively with peacetime disasters.

In cooperation with the U.S. Office of Civil Defense and the States,
many local governments are improving their civil defense systems by
preparing community shelter plans. These plans include instructions to
local citizens on what to do in the event of nuclear attack.

This handbook, "In Time of Emergency," contains basic general
information on both nuclear attack and major natural disasters. This
general guidance supplements the specific instructions issued by local
governments. Since special conditions may exist in some communities, the
local instructions may be slightly different from this general guidance.
In those cases, the local instructions should be followed.

Part I (pages 3-68) is concerned with nuclear attack and basic actions
to take.

Part II (pages 69-86) discusses preparations and emergency actions that
will help individuals cope with major natural disasters--floods,
hurricanes, tornadoes, winter storms, and earthquakes.

In addition to following the advice given in this handbook and the
instructions of their local governments, people can prepare themselves
better to meet any major disaster by taking training courses to develop
their "emergency skills." Especially recommended are these courses:

"PERSONAL AND FAMILY SURVIVAL" (12-hour course)--A basic orientation
course in civil defense, which also tells people how to improve their
protection against the effects of a nuclear attack.

"MEDICAL SELF-HELP" (16-hour course)--How to care for the sick and
injured if a doctor or nurse is not available.

"FIRST AID" (courses of various lengths)--How to help the sick and
injured until professional medical assistance is obtained.

"CARE OF THE SICK AND INJURED" (12-hour course)--How to care for
patients after they have received professional medical treatment.

Information on these free courses, which are given in most communities,
is available from local Civil Defense Offices, County Agricultural
Extension Agents, local public health departments, or American Red Cross
chapters. Special advice for rural families on emergency actions related
to crops and livestock is available from the U.S. Department of

       *       *       *       *       *



A nuclear attack against the United States would take a high toll of
lives. But our losses would be much less if people were prepared to meet
the emergency, knew what actions to take, and took them.

A nationwide civil defense system now exists in the United States, and
is being enlarged and improved constantly. The heart of this system is
fallout shelter to protect people from the radioactive fallout that
would result from a nuclear attack. The system also includes warning and
communications networks, preparations to measure fallout radiation,
control centers to direct lifesaving and recovery operations, emergency
broadcasting stations, local governments organized for emergency
operations, large numbers of citizens trained in emergency skills, and
U.S. military forces available to help civil authorities and the public
in a time of emergency.

If an enemy should threaten to attack the United States, you would not
be alone. The entire Nation would be mobilizing to repulse the attack,
destroy the enemy, and hold down our own loss of life. Much assistance
would be available to you--from local, State and Federal governments,
from the U.S. armed forces units in your area, and from your neighbors
and fellow-Americans. If an attack should come, many lives would be
saved through effective emergency preparations and actions.

You can give yourself and your family a much better chance of surviving
and recovering from a nuclear attack if you will _take time now to:_

     Understand the dangers you would face in an attack.

     Make your own preparations for an attack.

     Learn what actions you should take at the time of attack.

       *       *       *       *       *




     * Find out from your local government your local plan for
     emergency action.

     * Determine the specific actions you and members of your
     family are expected to take.


On the widespread threat of fallout, remember:

     * The most dangerous period is the first 24 hours after
     fallout arrives. But you might have to use fallout shelter
     for up to two weeks.

     * Highly dangerous amounts of fallout are visible. They look
     like particles of sand or salt.

     * There is little danger that adults could inhale or swallow
     enough fallout particles to hurt them. Small children,
     however, could be injured by drinking contaminated water or

     * A person exposed to fallout radiation does _not_ become
     radioactive. Radiation sickness is _not_ contagious; one
     person cannot "catch it" from another person.

* KNOW THE ATTACK WARNING SIGNAL (See Chapter 3, page 17)

     * On outdoor warning devices, the Attack Warning Signal is
     a _3- to 5-minute_ wavering sound, or a series of short blasts
     on whistles or horns.

     * This signal means: An enemy attack against the United
     States has been detected. _Take protective action_. (This
     has no other meaning, and will be used for no other purpose.)

     * On warning, don't use the phone. Get information from radio.


     * Public shelters are marked like this.

     * Good shelters can be prepared in homes with basements.



     * A basement corner below ground level, or a storm cellar, is
     the best place to improvise fallout protection.

     * For the best possible protection, use heavy and dense
     for shielding.

* PREPARE EMERGENCY SUPPLIES (See Chapter 6, page 39)

     Especially important are:

     * Water and other liquids.

     * Food requiring no cooking.

     * Special medicines.


* REDUCE FIRE HAZARDS (See Chapter 8, page 51)


     If no doctor is available, especially important are actions

     * Restore breathing.

     * Stop serious bleeding.

     * Treat for shock.

     * Treat broken bones and burns.


       *       *       *       *       *




1. The main hazards of a nuclear attack are blast, heat, fire, and
fallout radiation.

2. You _may_ be able to protect yourself against blast and heat by
getting inside a shelter or taking cover, before the nuclear explosions
  occur. You may be able to avoid fire injuries by putting out small
fires or escaping from large fires that might occur in your area.

3. You _can_ protect yourself against fallout radiation by getting
inside a fallout shelter--if possible, before fallout particles begin
drifting down--and by staying there until you are told to come    out by
authorities who have the equipment to measure radiation    levels.

4. After a nuclear attack, food and water would be available to most
people, and it would be usable. If any fallout particles have collected,
   they could be removed before the food is eaten or the water is
drunk. People suffering from extreme hunger or thirst should not    be
denied food or water, even if the available supplies are not    known to
be free of fallout particles or other radioactive substances.

5. Infants and small children should be fed canned or powdered milk
(if available) for awhile after the attack, unless the regular milk
supply is uncontaminated. They should not be given water that    may
contain radioactive substances, if other water known to be    pure is

6. A person cannot "catch" radiation sickness from another person.


When a nuclear bomb or missile explodes, the main effects produced are
intense light (flash), heat, blast, and radiation. How strong these
effects are depends on the size and type of the weapon; how far away the
explosion is; the weather conditions (sunny or rainy, windy or still);
the terrain (whether the ground is flat or hilly); and the height of the
explosion (high in the air, or near the ground).

All nuclear explosions cause light, heat and blast, which occur
immediately. In addition, explosions that are on or close to the ground
would create large quantities of dangerous radioactive fallout
particles, most of which would fall to earth during the first 24 hours.
Explosions high in the air would create smaller radioactive particles,
which would not have any real effect on humans until many months or
years later, if at all.[2]


If the U.S. should be attacked, the people who happened to be close to a
nuclear, explosion--in the area of heavy destruction--probably would be
killed or seriously injured by the blast, or by the heat of the nuclear

People a few miles away--in the "fringe area" of the explosion--would
be endangered by the blast and heat, and by fires that the explosion
might start. However, it is likely that most of the people in the fringe
area would survive these hazards.

People who were _outside_ the fringe area would not be affected by the
blast, heat or fire. Department of Defense studies show that in any
nuclear attack an enemy might launch against us, tens of millions of
Americans would be outside the fringe areas. To them--and to people in
the fringe areas who survived the blast, heat and fire--radioactive
fallout would be the main danger. Protective measures against this
danger can be taken.


When a nuclear weapon explodes near the ground, great quantities of
pulverized earth and other debris are sucked up into the nuclear cloud.
There the radioactive gases produced by the explosion condense on and
into this debris, producing radioactive fallout particles. Within a
short time, these particles fall back to earth--the larger ones first,
the smaller ones later. On the way down, and after they reach the
ground, the radioactive particles give off invisible gamma rays--like
X-rays--too much of which can kill or injure people. These particles
give off most of their radiation quickly; therefore the first few hours
or days after an attack would be the most dangerous period.

In dangerously affected areas the particles themselves would look like
grains of salt or sand; but the _rays_ they would give off could not be
seen, tasted, smelled or felt. Special instruments would be required to
detect the rays and measure their intensity.


The distribution of fallout particles after a nuclear attack would
depend on wind currents, weather conditions and other factors. There is
no way of predicting in advance what areas of the country would be
affected by fallout, or how soon the particles would fall back to earth
at a particular location.

Some communities might get a heavy accumulation of fallout, while
others--even in the same general area--might get little or none. No area
in the U.S. could be sure of _not_ getting fallout, and it is probable
that some fallout particles would be deposited on most of the country.

Areas close to a nuclear explosion might receive fallout within 15-30
minutes. It might take 5-10 hours or more for the particles to drift
down on a community 100 or 200 miles away.

Generally, the first 24 hours after fallout began to settle would be the
most dangerous period to a community's residents. The heavier particles
falling during that time would still be highly radioactive and give off
strong rays. The lighter particles falling later would have lost much of
their radiation high in the atmosphere.


The invisible gamma rays given off by fallout particles can cause
radiation sickness--that is, illness caused by physical and chemical
changes in the cells of the body. If a person receives a large dose of
radiation, he will die. But if he receives only a small or medium dose,
his body will repair itself and he will get well. The same dose received
over a short period of time is more damaging than if it is received over
a longer period. Usually, the effects of a given dose of radiation are
more severe in very young and very old persons, and those not in good

No special clothing can protect people against gamma radiation, and no
special drugs or chemicals can prevent large doses of radiation from
causing damage to the cells of the body. However, antibiotics and other
medicines are helpful in treating infections that sometimes follow
excessive exposure to radiation (which weakens the body's ability to
fight infections).

Almost all of the radiation that people would absorb from fallout
particles would come from particles _outside_ their own bodies. Only
simple precautions would be necessary to avoid swallowing the particles,
and because of their size (like grains of sand) it would be practically
impossible to inhale them.

People exposed to fallout radiation do _not_ become radioactive and
thereby dangerous to other people. Radiation sickness is not contagious
or infectious, and one person cannot "catch it" from another person.


People can protect themselves against fallout radiation, and have a good
chance of surviving it, by staying inside a fallout shelter. In most
cases, the fallout radiation level outside the shelter would decrease
rapidly enough to permit people to leave the shelter within a few days.

Even in communities that received heavy accumulations of fallout
particles, people soon might be able to leave shelter for a few minutes
or a few hours at a time in order to perform emergency tasks. In most
places, it is unlikely that full-time shelter occupancy would be
required for more than a week or two.


The farther away you are from the fallout particles outside, the less
radiation you will receive. Also, the building materials (concrete,
brick, lumber, etc.) that are between you and the fallout particles
serve to absorb many of the gamma rays and keep them from reaching you.

A fallout shelter, therefore, does not need to be a special type of
building or an underground bunker. It can be _any space_, provided the
walls and roof are thick or heavy enough to absorb many of the rays
given off by the fallout particles outside, and thus keep dangerous
amounts of radiation from reaching the people inside the structure.

A shelter can be the basement or inner corridor of any large building;
the basement of a private home; a subway or tunnel; or even a backyard
trench with some kind of shielding material (heavy lumber, earth,
bricks, etc.) serving as a roof.

In addition to protecting people from fallout radiation, most fallout
shelters also would provide some limited protection against the blast
and heat effects of nuclear explosions that were not close by.

Chapter 4 (pages 23-32) discusses the various types of fallout shelters
that people can use to protect themselves in case of nuclear attack.


From many studies, the Federal Government has determined that enough
food and water would be available after an attack to sustain our
surviving citizens. However, temporary food shortages might occur in
some areas, until food was shipped there from other areas.

Most of the Nation's remaining food supplies would be usable after an
attack. Since radiation passing through food does not contaminate it,
the only danger would be the actual swallowing of fallout particles that
happened to be on the food itself (or on the can or package containing
the food), and these could be wiped or washed off. Reaping, threshing,
canning and other processing would prevent any dangerous quantities of
fallout particles from getting into processed foods. If necessary to
further protect the population, special precautions would be taken by
food processors.

Water systems might be affected somewhat by radioactive fallout, but the
risk would be small, especially if a few simple precautions were taken.
Water stored in covered containers and water in covered wells would not
be contaminated after an attack, because the fallout particles could not
get into the water. Even if the containers were not covered (such as
buckets or bathtubs filled with emergency supplies of water), as long as
they were indoors it is highly unlikely that fallout particles would get
into them.

Practically all of the particles that dropped into open reservoirs,
lakes, and streams (or into open containers or wells) would settle to
the bottom. Any that didn't would be removed when the water was filtered
before being pumped to consumers. A small amount of radioactive material
might dissolve in the water, but at most this would be of concern for
only a few weeks.

Milk contamination from fallout is not expected to be a serious problem
after an attack. If cows graze on contaminated pasture and swallow
fallout particles that contain some radioactive elements, their milk
might be harmful to the thyroid glands of infants and small children.
Therefore, if possible, they should be given canned or powdered milk for
a few weeks if authorities say the regular milk supply is contaminated
by radioactive elements.

In summary, the danger of people receiving harmful doses of fallout
radiation through food, water or milk is very small. People suffering
from extreme hunger or thirst should not be denied these necessities
after an attack, even if the only available supplies might contain
fallout particles or other radioactive substances.

       *       *       *       *       *





1. Learn what outdoor warning signals are used in your community, what
they sound like, what they mean, and what actions you should take when
you hear them.

2. Make sure you know the difference between the Attack Warning Signal
and the Attention or Alert Signal (if both are used in your community).


1. When you hear the warning signals, or warning information is
broadcast, take prompt action.

2. If the Attack Warning Signal sounds, go to a fallout shelter
immediately (unless your local government has told you to do something
else). After you are in shelter, listen to a radio for more information
and instructions.

3. If there is no public or private shelter you can go to, try to
improvise some fallout protection. As a last resort, take cover in the
best available place.

4. If there should be a nuclear flash--especially if you feel the warmth
from it--take cover _instantly_, and then move to a fallout shelter


An enemy attack on the United States probably would be preceded by a
period of international tension or crisis. This crisis period would help
alert all citizens to the _possibility_ of attack.

If an attack actually occurs, it is almost certain that incoming enemy
planes and missiles would be detected by our networks of warning
stations in time for citizens to get into shelters or at least take
cover. This warning time might be as little as 5-15 minutes in some
locations, or as much as an hour or more in others.

How you received warning of an attack would depend on where you happened
to be at that time. You might hear the warning given on radio or
television, or even by word-of-mouth. Or your first notice of attack
might come from the outdoor warning system in your own city, town or

Many U.S. cities and towns have outdoor warning systems, using sirens,
whistles, horns or bells. Although they have been installed mainly to
warn citizens of enemy attack, some local governments also use them in
connection with natural disasters and other peacetime catastrophes.

Different cities and towns are using their outdoor warning systems in
different ways. Most local governments, however, have decided to use a
certain signal to warn people of an enemy attack, and a different signal
to notify them of a peacetime disaster.


The two "standard" signals that have been adopted in _most_ communities
are these:

THE ATTACK WARNING SIGNAL. This will be sounded only in case of enemy
attack. The signal itself is a 3- to 5-minute _wavering sound_ on the
sirens, or a _series of short blasts_ on whistles, horns or other
devices, repeated as deemed necessary. The Attack Warning Signal means
that an actual enemy attack against the United States has been detected,
and that protective action should be taken immediately. This signal has
no other meaning, and will be used for no other purpose.

THE ATTENTION OR ALERT SIGNAL. This is used by some local governments to
get the attention of citizens in a time of threatened or impending
natural disaster, or some other peacetime emergency. The signal itself
is a 3-to 5-minute _steady blast_ on sirens, whistles, horns or other
devices. In most places, the Attention or Alert Signal means that the
local government wants to broadcast important information on radio or
television concerning a peacetime disaster. (See Chapter 1 of Major
Natural Disasters section of this handbook.)


1. _If you should hear the Attack Warning Signal_--unless your local
government has instructed you otherwise--go immediately to a public
fallout shelter marked like this, or to your home fallout shelter. Turn
on a radio, tune it to any local station that is broadcasting, and
listen  for official information. Follow whatever instructions are

If you are at home and there is no public or private shelter available,
you may be able to improvise some last-minute protection for yourself
and your family by following the suggestions in Chapter 5 (pages 33-38)
of this handbook. As a last resort, take cover anywhere you can.

2. If you should hear the Attention or Alert Signal, turn on a radio or
TV set, tune it to any local station, and follow the official
instructions being broadcast.


Whichever signal is sounding, _don't_ use the telephone to obtain
further information and advice about the emergency. Depend on the radio
or television, since the government will be broadcasting all the
information it has available. The telephone lines will be needed for
official calls. Help keep them open.


As mentioned before not all communities in the U.S. have outdoor warning
systems, and not all communities with warning systems have adopted the
two "standard" warning signals.

You should therefore _find out now_ from your local Civil Defense Office
what signals are being used, in _your_ community; what they sound like;
what they mean; and what actions you should take when you hear them.
Then memorize this information, or write it down on a card to carry with
you at all times. Also, post it in your home. Check at least once each
year to see if there are any changes.


It is possible--but extremely unlikely--that your first warning of an
enemy attack might be the flash of a nuclear explosion in the sky some
distance away. Or there might be a flash after warning had been given,
possibly while you were on your way to shelter.

* TAKE COVER INSTANTLY. If there should be a nuclear flash--especially
if you are outdoors and feel warmth at the same time--take cover
_instantly_ in the best place you can find. By getting inside or under
something within a few _seconds_, you might avoid being seriously burned
by the heat or injured by the blast wave of the nuclear explosion. If
the explosion were some distance away, you might have 5 to 15 _seconds_
before being seriously injured by the heat, and perhaps 30 to 60
_seconds_ before the blast wave arrived. Getting under cover within
these time limits might save your life or avoid serious injury. Also, to
avoid injuring your eyes, _never look at the flash of an explosion or
the nuclear fireball_.

* WHERE TO TAKE COVER. You could take cover in any kind of a building, a
storm cellar or fruit cellar, a subway station or tunnel--or even in a
ditch or culvert alongside the road, a highway underpass, a storm sewer,
a cave or outcropping of rock, a pile of heavy materials, a trench or
other excavation. Even getting under a parked automobile, bus or train,
or a heavy piece of furniture, would protect you to some extent. If no
cover is available, simply lie down on the ground and curl up. The
important thing is to avoid being burned by the heat, thrown about by
the blast, or struck by flying objects.

* BEST POSITION AFTER TAKING COVER. After taking cover you should lie on
your side in a curled-up position, and cover your head with your arms
and hands. This would give you some additional protection.

* MOVE TO A FALLOUT SHELTER LATER. If you protected yourself against the
blast and heat waves by instantly taking cover, you could get protection
from the radioactive fallout (which would arrive later) by moving to a
fallout shelter.

       *       *       *       *       *





1. Learn the locations of the public fallout shelters that your local
government wants you to go to in a time of attack. If no instructions of
this kind have been issued, learn the locations of the public shelters
nearest to you when you are at home, work, or school. Make sure each
member of the family knows these locations.

2. If there is no public fallout shelter near your home, prepare a
permanent or preplanned family shelter at home.


1. When you are warned of an enemy attack, go immediately to a public
fallout shelter or to your own home shelter, unless your local
government has given you other instructions.

2. Stay in shelter until you receive official notice that it is safe to
come out.


After a nuclear attack, fallout particles would drift down on most areas
of this country. To protect themselves from the radiation given off by
these particles, people in affected areas would have to stay in fallout
shelters for 2 or 3 days to as long as 2 weeks. Many people would go to
public fallout shelters, while others--through choice or
necessity--would take refuge in private or home fallout shelters.


Most communities now have public fallout shelters that would protect
many of their residents against fallout radiation. Where there are still
not enough public shelters to accommodate all citizens, efforts are
being made to provide more. In the meantime, local governments plan to
make use of the best available shelter.

Most of the existing public shelters are located in larger buildings and
are marked with this standard yellow-and-black fallout shelter sign.
Other public shelters are in smaller buildings, subways, tunnels, mines
and other facilities. These also are marked with shelter signs, or would
be marked in a time of emergency.


An attack might come at any hour of the day or night. Therefore you
should find out _now_ the locations of those public fallout shelters
designated by your local government for your use. If no designations
have yet been made, learn the locations of public shelters that are
nearest to you when you are at home, work, school, or any other place
where you spend considerable time.

This advice applies to all members of the family. Your children
especially should be given clear instructions _now_ on where to find a
fallout shelter at all times of the day, and told what other actions
they should take in case an attack should occur.


Public fallout shelters usually offer some advantages over home
shelters. However, in many places--especially suburban and rural
areas--there are few public shelters. If there is none near you, a home
fallout shelter may save your life.

The basements of some homes are usable as family fallout shelters as
they now stand, without any alterations or changes--especially if  the
house has two or more stories, and its basement is below ground level.

However, most home basements would need some improvements in order to
shield their occupants adequately from the radiation given off by
fallout particles. Usually, householders can make these improvements
themselves, with moderate effort and at low cost. Millions of homes have
been surveyed for the U.S. Office of Civil Defense by the U.S. Census
Bureau, and these householders have received information on how much
fallout protection their basements would provide, and how to improve
this protection.


In setting up any home fallout shelter, the basic aim is to place enough
"shielding material" between the people in the shelter and the fallout
particles outside.

Shielding material is any substance that would absorb and deflect the
invisible rays given off by fallout particles outside the house, and
thus reduce the amount of radiation reaching the occupants of the
shelter. The thicker or denser the shielding material is, the more it
would protect the shelter occupants.

Some radiation protection is provided by the existing, standard walls
and ceiling of a basement. But if they are not thick or dense enough,
other shielding material will have to be added.

Concrete, bricks, earth and sand are some of the materials that are
dense or heavy enough to provide fallout protection. For comparative
purposes, 4 inches of concrete would provide the same shielding density

  --5 to 6 inches of bricks.
  --6 inches of sand or gravel . .\ May be packed into bags, cartons, boxes,
  --7 inches or earth. . . . . . ./ or other containers for easier
  --8 inches of hollow concrete blocks (6 inches if filled with sand).
  --10 inches of water.
  --14 inches of books or magazines.
  --18 inches of wood.


If there is no public fallout shelter near your home, or if you would
prefer to use a family-type shelter in a time of attack, you should
prepare a home fallout shelter. Here is how to do it:

* A PERMANENT BASEMENT SHELTER. If your home basement--or one corner of
it--is below ground level, your best and easiest action would be to
prepare a permanent-type family shelter there. The required shielding
material would cost perhaps $100-$200, and if you have basic carpentry
or masonry skills you probably could do the work yourself in a short

Here are three methods of providing a permanent family shelter in the
"best" corner of your home basement--that is, the corner which is most
below ground level. If you decide to set up one of these shelters,
_first get the free plan for it_ by writing to Civil Defense, Army
Publications Center, 2800 Eastern Blvd. (Middle River), Baltimore, Md.
21220. In ordering a plan, use the full name shown for it.


If nearly all your basement is below ground level, you can use this plan
to build a fallout shelter area in one corner of it, without changing
the appearance of it or interfering with its normal peacetime use.

However, if 12 inches or more of the basement wall is above ground
level, this plan should _not_ be used unless you add the "optional
walls" shown in the sketch.

Overhead protection is obtained by screwing plywood sheets securely to
the joists, and then filling the spaces between the joists with bricks
or concrete blocks. An extra beam and a screwjack column may be needed
to support the extra weight.

Building this shelter requires some basic woodworking skills and about
$150-$200 for materials. It can be set up while the house is being
built, or afterward.


This is similar to Plan A, except that new extra joists are fitted into
part of the basement ceiling to support the added weight of the
shielding (instead of using a beam and a screwjack column).

The new wooden joists are cut to length and notched at the ends, then
installed between the existing joists.

After plywood panels are screwed securely to the joists, bricks or
concrete blocks are then packed tightly into the spaces between the
joists. The bricks or blocks, as well as the joists themselves, will
reduce the amount of fallout radiation penetrating downward into the

Approximately one-quarter of the total basement ceiling should be
reinforced with extra joists and shielding material.

_Important:_ This plan (like Plan A) should _not_ be used if 12 inches
or more of your basement wall is above ground level, unless you add the
"optional walls" inside your basement that are shown in the Plan A


This shelter will provide excellent protection, and can be constructed
easily at a cost of $150 in most parts of the country.

Made of concrete blocks or bricks, the shelter should be located in the
corner of your basement that is most below ground level. It can be built
low, to serve as a "sitdown" shelter; or by making it higher you can
have a shelter in which people can stand erect.

The shelter ceiling, however, should _not_ be higher than the outside
ground level of the basement corner where the shelter is located.

The higher your basement is above ground level, the thicker you should
make the walls and roof of this shelter, since your regular basement
walls will provide only limited shielding against outside radiation.

Natural ventilation is provided by the shelter entrance, and by the air
vents shown in the shelter wall.

This shelter can be used as a storage room or for other useful purposes
in non-emergency periods.

A PREPLANNED BASEMENT SHELTER. If your home has a basement but you do
not wish to set up a permanent-type basement shelter, the next best
thing would be to arrange to assemble a "preplanned" home shelter. This
simply means gathering together, in advance, the shielding material you
would need to make your basement (or one part of it) resistant to
fallout radiation. This material could be stored in or around your home,
ready for use whenever you decided to set up your basement shelter.

Here are two kinds of preplanned basement shelters. If you want to set
up one of these, be sure to _get the free plan for it first_ by writing
to Civil Defense, Army Publications Center, 2800 Eastern Blvd. (Middle
River), Baltimore, Md. 21220. Mention the full name of the plan you


This is a snack bar built of bricks or concrete blocks, set in mortar,
in the "best" corner of your basement (the corner that is most below
ground level). It can be converted quickly into a fallout shelter by
lowering a strong, hinged "false ceiling" so that it rests on the snack

When the false ceiling is lowered into place in a time of emergency, the
hollow sections of it can be filled with bricks or concrete blocks.
These can be stored conveniently nearby, or can be used as room dividers
or recreation room furniture (see bench in sketch).


A tilt-up storage unit in the best corner of your basement is another
method of setting up a "preplanned" family fallout shelter.

The top of the storage unit should be hinged to the wall. In peacetime,
the unit can be used as a bookcase, pantry, or storage facility.

In a time of emergency, the storage unit can be tilted so that the
bottom of it rests on a wall of bricks or concrete blocks that you have
stored nearby.

Other bricks or blocks should then be placed in the storage unit's
compartments, to provide an overhead shield against fallout radiation.

The fallout protection offered by your home basement also can be
increased by adding shielding material to the outside, exposed portion
of your basement walls, and by covering your basement windows with
shielding material.

You can cover the above-ground portion of the basement walls with earth,
sand, bricks, concrete blocks, stones from your patio, or other

You also can use any of these substances to block basement windows and
thus prevent outside fallout radiation from entering your basement in
that manner.

* A PERMANENT OUTSIDE SHELTER. If your home has no basement, or if you
prefer to have a permanent-type home shelter in your yard, you can
obtain instructions on how to construct several different kinds of
outside fallout shelters by writing to the U.S. Office of Civil Defense,
Department of Defense, Washington, D.C. 20310. There is no charge for


You should not come out of shelter until you are told by authorities
that it is safe to do so. Special instruments are needed to detect
fallout radiation and to measure its intensity. Unless you have these
instruments, you will have to depend on your local government to tell
you when to leave shelter.

This information probably would be given on the radio, which is one
reason why you should keep on hand a battery-powered radio that works in
your shelter area.

If you came out of shelter too soon, while the fallout particles outside
were still highly radioactive, you might receive enough radiation to
make you sick or even kill you.

Remember that _fallout particles_ can be seen, but the _rays_ they give
off cannot be seen. If you see unusual quantities of gritty particles
outside (on window ledges, sidewalks, cars, etc.) after an attack, you
should assume that they are fallout particles, and therefore stay inside
your shelter until you are told it is safe to come out.

       *       *       *       *       *





1. If there is no public fallout shelter near your home and you have
decided _not_ to prepare a permanent or preplanned shelter in your
basement or yard, make sure that you have on hand _now_ the materials
and tools needed to improvise an emergency shelter at home. These would
include shielding material (for an inside shelter), and lumber and a
shovel (for an outside shelter).


1. If you have no better shelter to go to, improvise an emergency
shelter at home.

2. Usually, the best place for an improvised shelter would be in your
basement or storm cellar.

3. If you don't have a basement or storm cellar, you might be able to
improvise a shelter in the crawl space under your house, outside in your
yard, or (as a last resort) on the ground floor of your house. In some
places, a boat would provide some fallout protection.


If an enemy attack should occur when you are at home, and you have made
no advance shelter preparations, you still might be able to improvise a
shelter either inside or outside your house. In a time of emergency, the
radio broadcasts may tell you whether you have time to improvise a
shelter or should take cover immediately.

An improvised shelter probably would not give you as much protection as
a permanent or a preplanned family shelter, but any protection is better
than none, and might save your life.

The best place to improvise a shelter would be the basement or storm
cellar, if your home has one.


To improvise a shelter you would need shielding materials such as those
mentioned on page 25--concrete blocks, bricks, sand, etc. Other things
could also be used as shielding material, or to support shielding
material, such as:

--House doors that have been taken off their hinges (especially heavy
outside doors).

--Dressers and chests (fill the drawers with sand or earth after they
are placed in position, so they won't be too heavy to carry and won't
collapse while being carried).

--Trunks, boxes and cartons (fill them with sand or earth after they are
placed in position).

--Tables and bookcases.

--Large appliances (such as washers and dryers).

--Books, magazines, and stacks of firewood or lumber.

--Flagstones from outside walks and patios.


Here are two ways of improvising fallout protection in the basement of a

Set up a large, sturdy table or workbench in the corner of your basement
that is most below ground level.

On the table, pile as much shielding material as it will hold without
collapsing. Around the table, place as much shielding material as

When family members are "inside the shelter"--that is, under the
table--block the opening with other shielding material.

If you don't have a large table or workbench available--or if more
shelter space is needed--place furniture or large appliances in the
corner of the basement so they will serve as the "walls" of your

As a "ceiling" for it, use doors from the house that have been taken off
their hinges. On top of the doors, pile as much shielding material as
they will support. Stack other shielding material around the "walls" of
your shelter.

When all persons are inside the shelter space, block the opening with
shielding material.


A below-ground storm cellar can be used as an improvised fallout
shelter, but additional shielding material may be needed to provide
adequate protection from fallout radiation.

If the existing roof of the storm cellar is made of wood or other light
material, it should be covered with one foot of earth or an equivalent
thickness of other shielding material (see page 25) for overhead
shielding from fallout. More posts or braces may be needed to support
the extra weight.

After the roof has been shielded, better protection can be provided by
blocking the entrance way with 8-inch concrete blocks or an equivalent
thickness of sandbags, bricks, earth or other shielding material, after
all occupants are inside the shelter. A few inches should be left open
at the top for air. After particles have stopped falling, the outside
door may be left open to provide better ventilation.

If shielding material is not available for the entrance way, shelter
occupants should stay as far away from it as possible. They also should
raise the outside door of the storm cellar now and then to knock off any
fallout particles that may have collected on it.


Some homes without basements have "crawl space" between the first floor
and the ground underneath the house. If you have this space under your
house--and if the house is set on foundation walls, rather than on
pillars--you can improvise fallout protection for your family there.

First, get access to the crawl space through the floor or through the
outside foundation wall. (A trapdoor or other entry could be made now,
before an emergency occurs.)

As the location for your shelter, select a crawl-space area that is
under the center of the house, as far away from the outside foundation
walls as possible.

Around the selected shelter area, place shielding material-- preferably
bricks or blocks, or containers filled with sand or earth--from the
ground level up to the first floor of the house, so that the shielding
material forms the "walls" of your shelter area. On the floor above,
place other shielding material to form a "roof" for the shelter area.

If time permits, dig out more earth and make the shelter area deeper, so
you can stand erect or at least sit up in it.


If your home has no basement, no storm cellar and no protected crawl
space, here are two ways of improvising fallout protection in your yard:

* Dig an L-shaped trench, about 4 feet deep and 3 feet wide. One side of
the L, which will be the shelter area, should be long enough to
accommodate all family members. The other side of the L can be shorter,
since its purpose is to serve as an entrance-way and to reduce the
amount of radiation getting into the shelter area.

Cover the entire trench with lumber (or with house doors that have been
taken off their hinges), except for about 2 feet on the short side of
the L, to provide access and ventilation.

On top of the lumber or doors, pile earth 1 to 2 feet high, or cover
them with other shielding material.

If necessary, support or "shore up" the walls of the trench, as well as
the lumber or doors, so they will not collapse.

* Dig a shallow ditch, 6 inches deep and 6 inches wide, parallel to and
4 feet from the outside wall of your house.

Remove the heaviest doors from the house. Place the bottoms of the doors
in the ditch (so they won't slip), and lean the doors against the wall
of the house.

On the doors, pile 12 to 18 inches of earth or sand. Stack or pile other
shielding material at the sides of the doors, and also on the other side
of the house wall (to protect you against radiation coming from that

If possible, make the shelter area deeper by digging out more earth
inside it. Also dig some other shallow ditches, to allow rain water to
drain away.


If your home has no basement or storm cellar (and no crawl space that is
surrounded by foundation walls up to the first floor), you can get some
limited fallout protection by improvising a fallout shelter on the first
or ground floor of your house. However, this type of shelter probably
would not give you nearly as much protection as the other types of
improvised shelters described in this chapter.

Use an inner hall, inner room or large clothes closet on the ground
floor, away from outside walls and windows.

With doors, furniture and appliances, plus stacks of other shielding
material, you can create an enclosure large enough to live in for a
short time. If possible, use boxes filled with sand or earth as
shielding material, and fill drawers and trunks with sand or earth.

If there is not room for the shielding material in the limited space of
a closet or small room, you can place the material on the other sides of
the walls, or on the floor overhead.


If no better fallout protection is available, a boat with an enclosed
cabin could be used. However, in addition to emergency supplies such as
food, drinking water and a battery-powered radio, you should have aboard
the items you would need (a broom, bucket, or pump-and-hose) to sweep
off or flush off any fallout particles that might collect on the boat.

The boat should be anchored or cruised slowly at least 200 feet
offshore, where the water is at least 5 feet deep. This distance from
shore would protect you from radioactive fallout particles that had
fallen on the nearby land. A 5-foot depth would absorb the radiation
from particles falling into the water and settling on the bottom.

If particles drift down on the boat, stay inside the cabin most of the
time. Go outside now and then, and sweep or flush off any particles that
have collected on the boat.

       *       *       *       *       *





1. If you intend to go to a _public_ fallout shelter in a time of
attack, find out _now_ whether it has emergency supplies in it.

--If it _has_ emergency supplies, always keep on hand at home (or in
your car) those few additional supplies you would need to take with you.

--If it _does not have_ emergency supplies, always keep on hand at home
all the supplies you would need to take with you.

2. If you intend to use a family fallout shelter at home, always keep on
hand, in and around your home, all the supplies and equipment you would
need for a shelter stay of two weeks.


1. If you are going to a _public_ fallout shelter, take with you the
supplies you will need.

2. If you are going to your _home_ fallout shelter, gather up the
supplies and equipment you want to take to the shelter area with you.


People gathered in public and private fallout shelters to escape fallout
radiation after a nuclear attack would have to stay there--at least part
of the time--for a week or two.

During this time they would need certain supplies and equipment in order
to stay alive and well, and to cope with emergency situations that might
occur in their shelters.

This chapter tells you what supplies and equipment to take with you if
you go to a public fallout shelter, and what items you should keep on
hand if you plan to use a family fallout shelter at home.


To augment the supply of food and liquids usually found in large
buildings, most public fallout shelters are stocked--and others are
being stocked--with emergency supplies. These include water containers,
emergency food rations, sanitation items, basic medical supplies, and
instruments to measure the radiation given off by fallout particles.

If the public shelter you will use in a time of attack contains these or
other emergency supplies, you should plan to take with you only these
additional items:

--Special medicines or foods required by members of your family, such as
insulin, heart tablets, dietetic food or baby food.

--A blanket for each family member.

--A battery-powered radio, a flashlight, and extra batteries.

If the public shelter you are going to does _not_ contain emergency
supplies, you should take with you all the above items, _plus_ as much
potable liquids (water, fruit and vegetable juices, etc.) and
ready-to-eat food as you can carry to the shelter.


If you intend to use a home fallout shelter, you should _gather together
now_ all the things you and your family would need for 2 weeks, even
though you probably wouldn't have to remain inside shelter for that
entire period.

All these items need not be stocked in your home shelter area. They can
be stored elsewhere in or around your house, as long as you could find
them easily and move them to your shelter area quickly in a time of

* THE ABSOLUTE NECESSITIES. There are a few things you _must_ have. They
are water, food, sanitation supplies, and any special medicines or foods
needed by family members such as insulin, heart tablets, dietetic food
and baby food.

* THE COMPLETE LIST. In addition to the absolute necessities, there are
other important items. Some of them may be needed to save lives. At the
least, they will be helpful to you. Here is a list of all major
items--both essential and desirable.

WATER. This is even more important than food. Enough water should be
available to give each person at least one quart per day for 14 days.
Store it in plastic containers, or in bottles or cans. All should have
tight stoppers. Part of your water supply might be "trapped" water in
the pipes of your home plumbing system, and part of it might be in the
form of bottled or canned beverages, fruit or vegetable juices, or milk.
A water-purifying agent (either water-purifying tablets, or 2 percent
tincture of iodine, or a liquid chlorine household bleach) should also
be stored, in case you need to purify any cloudy or "suspicious" water
that may contain bacteria.

FOOD. Enough food should be kept on hand to feed all shelter occupants
for 14 days, including special foods needed by infants, elderly persons,
and those on limited diets. Most people in shelter can get along on
about half as much food as usual. If possible store canned or
sealed-package foods, preferably those not requiring refrigeration or
cooking. These should be replaced periodically. Here is a table showing
the suggested replacement periods, in months, for some of the types of
food suitable to store for emergency use.[3]

    Milk:                           _Months_
      Evaporated                          6
      Nonfat dry or whole dry milk,
          in metal container              6
    Canned meat, poultry, fish:
      Meat, poultry                      18
      Fish                               12
      Mixtures of meats, vegetables,
          cereal products                18
      Condensed meat-and-vegetable
          soups                           8
    Fruits and vegetables:
      Berries and sour cherries,
          canned                          6
      Citrus fruit juices, canned         6
      Other fruits and fruit juices,
      canned                             18
      Dried fruit, in metal container     6
      Tomatoes, sauerkraut, canned        6
      Other vegetables, canned
          (including dry beans and
          dry peas)                      18
    Cereals and baked goods:
      Ready-to-eat cereals:
        In metal container               12
        In original paper package         1
      Uncooked cereal (quick-cooking
        or instant):
            In metal container           24
            In original paper package    12
    Hydrogenated (or antioxidant-treated)
        fats, vegetable oil              12
    Sugars, sweets, nuts:
      Sugar          will keep indefinitely
      Hard candy, gum                    18
      Nuts, canned                       12
      Instant puddings                   12

      Coffee, tea, cocoa (instant)       18
      Dry cream product (instant)        12
      Bouillon products                  12
      Flavored beverage powders          24
      Salt           will keep indefinitely
      Flavoring extracts (e.g., pepper)  24
      Soda, baking powder                12

SANITATION SUPPLIES. Since you may not be able to use your regular
bathroom during a period of emergency, you should keep on hand these
sanitation supplies: A metal container with a tight-fitting lid, to use
as an emergency toilet; one or two large garbage cans with covers (for
human wastes and garbage); plastic bags to line the toilet container;
disinfectant; toilet paper; soap; wash cloths and towels; a pail or
basin; and sanitary napkins.

MEDICINES AND FIRST AID SUPPLIES. This should include any medicines
being regularly taken, or likely to be needed, by family members. First
aid supplies should include all those found in a good first aid kit
(bandages, antiseptics, etc.), plus all the items normally kept in a
well-stocked home medicine chest (aspirin, thermometer, baking soda,
petroleum jelly, etc.). A good first aid handbook is also recommended.

INFANT SUPPLIES. Families with babies should keep on hand a two-week
stock of infant supplies such as canned milk or baby formula, disposable
diapers, bottles and nipples, rubber sheeting, blankets and baby
clothing. Because water for washing might be limited, baby clothing and
bedding should be stored in larger-than-normal quantities.

COOKING AND EATING UTENSILS. Emergency supplies should include pots,
pans, knives, forks, spoons, plates, cups, napkins, paper towels,
measuring cup, bottle opener, can opener, and pocket knife. If possible,
disposable items should be stored. A heat source also might be helpful,
such as an electric hot plate (for use if power is available), or a camp
stove or canned-heat stove (in case power is shut off). However, if a
stove is used indoors, adequate ventilation is needed.

CLOTHING. Several changes of clean clothing--especially undergarments
and socks or stockings--should be ready for shelter use, in case water
for washing should be scarce.

BEDDING. Blankets are the most important items of bedding that would be
needed in a shelter, but occupants probably would be more comfortable if
they also had available pillows, sheets, and air mattresses or sleeping

FIRE FIGHTING EQUIPMENT. Simple fire fighting tools, and knowledge of
how to use them, may be very useful. A hand-pumped fire extinguisher of
the inexpensive, 5-gallon, water type is preferred. Carbon tetrachloride
and other vaporizing-liquid type extinguishers are not recommended for
use in small enclosed spaces, because of the danger of fumes. Other
useful fire equipment for home use includes buckets filled with sand, a
ladder, and a garden hose.

GENERAL EQUIPMENT AND TOOLS. The essential items in this category are a
battery-powered radio and a flashlight or lantern, with spare batteries.
The radio might be your only link with the outside world, and you might
have to depend on it for all your information and instructions,
especially for advice on when to leave shelter.

Other useful items: a shovel, broom, axe, crowbar, kerosene lantern,
short rubber hose for siphoning, coil of half-inch rope at least 25 feet
long, coil of wire, hammer, pliers, screwdriver, wrench, nails and

MISCELLANEOUS ITEMS. In addition to such practical items as matches,
candles, and civil defense instructions, some personal convenience items
could be brought into the home shelter if space permits. These might
include books and magazines, writing materials, a clock and calendar,
playing cards and hobby materials, a sewing kit, and toiletries such as
toothbrushes, cosmetics, and shaving supplies.

       *       *       *       *       *





1. Read this chapter fully, and learn how you would have to manage your
water, food and sanitation problems if you had to spend a week or two in
a fallout shelter, especially a home shelter.


1. If you are in a _public_ fallout shelter, do exactly what the shelter
manager tells you to do. He will take care of you to the best of his

2. If you are in a _home_ shelter, follow the advice given in this
chapter concerning water, food and sanitation. Take care of your water
and food supplies, keep them clean, and make them last for the period
you may have to stay in shelter. If necessary, set up an emergency
toilet, keep it clean, and make sure it is used properly.


At all times and under all conditions, human beings must have sufficient
water, adequate food and proper sanitation in order to stay alive and
healthy. When people are living in a fallout shelter--even for a week or
two--water and food may be scarce, and it may be difficult to maintain
normal sanitary conditions. Water and food supplies may have to be
"managed"--that is, taken care of, kept clean, and rationed to each
person in the shelter. Sanitation also may have to be managed and
controlled, perhaps by setting up emergency toilets and rules to insure
that they are used properly.

If you go to a _public_ fallout shelter in a time of attack, you
probably would not need to know a great deal about managing water, food,
and sanitation. A shelter manager and his assistants would handle these
problems with the cooperation of all in the shelter. He would make the
best use of whatever water and food supplies were available, provide
emergency toilets if necessary, set up rules for living in the shelter,
arrange for the shelter occupants to carry on various activities
necessary for health and well-being, and decide when it was safe for the
group to leave shelter and for how long at a time.

In a _home_ fallout shelter, however, you and your family would be
largely on your own. You would have to take care of yourselves, solve
your own problems, make your own living arrangements, subsist on the
supplies you had previously stocked, and find out for yourself (probably
by listening to the radio) when it was safe to leave shelter. In this
situation, one of your most important tasks would be to manage your
water and food supplies, and maintain sanitation. The following guidance
is intended to help you do this.


The average person in a shelter would need at least 1 quart of water or
other liquids per day to drink, but more would be useful (to allow some
for washing, etc.). Therefore a rationing plan might be required in your
home shelter, so as to make your available liquids last for 14 days.
(Many communities may continue to have potable water available, and
families could relax their rationing plans.)

In addition to water stored in containers, there is usually other water
available in most homes that is drinkable, such as:

--Water and other liquids normally found in the kitchen, including ice
cubes, milk, soft  drinks, and fruit and vegetable juices.

--Water (20 to 60 gallons) in the hot water tank.

--Water in the _flush tanks_ (not the bowls) of home toilets.

--Water in the pipes of your home plumbing system. In a time of nuclear
attack, local authorities may instruct householders to _turn off_ the
main water valves in their homes to avoid having water drain away in
case of a break and loss of pressure in the water mains. With the main
valve in your house closed, all the pipes in the house would still be
full of water. To use this water, _turn on_ the faucet that is located
at the _highest_ point in your house, to let air into the system; and
then draw water, as needed, from the faucet that is located at the
_lowest_ point in your house.

In a home shelter, occupants should drink first the water they know is
uncontaminated, such as that mentioned above. Of course, if local
authorities tell you the regular water is drinkable, it should be used.

If necessary, "suspicious" water--such as cloudy water from regular
faucets or perhaps some muddy water from a nearby stream or pond--can be
used after it has been purified. This is how to purify it:

1. Strain the water through a paper towel or several thicknesses of
clean cloth, to remove dirt and fallout particles, if any. Or else let
the water "settle" in a container for 24 hours, by which time any solid
particles would have sunk to the bottom. A handful of clay soil in each
gallon of water would help this settling process.

2. After the solid particles have been removed, boil the water if
possible for 3 to 5 minutes, or add a water-purifying agent to it. This
could be either: (_a_) water-purifying tablets, available at drug
stores, or (_b_) two percent tincture of iodine, or (_c_) liquid
chlorine household  bleach, provided the label says that it contains
hypochlorite as its _only_ active ingredient. For each gallon of water,
use 4 water-purifying tablets, or 12 drops of tincture of iodine, or 8
drops of liquid chlorine bleach. If the water is cloudy, these amounts
should be doubled.

There would not be much danger of drinking radioactive particles in
water, as they would sink quickly to the bottom of the container or
stream. Very few would dissolve in the water. Although open reservoirs
might contain some radioactive iodine in the first few days after an
attack, this danger is considered minor except to very young children.


Food also should be rationed carefully in a home shelter, to make it
last for at least a 2-week period of shelter occupancy. Usually, half
the normal intake would be adequate, except for growing children or
pregnant women.

In a shelter, it is especially important to be sanitary in the storing,
handling and eating of food, so as to avoid digestive upsets or other
more serious illness, and to avoid attracting vermin. Be sure to:

--Keep all food in covered containers.

--Keep cooking and eating utensils clean.

--Keep all garbage in a closed container, or dispose of it outside the
home when it is safe to go outside. If possible, bury it. Avoid letting
garbage or trash accumulate inside the shelter, both for fire and
sanitation reasons.


In many home shelters, people would have to use emergency toilets until
it was safe to leave shelter for brief periods of time.

An emergency toilet, consisting of a watertight container with a
snug-fitting cover, would be necessary. It could be a garbage container,
or a pail or bucket. If the container is small, a larger container, also
with a cover, should be  available to empty the contents into for later
disposal. If possible, both containers should be lined with plastic

This emergency toilet could be fitted with some kind of seat, especially
for children or elderly persons. Or it may be possible to remove the
seat from a wooden chair, cut a hole in it, and place the container
underneath. For privacy, the toilet could be screened from view.

Every time someone uses the toilet, he should pour or sprinkle into it a
small amount of regular household disinfectant, such as creosol or
chlorine bleach, to keep down odors and germs. After each use, the lid
should be put back on.

When the toilet container needs to be emptied, and outside radiation
levels permit, the contents should be buried outside in a hole 1 or 2
feet deep. This would prevent the spread of disease by rats and insects.

If the regular toilets inside the home--or the sewer lines--are not
usable for any reason, an outside toilet should be built when it is safe
to do so.

If anyone has been outside and fallout particles have collected on his
shoes or clothing, they should be brushed off before he enters the
shelter area again.

        *       *       *       *       *





1. Follow the normal fire prevention rules given in this chapter.

2. Keep on hand at home the basic fire fighting tools mentioned in
this chapter.


1. Close doors, windows, venetian blinds, shades, and drapes in your

2. Unless otherwise advised, fill buckets and other containers with
water, for emergency fire fighting as well as other purposes.

3. If a fire should occur, fight it promptly, following the recommended


Fire, always a danger, could be even more of a disaster during a nuclear
attack emergency when the fire department might not be available to help
you. Also, the risk of fire would be greater at that time.

Normal fire-prevention rules are of special importance in an emergency.
They include familiar commonsense precautions such as not allowing trash
to accumulate, especially near heat sources; exercising extreme caution
in the use of flammable fluids such as gasoline, naphtha, etc.; storage
of such fluids outdoors when possible; care in the use of electricity;
repairing of faulty wiring and avoiding overloaded circuits; and repair
of faulty heating systems.

These special fire precautions should be taken in a time of nuclear
emergency, especially if you plan to use a home shelter:

(1) Keep some of the intense heat rays from nuclear explosions from
entering your house by closing your doors, windows, venetian blinds,
window shades and drapes. If the climate will not permit this for an
extended period of time, close as many as possible, then close the rest
when the Attack Warning Signal is given.

(2) Unless local authorities advise otherwise, fill buckets, bathtubs
and other containers with water, for use in emergency fire fighting.

If a fire does occur, your home might be saved if you know how to fight
fires, and have on hand some basic firefighting tools. These should
include a garden hose, a ladder, buckets filled with sand, containers
filled with water, and a fire extinguisher. Keep in mind that
vaporizing-liquid types of fire extinguishers can produce dangerous
fumes when used in small enclosed spaces.

Remember the 3 basic ways to put out a fire:

* Take away its fuel.

* Take away its air (smother it).

* Cool it with water or fire-extinguisher chemicals.

_Ordinary fires_ should be fought by:

--Getting the burning material out of the house (carry it out, or throw
it out of a door or window if you can); or

--Putting out the fire with water, sand, earth or fire-extinguisher
chemicals; or

--Smothering the fire with a rug or blanket, preferably wet.

_Special types of fires_ require special methods:

--If it is an _electrical fire_, be sure to shut off the electricity
first. Then put out the flames with water or anything else available. If
you can't shut off the electricity, don't use water on an electrical

--If it is an _oil or grease fire_, shut off the supply of whatever is
burning. Then smother the flames with sand, earth, rugs, or other heavy
materials. Don't use water.

--If it is a _gas fire_, shut off the gas supply. Then use water, sand,
or earth to put out whatever is burning.

       *       *       *       *       *





1. Take the Medical Self-Help course, or a First Aid course.

2. If this is not possible, obtain a good first aid manual, study it,
and keep it at home; or study the emergency medical instructions given
in this chapter, and keep this handbook at home.

3. Obtain a good first aid kit, and keep your home medicine chest well
stocked with supplies you may need in a time of emergency.


1. Try to get a doctor or nurse (or at least a person trained in first
aid) to treat anyone who is injured or sick.

2. If no one better qualified is available, take charge yourself.


A nuclear attack on the United States would cause great numbers of
casualties, and there would be fewer doctors, nurses and hospitals
available to care for them. Even in areas where no nuclear weapons
exploded, radioactive fallout could prevent doctors and nurses from
reaching injured or sick persons for a considerable period of time.

People would have to help each other during the emergency. Those in a
stocked public fallout shelter would have available the basic medical
kit stored there, and perhaps one or more shelter occupants might be a
doctor, nurse, or trained first-aider. But persons in a home shelter
would have only the medical supplies available at home, and would have
to depend on their own knowledge of first aid and emergency medical

Both adults and teenagers can acquire these valuable skills now by
taking free courses that are offered in many communities, such as the
Medical Self-Help course or a First Aid course.

The following information is no substitute for one of these courses.
This basic guidance may save lives during a nuclear emergency, however,
by helping untrained persons take care of the sick and injured when
professional medical assistance may not be immediately available.


1. First of all, _do no harm_. Often, well-meaning but untrained persons
worsen the injury or illness in their attempts to help. Get competent
medical assistance, if possible. Do not assume responsibility for a
patient if you can get the help of a doctor, nurse, or experienced
first-aid worker. But if no one better qualified is available, take
charge yourself.

2. _Look for stoppage of breathing, and for serious bleeding._ These are
the two most life-threatening conditions you can do something about.
They demand _immediate_ treatment (see pages 58 and 61).

8. _Prevent shock, or treat it._ Shock, a serious condition of acute
circulatory failure, usually accompanies a severe or painful injury, a
serious loss of blood, or a severe emotional upset. If you _expect_
shock, and take prompt action, you can prevent it or lessen its
severity. This may save the patient's life. (Treatment of shock is
discussed on page 62).

4. _Don't move the patient immediately_. Unless there is real danger of
the patient receiving further injury where he is, he should not be moved
until breathing is restored, bleeding is stopped, and suspected broken
bones are splinted.

5. _Keep calm, and reassure the patient._ Keep him lying down and
comfortably warm, but do not apply heat to his body, or make him sweat.

6. _Never attempt to give liquids to an unconscious person_. If he is
not able to swallow, he may choke to death or drown. Also, don't give
him any liquids to drink if he has an abdominal injury.


Quick action is required. You must get air into his lungs again
immediately or he may die. The best and simplest way of doing this is to
use mouth-to-mouth artificial respiration. Here is how to do it:

1. Place the patient on his back. Loosen his collar.

2. Open his mouth and use your fingers to remove any food or foreign
matter. If he has false teeth or removable dental bridges, take them

3. Tilt the patient's head back so that his chin points upward. Lift his
lower jaw from beneath and behind so that it juts out. This will move
his tongue away from the back of his throat, so it does not block the
air passage to his lungs. Placing a pillow or something else under his
shoulders will help get his head into the right position. Some patients
will start breathing as soon as you take these steps, and no further
help is necessary.

4. Open your mouth as wide as possible, and place it tightly over the
patient's mouth, so his mouth is  completely covered by yours. With one
hand, pinch his nostrils shut. With your other hand, hold his lower jaw
in a thrust-forward position and keep his head tilted back. With a baby
or small child, place your mouth over both his nose and mouth, making a
tight seal.

5. Blow a good lungful of air into an adult patient's mouth, continuing
to keep his head tilted back and his jaw jutting out so that the air
passage is kept open. (Air can be blown through an unconscious person's
teeth, even though they may be clenched tightly together.) Watch his
chest as you blow. When you see his chest rise, you will know that you
are getting air into his lungs.

6. Remove your mouth from the patient's mouth, and listen for him to
breathe out the air you breathed into him. You also may feel his breath
on your cheek and see his chest sink as he exhales.

7. Continue your breathing for the patient. If he is an adult, blow a
good breath into his mouth every 5 seconds, or 12 times a minute, and
listen for him to breathe it back out again. _Caution_: If the patient
is an infant or small child, blow _small puffs_ of air into him about 20
times a minute. You may rupture his lung if you blow in too much air at
one time. Watch his chest rise to make sure you are giving him the right
amount of air with each puff.

8. If you are _not_ getting air into the patient's lungs, or if he is
not breathing out the air you blew into him, first make sure that his
head is tilted back and his jaw is jutting out in the proper position.
Then use your fingers to make sure nothing in his mouth or throat is
obstructing the air passage to his lungs. If this does not help, turn
him on his side and strike him sharply with the palm of your hand
several times between his shoulder blades. This should dislodge any
obstruction in the air passage. Then place him again on his back, with
his head tilted back and his jaw jutting out, and resume blowing air
into his mouth. If this doesn't work, try closing his mouth and blowing
air through his nose into his lungs.

9. If you wish to avoid placing your mouth directly on the patient's
face, you may hold a cloth (handkerchief, gauze or other porous
material) over his mouth and breathe through the cloth. But don't waste
precious time looking for a cloth if you don't have one.

10. _Important_: Even if the patient does not respond, continue your
efforts for 1 hour or longer, or until you are completely sure he is
dead. If possible, have this confirmed by at least one other person.


1. Apply firm, even pressure to the wound with a dressing, clean cloth,
or sanitary napkin. If you don't have any of these, use your bare hand
until you can get something better. Remember, you must keep blood from
running out of the patient's body. Loss of 1 or 2 quarts will seriously
endanger his life.

2. Hold the dressing in place with your hand until you can bandage the
dressing in place. In case of an arm or leg wound, make sure the bandage
is not so tight as to cut off circulation; and raise the arm or leg
above the level of the patient's heart. (But if the arm or leg appears
broken, be sure to splint it first.)

3. Treat the patient for shock (see page 62).

4. If blood soaks through the dressing, do _not_ remove the dressing.
Apply more dressings.

5. SPECIAL ADVICE ON TOURNIQUETS: Never use a tourniquet unless you
cannot stop excessive, life-threatening bleeding by any other method.
Using a tourniquet increases the chances that the arm or leg will have
to be amputated later. If you are _forced_ to use a tourniquet to keep
the patient from bleeding to death (for example, when a hand or foot has
been accidentally cut off), follow these instructions carefully:

--Place the tourniquet _as close to the wound as possible_, between the
wound and the patient's heart.

--After the tourniquet has been applied, do not permit it to be loosened
(even temporarily, or even though the bleeding has stopped) by anyone
except a physician, who can control the bleeding by other methods and
replace the blood that the patient has lost.

--Get a physician to treat the patient as soon as possible.


Being "in shock" means that a person's circulatory system is not working
properly, and not enough blood is getting to the vital centers of his
brain and spinal cord.

These are the symptoms of shock: The patient's pulse is weak or rapid,
or he may have no pulse that you can find. His skin may be pale or blue,
cold, or moist. His breathing may be shallow or irregular. He may have
chills. He may be thirsty. He may get sick at his stomach and vomit.

A person can be "in shock" whether he is conscious or unconscious.

_Important: All seriously-injured persons should be treated for shock,
even though they appear normal and alert_. Shock may cause death if not
treated promptly, even though the injuries which brought on shock might
not be serious enough to cause death. In fact, persons may go into shock
without having any physical injuries.

Here is how to treat any person who may be in shock:

1. Keep him lying down and keep him from chilling, but do _not_ apply a
hot water bottle or other heat to his body. Also, loosen his clothing.

2. Keep his head a little lower than his legs and hips. But if he has a
head or chest injury, or has difficulty in breathing, keep his head and
shoulders slightly higher than the rest of his body.

3. Encourage him to drink fluids if he is conscious and not nauseated,
and if he does not have abdominal injuries. Every 15 minutes give him a
half-glass of this solution until he no longer wants it: One teaspoonful
of salt and a half-teaspoonful of baking soda to one quart of water.

4. Do _not_ give him alcohol.


Any break in a bone is called a fracture. If you think a person may have
a fracture, treat it as though it were one. Otherwise, you may cause
further injury. For example, if an arm or leg is injured and bleeding,
splint it as well as bandage it.

With any fracture, first look for bleeding and control it. Keep the
patient comfortably warm and quiet, preferably lying down. If you have
an ice bag, apply it to the fracture to ease the pain. Do not move the
patient (unless his life is in danger where he is) without first
applying a splint or otherwise immobilizing the bone that may be
fractured. Treat the patient for shock.

A FRACTURED ARM OR LEG should be straightened out as much as possible,
preferably by having 2 persons gently stretch it into a normal position.
Then it should be "splinted"--that is, fastened to a board or something
else to prevent motion and keep the ends of the broken bone together. As
a splint, use a board, a trimmed branch from a tree, a broomstick, an
umbrella, a roll of newspapers, or anything else rigid enough to keep
the arm or leg straight. Fasten the arm or leg to the splint with
bandages, strips of cloth, handkerchiefs, neckties, or belts. After
splinting, keep the injured arm or leg a little higher than the rest of
the patient's body. From time to time, make sure that the splint is not
too tight, since the arm or leg may swell, and the blood circulation
might be shut off. If the broken bone is sticking out through the skin
but the exposed part of it is  clean, allow it to slip back naturally
under the skin (but don't push it in) when the limb is being
straightened. However, if the exposed part of the bone is dirty, cover
it with a clean cloth and bandage the wound to stop the bleeding. Then
splint the arm or leg without trying to straighten it out, and try to
find a doctor or nurse to treat the patient.

A FRACTURED COLLAR-BONE should also be prevented from moving, until the
patient can get professional medical attention. It can be immobilized by
placing the arm on that side in a sling and then binding the arm close
to the body.

A FRACTURED RIB should be suspected if the patient has received a chest
injury or if he has pain when he moves his chest, breathes, or coughs.
Strap the injured side of his chest with 2-inch adhesive tape if
available, or with a cloth bandage or towel wrapped around and around
his entire chest.

Fractured bones in the NECK OR BACK are very serious, because they may
injure the patient's spinal cord and paralyze him or even kill him. He
should not be moved until a doctor comes (or a person trained in first
aid), unless it is absolutely necessary to move him to prevent further
injury. If a person with a back injury has to be moved, he should be
placed gently on his back on a stiff board, door or stretcher. His head,
back, and legs should be kept in a straight line at all times.

A person with a neck injury should be moved gently with his head, neck,
and shoulders kept in the same position they were when he was found. His
neck should not be allowed to bend when he is being moved.


Non-serious or superficial (first degree) burns should not be
covered--in fact, nothing need be done for them. However, if a first
degree burn covers a large area of the body, the patient should be given
fluids to drink as mentioned in item 2 following.

The most important things to do about serious (second or third degree)
burns are: _(a)_ Treat the patient for shock, _(b)_ Prevent infection,
and _(c)_ Relieve pain. These specific actions should be taken:

1. Keep the patient lying down, with his head a little lower than his
legs and hips unless he has a head or chest wound, or has difficulty in

2. Have him drink a half-glass every 15 minutes of a salt-and-soda
solution (one teaspoonful of salt and a half-teaspoonful of baking soda
to a quart of water). Give him additional plain water to drink if he
wants it.

3. Cover the burned area with a _dry_, sterile gauze dressing. If gauze
is not available, use a clean cloth, towel or pad.

4. With soap and water, wash the area _around_ the burn (not the burn
itself) for a distance of several inches, wiping _away_ from the burn.
The dressing will help prevent surface washings from getting into the
burned area.

5. Use a bandage to hold the dry dressing firmly in place against the
burned area. This will keep moving air from reaching the burn, and will
lessen the pain. Leave dressings and bandage in place as long as

6. If adjoining surfaces of skin are burned, separate them with gauze or
cloth to keep them from sticking together (such as between toes or
fingers, ears and head, arms and chest).

7. If the burn was caused by a chemical--or by fallout particles
sticking to the skin or hair--wash the chemical or the fallout particles
away with generous amounts of plain water, then treat the burn as
described above.

_What NOT to do about burns_:

--Don't pull clothing over the burned area (cut it away, if necessary).

--Don't try to remove any pieces of cloth, or bits of dirt or debris,
that may be sticking to the burn.

--Don't try to clean the burn; don't use iodine or other antiseptics on
it; and don't open any blisters that may form on it.

--Don't use grease, butter, ointment, salve, petroleum jelly, or any
type of medication on severe burns. Keeping them dry is best.

--Don't breathe on a burn, and don't touch it with anything except a
sterile or clean dressing.

--Don't change the dressings that were initially applied to the burn,
until absolutely necessary. Dressings may be left in place for a week,
if necessary.


Radiation sickness is caused by the invisible rays given off by
particles of radioactive fallout. If a person has received a large dose
of radiation in a short period of time--generally, less than a week--he
will become seriously ill and probably will die. But if he has received
only a small or medium dose, his body will repair itself and he will get
well. No special clothing can protect a person from gamma radiation, and
no special medicines can protect him or cure him of radiation sickness.

Symptoms of radiation sickness may not be noticed for several days. The
early symptoms are lack of appetite, nausea, vomiting, fatigue, weakness
and headache. Later, the patient may have sore mouth, loss of hair,
bleeding gums, bleeding under the skin, and diarrhea. But these same
symptoms can be caused by other diseases, and not everyone who has
radiation sickness shows all these symptoms, or shows them all at once.

If the patient has headache or general discomfort, give him one or two
aspirin tablets every 3 or 4 hours (half a tablet, for a child under
12). If he is nauseous, give him "motion sickness tablets," if
available. If his mouth is sore or his gums are bleeding, have him use a
mouth wash made up of a half-teaspoonful of salt to 1 quart of water. If
there is vomiting or diarrhea, he should drink slowly several glasses
each day of a salt-and-soda solution (one teaspoonful of salt and
one-half teaspoonful of baking soda to 1 quart of cool water), plus
bouillon or fruit juices. If available, a mixture of kaolin and pectin
should be given for diarrhea. Whatever his symptoms, the patient should
be kept lying down, comfortably warm, and resting.

Remember that radiation sickness is _not_ contagious or infectious, and
one person cannot "catch it" from another person.

       *       *       *       *       *



Many of the actions recommended in Part I of this handbook to help you
prepare for and live through a nuclear attack--such as learning the
warning signals, stocking emergency supplies, taking a course in
emergency skills, and knowing how to fight fires at home--also would
help you in case a major natural disaster occurs in your area. If you
are prepared for nuclear attack, you are also prepared to cope with most
peacetime disasters--disasters that kill hundreds of Americans every
year, injure thousands, inflict widespread suffering and hardship, and
cause great economic loss.

Part II of this handbook (pages 69-86) is intended to help you prepare
for those natural disasters that may occur in your area, and tell you
the right actions to take if they occur. Chapter 1 (pages 71-74) gives
general guidance applicable to various types of natural disasters.
Succeeding chapters give special advice on floods, hurricanes,
tornadoes, winter storms, and earthquakes.

       *       *       *       *       *



There are certain things you can learn and do that will help you get
ready for, and cope with, almost any type of natural disaster.

Perhaps the most basic thing to remember is to _keep calm_. This may
mean the difference between life and death. In many disasters, people
have been killed or injured needlessly because they took thoughtless
actions when they should have done something else--or done nothing at
all just then.

In a time of emergency, taking proper action may save your life. _Take
time to think_, and then take the considered action that the situation
calls for. Usually, this will be the action you have planned in advance,
or the action you are instructed to take by responsible authorities.

Here is other guidance that applies to most types of natural disasters.


outdoor warning systems, the Attack Warning Signal is a wavering sound
on the sirens, or a series of short blasts on whistles, horns, or other
devices. This signal will be used only to warn of an attack against the
United States.

Many communities also are using an _Attention or Alert Signal_, usually
a 3- to 5-minute _steady blast_ to get the attention of their people in
a time of threatened or impending peacetime emergency. In most places,
the Attention or Alert Signal means that people should turn on their
radio or television sets to hear important emergency information being

You should find out now, before any emergency occurs, what warning
signals are being used in your community, what they sound like, what
they mean, and what actions you should take when you hear them.

Also, whenever a major storm or other peacetime disaster threatens, keep
your radio or television set turned on to hear Weather Bureau reports
and forecasts (issued by the Environmental Science Services
Administration of the U.S. Department of Commerce), as well as other
information and advice that may be broadcast by your local government.

When you are warned of an emergency, get your information on the radio
or television. Use your telephone only to _report_ important events
(such as fires, flash floods, or tornado sightings) to the local
authorities. If you tie up the telephone lines simply to get
information, you may prevent emergency calls from being completed.


A major disaster of almost any kind may interfere with your normal
supplies of water, food, heat, and other day-to-day necessities. You
should keep on hand, in or around your home, a stock of emergency
supplies sufficient to meet your needs for a few days or preferably for
a week.

If you stayed at home during the disaster, these supplies would help you
live through the period of emergency without hardship. If you had to
evacuate your home and move temporarily to another location, your
emergency supplies could be taken with you and used en route or after
you arrived at the new location (where regular supplies might not be
available). Even if you only had to move to an emergency shelter station
set up by a local agency, these supplies might be helpful to you, or
make your stay easier.

The most important items to keep on hand are water (preferably in
plastic jugs or other stoppered containers); canned or sealed-package
foods that do not require refrigeration or heat for cooking; medicines
needed by family members, and a first aid kit; blankets or sleeping
bags; flashlights or lanterns; a battery-powered radio; and perhaps a
covered container to use as an emergency toilet. In addition, an
automobile in good operating condition with an ample supply of gasoline
may be necessary in case you have to leave your home.

In those parts of the country subject to hurricanes or floods, it is
also wise to keep on hand certain emergency materials you may need to
protect your home from wind and water--such as plywood sheeting or
lumber to board up your windows and doors, and plastic sheeting or
tarpaulins to protect furniture and appliances.


Fires are a special hazard in a time of disaster. They may start more
readily, and the help of the fire department may not be available
quickly. Therefore, it is essential that you:

1. Follow the fire prevention rules given on page 52, and be especially
careful not to start fires.

2. Know how to put out small fires yourself. (See pages 52-54.)

3. Have on hand simple tools and equipment needed for fire fighting.
(See page 43.)


_Use extreme caution in entering or working in buildings_ that may have
been damaged or weakened by the disaster, as they may collapse without
warning. Also, there may be gas leaks or electrical short circuits.

_Don't bring lanterns, torches or lighted cigarettes_ into buildings
that have been flooded or otherwise damaged by a natural disaster, since
there may be leaking gas lines or flammable material present.

_Stay away from fallen or damaged electric wires_, which may still be

_Check for leaking gas pipes in your home_. Do this by _smell only_--
don't use matches or candles. If you smell gas, do this: (1) Open all
windows and doors, (2) Turn off the main gas valve at the meter, (3)
Leave the house immediately, (4) Notify the gas company or the police or
fire department, (5) Don't re-enter the house until you are told it is
safe to do so.

_If any of your electrical appliances are wet_, first turn off the main
power switch in your house, then unplug the wet appliance, dry it out,
reconnect it, and finally, turn on the main power switch. (Caution:
Don't do any of these things while _you_ are wet or standing in water.)
If fuses blow when the electric power is restored, turn off the main
power switch again and then inspect for short circuits in your home
wiring, appliances and equipment.

_Check your food and water supplies before using them_. Foods that
require refrigeration may be spoiled if electric power has been off for
some time. Also, don't eat food that has come in contact with flood
waters. Be sure to follow the instructions of local authorities
concerning the use of food and water supplies.

_If needed, get food, clothing, medical care or shelter_ at Red Cross
stations or from local government authorities.

_Stay away from disaster areas_. Sightseeing could interfere with first
aid or rescue work, and may be dangerous as well.

_Don't drive unless necessary_, and drive with caution. Watch for
hazards to yourself and others, and report them to local authorities.

_Write, telegraph or telephone your relatives_, after the emergency is
over, so they will know you are safe. Otherwise local authorities may
waste time locating you--or if you have evacuated to a safer location,
they may not be able to find you. (However, do not tie up the phone
lines if they are still needed for official emergency calls.)

_Do not pass on rumors_ or exaggerated reports of damage.

_Follow the advice and instructions of your local government_ on ways to
help yourself and your community recover from the emergency.

       *       *       *       *       *



In addition to the general guidance in Chapter 1 of this section, there
are certain emergency actions particularly associated with major floods,
hurricanes, and storm tides or surges. These types of disasters usually
are preceded by extended periods of warning. People living in areas
likely to be most severely affected often are warned to move to safer


If you are warned to evacuate your home and move to another location
temporarily, there are certain things to remember and do. Here are the
most important ones:

are told to evacuate, do so promptly. If you are instructed to move to a
certain location, go there--don't go anywhere else. If certain travel
routes are specified or recommended, use those routes rather than trying
to find short cuts of your own. (It will help if you have previously
become familiar with the routes likely to be used.) If you are told to
shut off your water, gas or electric service before leaving home, do so.
Also find out on the radio where emergency housing and mass feeding
stations are located, in case you need to use them.

* SECURE YOUR HOME BEFORE LEAVING. If you have time, and if you have not
received other instructions from your local government, you should take
the following actions before leaving your home:

--Bring outside possessions inside the house, or tie them down securely.
This includes outdoor furniture, garbage cans, garden tools, signs, and
other movable objects that might be blown or washed away.

--Board up your windows so they won't be broken by high winds, water,
flying objects or debris.

--If flooding is likely, move furniture and other movable objects to the
upper floor of your house. Disconnect any electrical appliances or
equipment that cannot be moved--but don't touch them if you are wet or
are standing in water.

--Do _not_ stack sandbags around the outside walls of your house to keep
flood waters out of your basement. Water seeping downward through the
earth (either beyond the sandbags or over them) may collect around the
basement walls and under the floor, creating pressure that could damage
the walls or else raise the entire basement and cause it to "float" out
of the ground. In most cases it is better to permit the flood waters to
flow freely into the basement (or flood the basement yourself with clean
water, if you feel sure it will be flooded anyway). This will equalize
the water pressure on the inside and outside of the basement walls and
floor, and thus avoid structural damage to the foundation and the house.

--Lock house doors and windows. Park your car in the garage or driveway,
close the windows, and lock it (unless you are driving to your new
temporary location).

* TRAVEL WITH CARE. If your local government is arranging transportation
for you, precautions will be taken for your safety. But if you are
walking or driving your own car to another location, keep in mind these

--Leave early enough so as not to be marooned by flooded roads, fallen
trees, and wires.

--Make sure you have enough gasoline in your car.

--Follow recommended routes.

--As you travel, keep listening to the radio for additional information
and instructions from your local government.

--Watch for washed-out or undermined roadways, earth slides, broken
sewer or water mains, loose or downed electric wires, and falling or
fallen objects.

--Watch out for areas where rivers or streams may flood suddenly.

--Don't try to cross a stream or a pool of water unless you are certain
that the water will not be above your knees (or above the middle of your
car's wheels) _all the way across_. Sometimes the water will hide a
bridge or a part of the road that has been washed out. If you decide it
is safe to drive across it, put your car in low gear and drive very
slowly, to avoid splashing water into your engine and causing it to
stop. Also, remember that your brakes may not work well after the wheels
of your car have been in deep water. Try them out a few times when you
reach the other side.


--If your house is on high ground and you haven't been instructed to
evacuate, stay indoors. Don't try to travel, since you will be in danger
from flying debris, flooded roads, and downed wires.

--Keep listening to your radio or television set for further information
and advice. If the center or "eye" of the hurricane passes directly over
you, there will be a temporary lull in the wind, lasting from a few
minutes to perhaps a half-hour or more. _Stay in a safe place during
this lull_. The wind will return--perhaps with even greater force--from
the _opposite_ direction.


In many areas, unusually heavy rains may cause quick or "flash" floods.
Small creeks, gullies, dry streambeds, ravines, culverts or even
low-lying grounds frequently flood very quickly and endanger people,
sometimes before any warning can be given.

In a period of heavy rains, be aware of this hazard and be prepared to
protect yourself against it. If you see any possibility of a flash flood
occurring where you are, move immediately to a safer location (don't
wait for instructions to move), and then notify your local authorities
of the danger, so other people can be warned.

       *       *       *       *       *



* _When a tornado watch (forecast) is announced_, this means that
tornadoes are expected in or near your area. Keep your radio or
television set tuned to a local station for information and advice from
your local government or the Weather Bureau. Also, keep watching the
sky, especially to the south and southwest. (When a tornado watch is
announced during the approach of a hurricane, however, keep watching the
sky to the east.) If you see any revolving, funnel-shaped clouds, report
them by telephone immediately to your local police department, sheriff's
office or Weather Bureau office. But do not use the phone to get
information and advice--depend on radio or TV.

* _When a tornado warning is issued, take shelter immediately_. The
warning means that a tornado has actually been sighted, and this (or
other tornadoes) may strike in your vicinity. You must take action to
protect yourself from being blown away, struck by falling objects, or
injured by flying debris. Your best protection is an underground shelter
or cave, or a substantial steel-framed or reinforced-concrete building.
But if none of these is available, there are other places where you can
take refuge:

--If you are _at home_, go to your underground storm cellar or your
basement fallout shelter, if you have one. If not, go to a corner of
your home basement and take cover under a sturdy workbench or table (but
not underneath heavy appliances on the floor above). If your home has no
basement, take cover under heavy furniture on the ground floor in the
center part of the house, or in a small room on the ground floor that is
away from outside walls and windows. (As a last resort, go outside to a
nearby ditch, excavation, culvert or ravine.) Doors and windows on the
sides of your house _away from_, the tornado may be left open to help
reduce damage to the building, but stay away from them to avoid flying
debris. Do not remain in a trailer or mobile home if a tornado is
approaching; take cover elsewhere.

--If you are _at work_ in an office building, go to the basement or to
an inner hallway on a lower floor. In a factory, go to a shelter area,
or to the basement if there is one.

--If you are _outside in open country_, drive away from the tornado's
path, at a right angle to it. If there isn't time to do this--or if you
are walking--take cover and lie flat in the nearest depression, such as
a ditch, culvert, excavation, or ravine.

       *       *       *       *       *



Here is advice that will help you protect yourself and your family
against the hazards of winter storms--blizzards, heavy snows, ice
storms, freezing rain, or sleet.

* KEEP POSTED ON WEATHER CONDITIONS. Use your radio, television and
newspapers to keep informed of current weather conditions and forecasts
in your area. Even a few hours' warning of a storm may enable you to
avoid being caught outside in it, or at least be better prepared to cope
with it. You should also understand the terms commonly used in weather

--A _blizzard_ is the most dangerous of all winter storms. It combines
cold air, heavy snow, and strong winds that blow the snow about and may
reduce visibility to only a few yards. A _blizzard warning_ is issued
when the Weather Bureau expects considerable snow, winds of 35 miles an
hour or more, and temperatures of 20 degrees Fahrenheit or lower. A
_severe blizzard warning_ means that a very heavy snowfall is expected,
with winds of at least 45 miles an hour and temperatures of 10 degrees
or lower.

--A _heavy snow warning_ usually means an expected snowfall of 4 inches
or more in a 12-hour period, or 6 inches or more in a 24-hour period.
Warnings of _snow flurries, snow squalls_, or _blowing and drifting
snow_ are important mainly because visibility may be reduced and roads
may become slippery or blocked.

--_Freezing rain or freezing drizzle_ is forecast when expected rain is
likely to freeze as soon as it strikes the ground, putting a coating of
ice or glaze on roads and everything else that is exposed. If a
substantial layer of ice is expected to accumulate from the freezing
rain, an _ice storm_ is forecast.

--_Sleet_ is small particles of ice, usually mixed with rain. If enough
sleet accumulates on the ground, it will make the roads slippery.

* BE PREPARED FOR ISOLATION AT HOME. If you live in a rural area, make
sure you could survive at home for a week or two in case a storm
isolated you and made it impossible for you to leave. You should:

--Keep an adequate supply of heating fuel on hand and use it sparingly,
as your regular supplies may be curtailed by storm conditions. If
necessary, conserve fuel by keeping the house cooler than usual, or by
"closing off" some rooms temporarily. Also, have available some kind of
_emergency_ heating equipment and fuel so you could keep at least one
room of your house warm enough to be livable. This could be a camp stove
with fuel, or a supply of wood or coal if you have a fireplace. If your
furnace is controlled by a thermostat and your electricity is cut off by
a storm, the furnace probably would not operate and you would need
emergency heat.

--Stock an emergency supply of food and water, as well as emergency
cooking equipment such as a camp stove. Some of this food should be of
the type that does not require refrigeration or cooking.

--Make sure you have a battery-powered radio and extra batteries on
hand, so that if your electric power is cut off you could still hear
weather forecasts, information and advice broadcast by local
authorities. Also, flashlights or lanterns would be needed.

--Consult page 72 of this handbook for other supplies and equipment that
you may need if isolated at home. Be sure to keep on hand the simple
tools and equipment needed to fight a fire. Also, be certain that all
family members know how to take precautions that would prevent fire at
such a time, when the help of the fire department may not be available.

* TRAVEL ONLY IF NECESSARY. Avoid all unnecessary trips. If you must
travel, use public transportation if possible. However, if you are
forced to use your automobile for a trip of any distance, take these

--Make sure your car is in good operating condition, properly serviced,
and equipped with chains or snow tires.

--Take another person with you if possible.

--Make sure someone knows where you are going, your approximate
schedule, and your estimated time of arrival at your destination.

--Have emergency "winter storm supplies" in the car, such as a container
of sand, shovel, windshield scraper, tow chain or rope, extra gasoline,
and a flashlight. It also is good to have with you heavy gloves or
mittens, overshoes, extra woolen socks, and winter headgear to cover
your head and face.

--Travel by daylight and use major highways if you can. Keep the car
radio turned on for weather information and advice.

--Drive with all possible caution. Don't try to save time by travelling
faster than road and weather conditions permit.

--Don't be daring or foolhardy. Stop, turn back, or seek help if
conditions threaten that may test your ability or endurance, rather than
risk being stalled, lost or isolated. If you are caught in a _blizzard_,
seek refuge immediately.

* KEEP CALM IF YOU GET IN TROUBLE. If your car breaks down during a
storm, or if you become stalled or lost, don't panic. Think the problem
through, decide what's the safest and best thing to do, and then do it
slowly and carefully. If you are on a well-traveled road, show a trouble
signal. Set your directional lights to flashing, raise the hood of your
car, or hang a cloth from the radio aerial or car window. Then stay in
your car and wait for help to arrive. If you run the engine to keep
warm, remember to open a window enough to provide ventilation and
protect you from carbon monoxide poisoning.

Wherever you are, if there is no house or other source of help in sight,
do not leave your car to search for assistance, as you may become
confused and get lost.

* AVOID OVEREXERTION. Every winter many unnecessary deaths occur because
people--especially older persons, but younger ones as well--engage in
more strenuous physical activity than their bodies can stand. Cold
weather itself, _without_ any physical exertion, puts an extra strain on
your heart. If you add to this physical exercise, especially exercise
that you are not accustomed to--such as shovelling snow, pushing an
automobile, or even walking fast or far--you are risking a heart attack,
a stroke, or other damage to your body. In winter weather, and
especially in winter storms, be aware of this danger, and avoid

       *       *       *       *       *



If your area is one of the places in the United States where earthquakes
occur, keep these points in mind:

--When an earthquake happens, _keep calm_. Don't run or panic. If you
take the proper precautions, the chances are you will not be hurt.

--REMAIN WHERE YOU ARE. If you are outdoors, stay outdoors; if indoors,
stay indoors. In earthquakes, most injuries occur as people are entering
or leaving buildings (from falling walls, electric wires, etc.).

--If you are indoors, sit or stand against an inside wall (preferably in
the basement), or in an inside doorway; or else take cover under a desk,
table or bench (in case the wall or ceiling should fall). Stay away from
windows and outside doors.

--If you are outdoors, stay away from overhead electric wires, poles or
anything else that might shake loose and fall (such as the cornices of
tall buildings).

--If you are _driving an automobile_, pull off the road and stop (as
soon as possible, and with caution). Remain in the car until the
disturbance subsides. When you drive on, watch for hazards created by
the earthquake, such as fallen or falling objects, downed electric
wires, and broken or undermined roadways.


For your own safety and that of others, you should follow carefully the
advice given in the section, "After a Natural Disaster" (page 73).

        *       *       *       *       *


Air raid _see_ NUCLEAR ATTACK

Air raid shelters _see_ FALLOUT SHELTERS


Atomic bomb attack _see_ NUCLEAR ATTACK

Attack, nuclear _see_ NUCLEAR ATTACK

  Actions to take 19-20, 21-22
  Attack warning signal 19
  Attack warning time 18, 21
  Taking cover 21-22

ATTENTION OR ALERT SIGNAL (for natural disasters) 19-20, 71-72

Basements (for use as fallout shelters) _see_ FALLOUT SHELTERS

Blast from nuclear explosions _see_ NUCLEAR EXPLOSIONS, Effects of

BLEEDING, How to stop 61

Blizzards _see_ STORMS, Winter

BOATS (use as improvised fallout shelters) 33, 38

Bomb shelters _see_ FALLOUT SHELTERS

BREATHING, How to restore 58-60

BROADCASTING, Radio and television:
  In time of natural disaster 72, 75, 77, 81, 83
  In time of nuclear attack 17-18, 32, 34

BROKEN BONES, How to treat 63-65

BURNS, How to treat 65-66


CHILDREN, Special precautions for:
  Avoiding contaminated water and milk 6, 9, 16
  Effects of radiation on children 13, 16
  Finding fallout shelter at all times 24
  Giving artificial respiration to children 59, 60
  Infant supplies to be stored for shelter use 43

Construction of home fallout shelters _see_ PLANS FOR HOME

Cover _see_ TAKING COVER

CRAWL SPACE (use as improvised fallout shelter) 33, 36

  Car may be needed for evacuation 72
  Driving after a natural disaster has occurred 74
  Driving at the time of a flood or hurricane 75, 76, 77, 78
  Driving at the time of an earthquake 86
  Driving during a winter storm 82-84
  If you see a tornado while driving 80

EARTHQUAKES 85-86 _see also_ 71-74 (General Guidance)

Effects of nuclear explosions _see_ NUCLEAR EXPLOSIONS, Effects of


ELECTRIC WIRES, Downed 73, 77, 78, 86


ELECTRICITY (as related to fires) 52, 54


  Need for 2, 5, 55, 56
  Training courses in 2, 55

  Securing your home before leaving 75-76

EXERTION, Physical:
  Avoiding overexertion during a storm 84

FALLOUT, Radioactive 5, 6, 10-13, 15, 16

  _General information_ 13-14, 23-25
  Home shelters 24-25, how to prepare 26-32
  Improvised shelters 33-38
  Public shelters 23-24, how to identify 24
  Some protection provided against blast and heat 14
  Supplies for fallout shelters 39-44
  Taking cover before going to fallout shelter 21-22
  When to leave shelter 13, 24, 32

  Firefighting at home 52-54
  Firefighting supplies needed at home 43, 53
  Fire from nuclear explosions _see_ NUCLEAR EXPLOSIONS, Effects of
  Fire in connection with natural disasters 73
  Fire prevention at home 51-54
  Special fire precautions in time of attack 52-53

Fireball, nuclear _see_ NUCLEAR EXPLOSIONS, Effects of

FIRST AID: 55-67
  _General rules_ 57
  Bleeding, how to stop it 61-62
  Breathing, how to restore it 58-60
  Broken bones 63-65
  Burns 65-66
  Radiation sickness 66-67
  Shock, how to prevent and treat it 62-63
  Supplies 42
  Training courses 2, 55-56

Flash from nuclear explosions _see_ NUCLEAR EXPLOSIONS, Effects of

FLOODS: 75-78 _see also_ 71-74 (General Guidance)
  Special advice on flash floods 78
  Using sandbags to protect home not recommended 76

  Available and usable after an attack 14-16
  Care and use of food supplies in shelter 42, 46, 48
  Food supplies in time of natural disaster 72, 82
  Food to take to shelter 40, 42
  Use of food after a natural disaster 73

Gamma radiation _see_ FALLOUT, Radioactive

GAS SERVICE, Turnoff by householders 75

GAS PIPES, Leaking 73

Heat from nuclear explosions _see_ NUCLEAR EXPLOSIONS,
  Effects of

HEATING, in time of winter storms 82

  How to prepare a home shelter: 26-32
    Outside type 32
    Permanent type 26-29
    Preplanned type 30-32
    Importance of 24-25
    Improvised home shelters 33-38
    Managing water, food, and sanitation in 45-49
    Supplies and equipment for 41-44
    When to leave shelter 13, 24, 32

HURRICANES: 75-78 _see also_ 71-74 (General Guidance)
  "Eye" of a hurricane 78

Ice storm _see_ STORMS, Winter

Improvised fallout shelters _see_ FALLOUT SHELTERS

Infants _see_ CHILDREN, Special precautions for

Injuries, treatment of _see_ FIRST AID



  Importance of having available 55, 56
  What to keep on hand for natural disasters 72
  What to store for home shelter use 42
  What to take to a public fallout shelter 40


Missiles, nuclear _see_ NUCLEAR ATTACK _and_ NUCLEAR EXPLOSIONS,
  Effects of


  _General guidance_ 71-74
  Earthquakes 85, 86
  Emergency feeding and shelter stations 75
  Floods and hurricanes 75-78
  Supplies for 72, 82, 83
  Tornadoes 79, 80
  Value of preparations 70, 71
  Warning 71-72, 75, 79, 81
  Winter Storms 81-84


  Areas of damage 10-11
  Assistance available in time of attack 5
  Checklist of emergency actions 6-7
  Deaths and injuries 5, 10-11
  Hazards of an attack 9-16
  Importance of following local instructions 1, 2, 6, 7
  Survivors 10-11
  Taking cover if there should be a nuclear flash 21-22
  Warning 6, 17-22


Outside fallout shelters _see_ HOME FALLOUT SHELTERS

  Improvised home shelters, description of 33-38

Preparations for natural disasters _see_ NATURAL DISASTERS

Preparations for nuclear attack _see_ NUCLEAR ATTACK

Protective materials against fallout _see_ SHIELDING MATERIALS

  How to identify 7, 24
  Supplies to take to public shelter 40
  Water, food and sanitation in public shelter 45-46
  When to leave shelter 13, 24, 32

Radiation _see_ FALLOUT, Radioactive

  How to recognize and treat it 66-67

Radio _see_ BROADCASTING, Radio and television

Radioactive fallout _see_ FALLOUT, Radioactive

SANITATION 41-42, 45-49


  Comparison of various materials 25

SHOCK, How to recognize and treat 62-63

Sick and injured, care of the _see_ FIRST AID

Sign, public fallout shelter _see_ PUBLIC FALLOUT SHELTERS

SIGNALS, Warning: 18-20 _see also_ ATTACK WARNING _and_

Sirens, warning _see_ SIGNALS, Warning

Snow storms _see_ STORMS, Winter

  For protection from tornadoes 80
  Use as fallout shelters 36

STORMS, Winter 81-84 _see also_ 71-74 (General Guidance)


  Home shelters 39, 41-44, care and use of supplies 45-49
  Public shelters 40, 46


  For protection from tornadoes 79-80
  In time of nuclear attack 21-22

TELEPHONE, Restricted use in a time of emergency 6, 20, 72, 74, 79

Television _see_ BROADCASTING, Radio and television

TOILETS, Emergency 42, 45-46, 48-49

TORNADOES 79-80 _see also_ 71-74 (General Guidance)

TOURNIQUETS, Special advice on 61-62

Training courses _see_ EMERGENCY SKILLS


  Available and usable after an attack 14-16
  Care and use of water supplies in shelter 46-48
  Possible danger of contaminated water to children 6, 9, 16
  Precautions on use of water after a natural disaster 73
  To store for home shelter use 41
  To store for use in a natural disaster 72, 82
  To take to public fallout shelter 40
  Water service, turnoff by householders 75

Winter storms _see_ STORMS, Winter

       *       *       *       *       *



       *       *       *       *       *


Footnote 1: In a time of nuclear attack or major natural disaster, don't
use the telephone to get information or advice. Depend on radio or

Footnote 2: These smaller particles would drift to earth more slowly,
losing much of their radioactivity before they reached the ground, and
would be spread by the upper winds over vast areas of the world.

Footnote 3: This table, and other suggestions concerning emergency
supplies of food and water, is contained in "Family Food Stockpile for
Survival," Home and Garden Bulletin No. 77, U.S. Department of
Agriculture. For sale by the Superintendent of Documents, Washington,
D.C. 20402, price 10 cents.

End of Project Gutenberg's In Time Of Emergency, by Department of Defense


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