In Time of Emergency eBook

Office of Civil Defense
This eBook from the Gutenberg Project consists of approximately 73 pages of information about In Time of Emergency.

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.

Project Gutenberg
In Time of Emergency from Project Gutenberg. Public domain.
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