Thursday, August 24, 2023

Civil Defense: The US Government's Last Real Act of Civil Defense

By Tim Gamble 

I have kvetched throughout these civil defense articles about the lack of a coherent and well-publicized civil defense program in the United States over the last several decades. After the US Civil Defense program was buried in FEMA in 1979, Civil Defense has largely been ignored by the federal government. The last real act of Civil Defense by the US government was the publication in 1979 of the Civil Defense manual Nuclear War Survival Skills by the Oak Ridge National Laboratory, with added material by Cresson H. Kearny (including adding the section on Nuclear Winter in the 1987 edition). The book was published in the public domain. 

The 1987 edition of Cresson H. Kearny's Nuclear War Survival Skills is available for free download at It is also a good idea to have a physical copy of this book instead of relying solely on a digital copy. The paperback of the 1987 edition is available on Amazon for just $10.39 at the moment. An updated edition, keeping the original text but adding some new information, was released in 2022, and is available on Amazon for about $24 currently. Folks, it doesn't matter what edition you get, as the physics of nuclear war haven't changed, and the information presented by Kearny in 1987 is not "out of date."

To give you a sense of the scope of the book, here is the Table of Contents:

Nuclear War Survival Skills
Table of Contents

Foreword by Dr. Edward Teller

About the Author by Dr. Eugene P. Wigner


Chapter 1 The Dangers from Nuclear Weapons: Myths & Facts

Chapter 2 Psychological Preparations

Chapter 3 Warnings and Communications

Chapter 4 Evacuation

Chapter 5 Shelter, the Greatest Need

Chapter 6 Ventilation and Cooling of Shelters

Chapter 7 Protection Against Fires and Carbon Monoxide

Chapter 8 Water

Chapter 9 Food

Chapter 10 Fallout Radiation Meters
Chapter 11 Light

Chapter 12 Shelter Sanitation and Preventive Medicine

Chapter 13 Surviving Without Doctors

Chapter 14 Expedient Shelter Furnishings

Chapter 15 Improvised Clothing and Protective Items

Chapter 16 Minimum Pre-Crisis Preparations

Chapter 17 Permanent Family Fallout Shelters for Dual Use

Chapter 18 Trans-Pacific Fallout

A.  Instructions for Six Expedient Fallout Shelters

A.1 Door-Covered Trench Shelter

A.2 Pole-Covered Trench Shelter

A.3 Small-Pole Shelter

A.4 Aboveground, Door-Covered Shelter

A.5 Aboveground, Ridgepole Shelter

A.6 Above ground, Crib-Walled Shelter

B. How to Make and Use a Homemade Shelter-Ventilating Pump, the KAP

C. A Homemade Fallout Meter, The K.F.M. - How To Make & Use It

D. Expedient Blast Shelters

E. How to Make and Use a Homemade Plywood Double Action Piston Pump and Filter

F. Means for Providing Improved Natural Ventilation and Daylight to a Shelter with an Emergency Exit

Selected References

Selected Index

*** You can find Tim Gamble on social media! Follow at Gab (@TimGamble), Instagram (@DystopianSurv), Twitter (@TimGambleSpeaks), and TruthSocial (@TimGambleSpeaks) 
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