This 73-year-old booklet is a relic of World War II in the United States. The 3¼-inch-wide staplebound booklet — the perfect size for a shirt pocket — is titled "Civil Defense Index" and was published by R. Lichter.1 It was distributed by Strack & Strine Funeral Home in York, Pennsylvania, which got advertising space on the front and back covers in exchange for, I'm guessing, underwriting all or part of the printing costs.
Civil defense and the possibility of homeland attacks by foreign nations was obviously very much on everyone's minds, and emergency preparedness took on much greater everyday import.
Here is some of the information from the booklet:
- YOUR CIVILIAN DEFENSE INDEX
Keep it handy. Study it; know WHAT to do and what NOT to do when an emergency occurs. BE PREPARED!
- Keep calm; obey orders; avoid crowds and panic; keep up the morale; ignore rumor-mongers and calamity-howlers.2
- Enroll in Civilian Defense Classes and in the Red Cross First Aid Course so that you will KNOW the right thing to do — to give relief and save lives.
- ENROLL IN CIVILIAN DEFENSE
There are suitable jobs for everyone — the following are a few of them:—
FOR MEN — Auxiliary Firemen and Police, Demolition and Clearance Squads, Disaster Relief Service, Electrical Repair Units, Rescue Squads, Road Repair Units.
FOR WOMEN — Disaster Canteen Corps, Mobile Kitchen, Motor Corps, Nurses' Aid Service, Production Service, Staff Assistance Corps, Telephone Operators, Volunteer Home Services.
FOR BOTH MEN AND WOMEN — Air Raid Wardens, Blood Donors, Decontamination Squads, Emergency Medical Forces, Fire Watchers.
- KNOW YOUR AIR RAID WARNING SIGNAL
The ALL-OUT Alert signal usually consists of short blasts of rising and falling pitch on whistles, horns or sirens. It means enemy bombers are approaching and a raid is expected in about five minutes.
The ALL-CLEAR signal is usually a continuous signal of about two minutes duration.
- HOW TO PREPARE YOUR HOME FOR BLACKOUTS
1. For windows, prepare heavy dark drapes and means for fastening them securely, or build screens or shutters of wood or heavy wallboard. (Skylights and glass doors must also be blacked out.) A good blackout screen must also afford protection against flying glass. It should overlap the window on all sides by at least eight inches.
- LATEST INSTRUCTIONS FOR FIRE BOMBS3
1 - Get your hose, pumps, etc., to the scene at once.
2 - Shoot a jet of water directly at the bomb without delay.
3 - Use jet quickly to douse all bomb fragments and fires.
4 - Be absolutely sure all fire is out before you leave.
5 - Use fine spray only where inflammable material may be near bombs and scattering of metal must be avoided.
6 - Use sand only if you have no water or if fire will not spread.
- AIR RAID DRILL
Select a Family Air Raid Warden to be responsible for all household precautions. Plan your course of action if an air raid comes. Then have periodic air raid drills and check-ups to see that all precautions are in good working order.
- YOUR SAFEST SHELTER
England has found that the safest place of refuge during a bombing to be in your own home refuge room. However, intermediate floors in many large steel buildings as well as well-ventilated basements and sub-basements are quite safe. There are also many excellent specially constructed shelters. Ask your Senior Post Air Raid Warden what your best refuge is.
1. Regarding the information in the booklet, there is this statement: "Acknowledgment is made to U.S. Office of Civilian Defense, U.S. Public Health Service, Bureau of Mines, British Ministry of Information and other authoritative sources."
2. Calamity-howlers is a great term. We should use it more.
3. This is printed in red in the margins of one of the inside pages. I presume it was a hasty update added in the final stages of the booklet's production.