Contact: Jane M. Orient, M.D., (520) 323-3110, [email protected]
TUCSON, Ariz. The threat of a nuclear strike by ballistic missile from North Korea appears to be here now—not years into the future.
Russia and China have much greater capability, but they are not openly threatening to use it immediately, unlike North Korean dictator Kim Jong Un.
For some reason, New York City officials have chosen this moment to “remove misleading nuclear fallout shelter signs” dating from the 1960s, according to a Reuters report.
During the Cold War, the U.S. had a program to survey buildings that had space with adequate radiation protection, mark it with distinctive yellow signs, stock it with essential supplies such as food and water, and provide radiation monitoring instruments. Now the only thing that remains is some of the old signs.
The Office of Civil Defense was subsumed into the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) and abolished in the 1970s.
What do we have instead? According to Reuters, Eliot Calhoun of the NYC Emergency Management agency has spent years finessing a 90-character message to flash as an alert onto cellphones. The current form is: “Nuclear explosion reported. Shelter in basement/center of building, close windows/doors.”
“This advice is better than staying outdoors or in a car,” states Physicians for Civil Defense president Jane Orient, M.D. “And cellphones might be working—or not. But it is shocking that Americans are completely unprotected from this threat.”
The Doctors for Disaster Preparedness 60-second training card is much better, states Dr. Orient, starting with the knowledge that could save more lives than anything else: “Drop and cover when you see a flash.”
Physicians for Civil Defense distributes information to help to save lives in the event of war or other disaster.