Contact: Jane M. Orient, M.D., (520) 323-3110, [email protected]
TUCSON, Ariz. In Hiroshima, citizens had no warning, and no inkling about what a single atomic bomb could do. As a result, tens of thousands died unnecessarily. Americans were just warned again in Hawaii, and have known about nuclear weapons effects since 1945, states Physicians for Civil Defense president Jane M. Orient, M.D. “Yet few have done anything to prepare.”
“All Americans should heed the words of Toshiharu Kano, author of Passport to Hiroshima, whose mother was pregnant with him at the time of the Hiroshima bomb,” Dr. Orient stated.
Kano writes: “I am the last, closest to ground zero (800 meters from hypocenter), living survivor of Hiroshima atomic bomb of August 1945. Many of the tens of thousands of victims there tragically perished from an unfamiliarity of how to protect themselves from the unique effects of a nuclear bomb’s flash, blast and radiation. As a US citizen living in Middle America today I see a hauntingly similar vulnerability growing among the general public here ever since Civil Defense was discontinued after the Cold War era.
“The ‘Good News About Nuclear Destruction’ is that if all Americans were trained again in the…basics of what to do and not do if nuclear weapons were ever unleashed again, we could instantly make all nukes 90% less lethal. “Ideally, while I’d like to see a world free of nuclear weapons someday, in the meantime we should all embrace rejuvenating public Civil Defense to greatly minimize their lethality.”
In the three days between the Hiroshima and Nagasaki bombs, survivors spread the word that a bright flash would be followed in seconds by a deadly shock wave. This information saved many who took the appropriate action: to drop and cover, stated Dr. Orient. American schoolchildren used to know this, but few Americans remember.
“After Hawaii’s false alarm, we’re investigating the cause of the error,” she observed. “But what about the lack of basic knowledge and simple life-saving actions? What about the public policy of leaving Americans undefended and uninformed, assuring the maximum number of casualties if we are attacked?” she asked.
Physicians for Civil Defense distributes information to help to save lives in the event of war or other disaster.