The worst aspect of fallout, its
ability to diffuse with the wind for miles, leaves no region of the United
States safe from contamination. Measured in Roentgens, when fallout falls
across urban areas, shelter is needed for adequate protection though it can be
found in nearly every building whether marked as a shelter or not. The
specific threat to humans, graphically demonstrated when gamma rays punch holes
in human skin cells, can be overcome when enough solid shielding is placed
between the outside radiation and the sheltered spaces. Whereas the
full-length version provides extensive directions on how to cleanse food and
your person when entering a shelter, Briefly, About Fallout offers only
glimpses of the decontamination process. Despite these problems, the film
makes clear the federal government's National Fallout Shelter Program has chartered
millions of public spaces to serve as post-attack shelters. The ending
sequence, identical in both version the 1963 and 1967 versions, follows a family enjoying a peaceful
walk, presumably secure in the knowledge they have a place to go when the
sirens sound. In the years following it's release, Briefly, About Fallout would not be deemed obsolete by the Office of Civil Defense and could still be rented or purchased from government catalogs as recently as 1986!(3) An even more abbreviated version of About Fallout would appear in the 1969 OCD production A Briefing on Civil Defense.(4) There, an expert lecturer on fallout radiation discusses a film he intends to play for the viewing audience. He proceeds to show seven minutes of About Fallout, before the camera cuts back to him discussing public fallout shelters.
1. Fallout Protection: What to Know and Do About Nuclear Attack. United States Government Printing Office, 1961.
2. Office of Civil Defense. 1967 Annual Report. United States Government Printing Office, 1967. 89.
3. Department of the Army. Audiovisual Catalog: Photo Devices, Graphics, Audiovisual. 1986. 91.
4. A Briefing on Civil Defense. Office of Civil Defense. Motion Picture. 1969.