Cinema History from the Cold War!

Emergency Operations Centers:
Radiological Defense Operation
Office of Civil Defense
Department of the Army
1967

Opening with a poetic ode to the importance of a fallout shelter sign, Emergency Operations Centers: Radiological Defense Operations masks a general decline in support and funding for civil defense programs in America which had taken hold by 1967.  Still a year away from the In Time of Emergency campaign which would inject new life into federally guided nuclear preparedness, the Office of Civil Defense was chronically underfunded and lapsing in credibility.  In what appears to a solution to this budget crunch, a number of short, low-cost films were produced which blended an engaging storyline and relatable characters with the tedious procedures needed when monitoring fallout.  Designed both to inform, and reassure a skeptical public civil defense was alive and well, this monitoring series spans the arc of a simulated enemy attack, from the pre-war tensions in Introduction to a Radiological Defense Exercise, to the final safe passage outside in Planning for Emergence from Public Shelters



Set in the fictional Central City, described in Emergency Operating Centers: The Basic Concepts, as "a bustling metropolis of around 80,000", the film picks up just moments after an enemy attack has occurred and descends into a command post to follow Dan Carter and his team of radiological monitoring officers.  The population of Central City appears to have been spared a direct nuclear attack.  Not as fortunate, however, is the nearby Cobb Air Force base.  As the clip below relates, the base suffers a direct hit and the fallout from the blast is headed towards Central City.  The series remains focused on the county-level headquarters through this film, then expands to several smaller city shelters to describe how to monitor the fallout accumulation on people entering the shelter and how to keep food from becoming contaminated.