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Information Program Within Public Shelters

Office of Civil Defense


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This film opens to a chaotic and claustrophobic scene.  With the camara pulled in tight upon them, a crowd of well dressed men and women mill about in confusion in a public fallout shelter.  They are desperate for information and struggling to adjust to a new and unfamiliar environment.  Some group together and trade rumors, others withdraw into isolation and refuse to speak with others.  From the edge of the set, a stern narrator emerges to offer advice to calm the situation.  Organization, leadership, recreation, training, empathy with fellow shelter occupants, these are the societal tenants which will restore order.  All are led by an overriding need for information and the quality of a shelter's

information program will have a great effect on the success of the survival effort.  When the National Fallout Shelter Program began in late 1961, the Office of Civil Defense employed architects and engineers to traverse the United States and identify and mark buildings which would qualify a public shelters following an an enemy attack with nuclear weapons.  Although the process of identifying and marking shelters was a federal effort, it would be up to local governments to staff them with trained volunteers.  To aid this process, a series of films was released in 1963, with each examining a different aspect of the shelter stay.  True to its title, Information Program in Public Shelters shows what steps staff members can take to 

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Perhaps the most defining characteristic of this film is The narrator is portrayed by Chris Bonn, a prolific character actor known for his work in television and commercials.  He also found a steady career appearing in civil defense films and can be found hosting Fallout Shelter: What Is It? and Nuclear Detonations: The First 60 Seconds, portraying news anchor in Individual and Family Actions on Warning and a radio operator in Manual Damage Assessment.  Similarly, a number of the shelter occupants can be seen in other films which use the same shelter scene.  The shelter manager also appears in Safety Measures in Public Shelters and as gruff shelter manager Bill Collins in Public Shelter Organization and Staff.  The woman awaiting news on 

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her missing children portrays a mother in the same situation in Occupying a Public Shelter and as a comforting friend to a father in the same position in Three Reactions to Shelter Life.  


1. Index of Army Pictures for  Public Non-Profit Use.  Department of the Army.  May, 1975.  P. 34.

2. Index of Army Pictures for Public Non-Profit Use.  Department of the Army.  May, 1975.  P. 34.

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