Cold War Music from the Golden Age of Homeland Security
In Time of Emergency: Office of Civil Defense Radio Kits 1968

"There is no special significance to the release of the kit at this time."
— Excerpt from the liner notes
IN TIME OF EMERGENCY

The above quote neatly reflects how the Vietnam War and the widespread domestic strife of the late 1960ís served to diminish the urgency of civil defense planning in the United States. By 1968 the war in Southeast Asia and the Western counter culture revolution it helped spawn had placed fallout shelters and duck and cover drills squarely on the back burner of the political agenda. Indeed, the issue of nuclear preparedness wouldnít become a hot topic again until Ronald Reagan took office and initiated the arms build-up of the early 1980ís. Before Reagan (and post-Vietnam War escalation) civil defense education could best be described as being decidedly random—a quality that the aforementioned liner notes blurb seems to capture rather well.

This two volume radio kit—and the pamphlet that it is derived from—could well be considered a serious if ineffectual "maintenance" effort by the government to remind a justifiably distracted public that the Cold War was, in fact, not over. Office of Civil Defense pamphletWhat with all the riots, assassinations and campus rebellion stateside and the wholesale death overseas, the American people could be forgiven if they needed a little memory jog regarding the lingering nuclear threat posed by the Soviets. Thankfully, there was still an agency around to provide just such a propaganda nudge.

The lackadaisical nature of this particular Public Service Announcement approach is made plain by the official "facts" imparted by the (always) stentorian announcer: The advice is about as stale as a leftover survival biscuit from 1961. Apparently the monetary resources needed by McNamara and Westmoreland to wage the war in Vietnam precluded any new scientific surveys from being funded to freshen up the moldy data presented on the IN TIME OF EMERGENCY kits. The currency of the information on these two disks is never more suspect than when the announcer repeatedly assures the listener that they need only remain in their shelter from 2 to 14 days. It is as if the ICBM had not yet been invented. However, if the basic facts contained on the LPs are a tad outdated for the times, the art work for the albums is strikingly contemporary. The jagged black and white design of the upside-down cityscape in silhouette for volume 1 and the corresponding flipside rendering for volume 2 seem to capture the topsy-turvy world of 1968 as well as any (non-Government payroll) pop artist from the era might have been able to produce.

CONELRAD proudly presents audio excerpts from this unsung period of Civil Defense.

FROM THE BACK COVERS OF THE ALBUMS:

IN TIME OF EMERGENCY
RADIO KIT #1

The public service announcements in this kit are based upon instructions in the Office of Civil Defense handbook "In Time of Emergency," published in March 1968. There is no special significance to the release of the kit at this time.

Twice in recent history, the United States has become involved in international situations of such gravity that enemy nuclear attack was feared a possibility. And each time, radio stations have been besieged with calls from listeners asking what practical measures a person might take to increase his chances for survival.

To help meet this need, if a similar crisis occurs in the future, the Office of Civil Defense, Department of Defense, has prepared two series of transcribed announcements (Radio Kit #1 and #2) containing information of value to all citizens in helping to prepare themselves for a time of emergency.

The content of RADIO KIT #1 contains ten one-minute spot announcements that can be used either in normal peacetime as regular public information announcements, or in a time of actual crisis.

However, there is much useful guidance that canít be offered from the nation level, since local conditions and problems may vary from one community to another.

This is why the Office of Civil Defense intends that this EMERGENCY RADIO KIT be delivered to you by your area civil defense director or other local official who has the responsibility for preparing your community for possible nuclear emergency. He will be glad to add any special local information and instructions your listeners may need.

1. Radioactive fallout: 0:60
2. Attack Warning: 0:60
3. If Caught in the Open: 0:60
4. Public Shelter Sign: 0:60
5. Improvising Fallout Protection (Homes with Basements): 0:60
6. Improvising Fallout Protection (Homes without Basements): 0:60
7. What to Take to Shelter: 0:60
8. Emergency Shelter: 0:60
9. Fire Hazards: 0:60
10. Follow Official Instructions: 0:60

IN TIME OF EMERGENCY
RADIO KIT #2

The public service announcements in this kit are based upon instructions in the Office of Civil Defense handbook "In Time of Emergency," published in March 1968. There is no special significance to the release of the kit at this time.

Twice in recent history, the United States has become involved in international situations of such gravity that enemy nuclear attack was feared a possibility. And each time, radio stations have been besieged with calls from listeners asking what practical measures a person might take to increase his chances for survival.

To help meet this need, if a similar crisis occurs in the future, the Office of Civil Defense, Department of Defense, has prepared two series of transcribed announcements (Radio Kit #1 and #2) containing information of value to all citizens in helping to prepare themselves for a time of emergency.

The content of RADIO KIT #2 contains six special announcements of greater length than the usual radio spots, which are intended for use in time of extreme emergency when your listeners would need more detailed information and instructions for their protection.

However, there is much useful guidance that canít be offered from the nation level, since local conditions and problems may vary from one community to another.

This is why the Office of Civil Defense intends that this EMERGENCY RADIO KIT be delivered to you by your area civil defense director or other local official who has the responsibility for preparing your community for possible nuclear emergency. He will be glad to add any special local information and instructions your listeners may need.

1. Main Hazards of Nuclear Attack: 4:58 [EXCERPT]
2. Fire Prevention-Fire Fighting: 3:47 [EXCERPT]
3. Attack Warning: 2:57 [EXCERPT]
1. Where to Find Shelter ó What to Take Along: 2:19 [EXCERPT]
2. Improvising Fallout Protection: 6:56 [EXCERPT]
3. Food and Water: 4:40 [EXCERPT]


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