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WWII Air Raid Warning Instructions

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(c) Pocumtuck Valley Memorial Association, Deerfield MA. All rights reserved.
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The most important part of civilian defense was air raid protection, and by November of 1941, all the states and thousands of towns and cities had set up defense councils, and local air raid wardens and auxiliary firemen were appointed. The Office of Civil Defense (OCD) issued pamphlets containing air raid warning instructions. These instructions were sent to the town of Deerfield, Massachusetts. The sheets describe a Red Alert signal ("Expect an attack any moment") that would sound like a three-minute warbling signal or a series of short blasts, by sirens, horns or whistles; and an All Clear signal ("Enemy aircraft no longer in the area") that would sound like three one-minute blasts with two minutes of silence between. The instructions tell Americans what they should do in case of an attack - with or without warning -at home, work, school, in the open, and in cars, busses or trolleys. In general, people were instructed to drop to the floor and find cover if they had no warning, or go to a shelter if they did have warning. People were further instructed to share this list of instructions with each member of their family.


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