Duck And Cover!

It seems like part of modern popular culture is making fun of the 50s civil self defense programs as so ridiculous. The most obvious thing that comes to mind is that we all like to joke about the “duck and cover” instructions they used to give school kids, thinking they were ridiculous.

Of course, nuclear weapons aren’t the continent-busting weapons that popular culture seems to think they are. And outside of a rather limited “kill zone” on most nuclear warheads, there will be a significant area where the major risks of injury or death are fire and broken/flying glass. And what would you do to prevent injury? Duck and cover.

In any case, teaching ‘duck and cover’ would save a LOT of lives in the areas beyond the immeadiate ‘kill zone’ of a nuclear warhead, and was entirely prudent training.

So… stop making the damn duck and cover jokes already. :stuck_out_tongue:

well, you know, in 20 years, we’ll make fun of the civil defense plans in place today for terrorism.

Jim: I already do.


If I detect a giant flash of light out of the corner of my eye, color me down on the ground.

This reminds me of the SS-18 Satan link I posted in the Pit. The big nukes still exist, ready, waiting, and capable of screwing up your whole day. The longer we have them, and have no way to counter even one, the greater a chance someone uses them accidentally with nothing to do BUT duck and cover.

Hey SenorBeef, not to pick on you or anything, but we are still targeted by nuclear weapons. We still have Minutemen and Peacekeepers live, locked, and loaded. We still have Soviet [sub](yeah, I know)[/sub] and other systems pointed at us. Point is, we’re still playing the nuclear deterrence game.

As old and cliche as it is, and as much lower the threat of instant nuclear war is, I think it’s still a good message to spread. 'Specially with that little turtle. :smiley:

I practice ducking and covering at school every day.

It’s funny. My grade school was still showing those films in the early 70s.

The Doomsday clock is at 11:53, folks.

If you see a nuclear flash, don’t duck and cover but give your beloved
a kiss and enjoy your last sensation.

I was raised about 5 miles from a major SAC base - B-52’s on the ready line, with the wing supports in place (e.g. the tanks were full).

Yep, that massive kiddie desk would certainly protect my sorry ass when that base was incinerated.

just like those folks at the airport will keep terrorists away from planes, and the cops on the GG bridge will keep it safe.

right. i believe.


I’m not saying it’s not still a threat, I’m just saying that when people make fun of the notions, they invariably reference the cheesy 50s civil defense films.

Oh, if you’re within the immeadiate area of a nuclear blast, you’re dead, no matter what you do. But I’m saying there’s a large area (larger than the kill zone) in which likely fatalities will come from things which ducking and covering would help prevent, and so it’s an entirely valid thing to teach. I mean… if you duck and cover in the kill zone, you’re dead anyway. But if you duck and cover 20 miles away from the blast, you may just save yourself from that giant piece of flying glass.

Duck? Where? I don’t see any feathered…

Fighting for peace is like screwing for virginity.
Oh, and happyheathen, what base did you live near? I live near one also.


I never liked that analogy. As virginity is an unattainable state once you’ve lost it, it would suggest that peace is impossible after the first instance of war.

Besides, we’re not fighting, merely preparing to fight.

I also disagree:

It’s pretty easy to have peace when your enemy is dead.

Just a little sick humor for ya.

Oh yeah, happyheathen, what base is that? There’s a veritable plethora of 'em back in those days.

I’m at one of the few remaining ones.

all - WPAFB.

And would some one define ‘kill zone’?

there is the blast area, the firestorm area, and the lethal radiation area (elasped time until death ranges from a few days to infinity). IIRC 20 miles is within firestorm range of strategic nukes - you will be a crispy critter, only a couple of minutes later

(and we won’t discuss what was acutally going on at a “weapons depot” which had ready nukes on launchers inside “storage” bunkers (it was strongly hinted that the installation (no, not going to name it) was an active, live missle base)).

Don’t go assuming that this is all history - it really isn’t over.

If you hear the blast, you will feel nothing. If you see it, you will die within a few minutes - if final actions matter to you, use those few moments wisely.

meantime - let’s see if we can get rid of the damned doomsday devices, 'K?

It’s kinda hard, figuring in all the different variables: yield of the weapon, airburst vs. groundburst, topography of the target, the weather [sub]yes, the weather![/sub], etc.

As a rule of thumb, I tend to figure a 20 mile distance is the unofficial ‘start’ of a safe zone if I hope to have any chances of living.

Try this site which gives you a chance to map out what might happen to your hometown.

I love the Dayton/Kettering area. Nice place.

It’s hard to say - there are so many factors. But I’ll note that as time goes by, American and Russian nuclear warheads are actually getting small and less powerful, not larger. At some point in the 70s and 80s, our targetting systems became better, and we decided it was better to have smaller warheads hit more precisely, than huge warheads hit imprecisely.

And so a lot of the modern warheads don’t have that huge of a blast radius - in some conditions, 10 miles away from the blast would be somewhere that you could survive (and I’m talking strategic, not tactical weapons), and with some warheads and conditions, you probably wouldn’t be safe within 40 - it’s hard to say.

But like I said, there IS a larger area, in general, in which your bigger dangers come from ‘collateral effects’ like fire and flying objects rather than the direct effects of the nukes themselves.

Oh, you wanted a definition, not a range. I don’t think there’s an official definition, I was just using it to mean ‘an area where you’re reasonably sure to die no matter what you do’, in practical terms it means the immeadiate effect of the blast wave and initial radioactive ‘broadcast’.