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UK’s ‘Protect and Survive’ nuclear attack advice deemed ‘futile’ in face of modern threats

The 32-page booklet Protect and Survive about what to do in the event of a nuclear attack was offered to the public in 1980. But it was widely criticised and mocked at the time, and has since been deemed nothing but a “charade”.

Express UK By RHIANNON DU CANN, Jan 29, 2023 “…………………………….. what should people do if the worst were to happen? Is there any official advice? Here, looks at the UK’s last official piece of nuclear advice: a booklet titled Protect and Survive.

The booklet told the public “how to make your home and family as safe as possible under nuclear attack”. In the event of a crisis, the 32-page booklet would be distributed with announcements made on the TV, the radio, and in the press. The pamphlets and a series of public information films were only intended to be made known to the public in the event of a crisis. Some 2,000 copies of the pamphlets were sent to senior officials in the emergency services and local authorities.

The apocalyptical pamphlet — which described how no part of the UK would be considered safe in the event of a nuclear bomb or missile attack — advised the public to create a “fall-out room” and “inner refuge” to protect from radiation

The public was ordered to stay in the room furthest from the outside walls and roof for 14 days without leaving “at all”, essentially barricading themselves in to protect against the penetration of radiation. If possible, Britons were advised to build a “lean-to” inside using dense materials, again to resist radiation. If you lived in a flat of more than five floors, then you must head to the basement or ground floor.

Windows were to be painted with white emulsion to reflect the heat and advice was given on how to bury and label those who had died.

The public would be told to put together a survival kit which consisted of three and a half gallons of drinking water and some for washing; tinned or well-wrapped food to last for a fortnight; a portable radio (described as “only link to the outside world”); warm clothing; letter writing paraphernalia; tin and bottle openers

; crockery; bedding and toilet “articles”.

The booklet also included a checklist that asked questions such as “do you know the warning sounds?”; “have you got buckets of water ready on each floor?” and “have you sent the children to the fall-out room?”

The senior curator of the 2017 People Power: Fighting for Peace exhibit at the Imperial War Museum told The Times that year that the pamphlet was “chilling”.

Matt Brosnan said: “The matter-of-fact instructions are written so as to be easy to follow, yet never broach the underlying question that all readers would be likely to ask: in a nuclear strike, would most of this be futile?”……………………………………….more


January 29, 2023 - Posted by | safety, UK

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