According to Wikipedia, a fallout shelter is an enclosed space specially designed to protect occupants from radioactive debris or fallout resulting from a nuclear explosion. Many such shelters were constructed as civil defense measures during the Cold War.
During a nuclear explosion, matter vaporized in the resulting fireball is exposed to neutrons from the explosion, absorbs them, and becomes radioactive. When this material condenses in the rain, it forms dust and light sandy materials that resembles ground pumice. The fallout emits alpha and beta particles, as well as gamma rays. Much of this highly radioactive material then falls to earth, subjecting anything within the line of sight to radiation, a significant hazard. A fallout shelter is designed to allow its occupants to minimize exposure to harmful fallout until radioactivity has decayed to a safer level.
Now if you're my age and grew up during the Cold War, these signs mean a great deal to you. Do you remember the film clip, "Duck and Cover"? Do you remember practicing drills in school? Kids today don't do that at all. They do practice fire drills. But, do the kids know why we hear a siren on Wednesday at exactly 12 noon?
Now besides these lyrics:
Blocking out the scenery breaking my mind
Do this, don't do that, can't you read the sign
running around in my mind it occurs to me there are signs that kids do need to know about. It's summer, they'll be out and about more then usual. Do they know where the closest block parent lives? Do they know what sign to look for? Do they know how to get help and from whom if you're not around? That was such a big part of the school practice, what to do if you weren't with an adult. The importance of staying calm in an emergency.
The fall out shelter program began in earnest in 1961 with shelters in churches, schools, and other public buildings. What I found interesting after seeing this sign (which peaked my interest); is that Switzerland had a huge network of fallout shelters stocked with essentials enough for the entire population for a full 2 years after an attack back in the Cold War. Other countries too had vast underground networks far different than what we had/have here in The States.
Does your family have a plan for emergencies? Be they a tornado, a fire etc? This seemed like a good reminder to me that being prepared is a good way to be safe.
Thinking of safety while traveling, show the kids were the stairs are, talk about sirens, talk about evacuating calmly should something happen while you're in a hotel in your summer travels.
In case you've missed any of Stanley's Friday Fun, you can catch up here:
- April 23, 2010 Books and Parks (Upper Arlington, Ohio)
- April 30, 2010 Traitor or Hero (Worthington, Ohio)
- May 7, 2010 Flat Stanley and his friend Captain Pinney (Worthington, Ohio)
- May 14, 2010 First Flight and Flat Stanley (Worthington, Ohio)
- May 21, 2010 Up The Indian Mound with Flat Stanley (Columbus, Ohio)
- May 28, 2010 Flat Stanley goes to Camp (Upper Arlington, Ohio)
- May 31, 2010 Honoring Those who Served on Memorial Day (Upper Arlington, Ohio)
- June 12, 2010 Signs and Flat Stanley, (Worthington, Ohio)