The recent Russian news that they are practicing massive evacuation of their cities makes me a little nervous:
I was working as the Planning Director of Will County, Illinois (Joliet, Naperville, Tinley Park, Park Forest) in 1976 when a man came in to see me. He gave me a business card,which showed his name and indicated that he was an NCP.
"What is an NCP", I asked? "Nuclear Catastrophe Planner", he replied.
I have another live one, I thought. He proceed to show me a large old colorfully printed document that showed the areas that would be destroyed by a nuclear attack. All of the six County Chicago metro area would be destroyed except a small corner in the southwest corner of Will County.
"Interesting and depressing", I said. "What do you want me to do about it?"
"Prepare an evacuation plan." he said.
"You want to evacuate the entire Chicago metro area before an attack?" I said.
"Won't you have only 15 minutes or so to evacuate 8 million people? Where would they go?" The roads would be impassable."
"They will go to rural areas outside of the metro area." He said.
And then what he said made some sense. He told me that the Soviet Union had plans and actually practiced evacuation of their large cities. If we got into a toe to toe confrontation with the USSR or PRC, as we did over the Cuban missile crisis, things could once again get very tense.
"If we see they are evacuating their cities it would be best to start evacuating our cities.
Otherwise we would be pressured to strike first." he said. Both the USSR and USA might take several days to evacuate their cities.
Our NCP seemed to be a free lance individual rather than a representative of a government agency. I asked if any of the other planning agencies were preparing such plans or if there was a Federal agency coordinating or funding this effort. There was no funding of sponsoring Federal agency.
We never did prepare evacuation plans. So far, so good, although I was unhappy to find out that Russia practiced evacuation of large areas last week. Maybe as a nation we should have developed those evacuation plans.
Click to see a fun video on nuclear fallout from 1955. Anytime you get depressed about how things are doing now politically, think back to fun times of the cold war.
And it is a wonderful thing that the USA, USSR, and the PRC avoided blowing the world up. Let us hope that Russia will continue to march and quit rattling rockets.
You probably recall the old joke
What to do in the event of nuclear attack?
Nuclear war takes all the joy out of warfare.