A LOOK AT BROOKVILLE:Civil Defense and black-out tests


BROOKVILLE — The duties of the Civilian Defense Organization were many. The main object of the organization was Civilian Defense, which also meant Civilian Protection. The men and women were trained and were able to function at all times, under any circumstance. They were prepared to help save lives and property in an accident, fire, flood or any emergency that would arise.

In May 1943, Montgomery County operated completely on its own on a Thursday night when a sectional black-out occurred. All long distance calls were eliminated except one from Dayton to Trotwood. All sections of the county underwent a thorough inspection from state and Army officials.

One of the greatest innovations in the black-out was that all traffic was stopped unless it had an emergency permit from Defense Commanders. Persons going to work were instructed to arrange their time so that a fifteen minute halt would not cause them to be late.

The black-out test for Montgomery County was successful in every respect and showed that the public understood the new Air-Raid Alarm Signals. The only cases of violations reported were from districts where the signals were not heard. Commander, Cecil E. Edwards reported that he was working on a plan to supply adequate alarm systems for those localities.

Locally the cooperation was perfect, motorists stopped and parked their cars, lights went out like magic and the village was in darkness and silence until the All Clear was given.

The four air-raid signals:

• The first, a steady note of a siren or whistle for two minutes meant that Air Raid is probable.

• The second signal was a warbling note of siren for two minutes meaning Raiders overhead.

• The third signal was the same as the first which meant that Raiders May return. Building lights must remain blacked out; keep radio on; pedestrians leave cover; resume pedestrian and vehicular movement.

• The fourth signal was “All Clear” with one short blast of the siren, or long blasts of warden or police whistles or possible radio announcements and the turning on of street lights.

These air-raid signals were used all over the United States, so no matter where a person was, there would be no confusion. Also, street lights remained on during a Dim-Out, unless otherwise ordered. Other instructions were to remain calm, walk, do not run, obey instructions of police and wardens and to not use the telephone unless it was an emergency.

On Saturday August 7, 1943, the Clay Township Civilian Defense organization sponsored a Civilian Defense evening during which time citizens were given an opportunity to see and hear just what it meant to be a member of the Civilian Defense. There was a parade, band, fire drill, first aid demonstrations and short speeches that explained the functions of the organization.

All information and the photo for this Look at Brookville article were supplied by the Brookville Historical Society. Do you have a photo or historical information to share or add? Please contact the Brookville Historical Society at 937-833-0285 or email to [email protected].

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