Army Fixes New Uniform Air-Raid Signals For East Coast

January 28, 1943

(The new air-raid signals, which have just been ordered by the Army and which are explained in the following story, do not become effective until 12:01 a. m., February 17. Until that time, local Civilian Defense workers, control clerks, firemen and the public generally will adhere to the present system of signals.

While the new signals are designed to bring uniformity in air-raid warning methods along the East Coast, it appears that, locally, they will result in confusion. Just how rural communities, such as Gaither, Marriottsville and Woodbine, which depend on church bells, will distinguish the new “Blue” signal from the “Red”; what type of siren blast will be permitted for fire calls, and what, if any, kind of “All-Clear” will be sounded, are details which the local CD Coordinator will endeavor to work out with State and County defense officials. Results will be made known as soon as possible.

In the meantime, we repeat, the old signals remain in effect until midnight February 16.)

New uniform air raid protection regulations were announced yesterday (January 27, b1943) by Headquarters of the Eastern Defense Command and First Army, for sixteen Atlantic Seaboard States and the District of Columbia, effective 12:01 A.M., February 17, 1943. The new regulations are the result of studies made by the War Department and the Office Civilian Defense based upon the experience gained during the past year.

The new regulations provide for uniform air raid signals designed to permit earlier blackout and mobilization of civilian defense personnel, greater civilian protection, and a minimum of time loss and interference with essential war production and transportation. Public Proclamation No. 4, issued today by Lieutenant General Hugh A. Drum, Commanding General of the Eastern Defense Command and First Army, in accordance with War Department instructions, established the authority for adopting uniform regulations in the Eastern Military Area consisting of the States of Maine, Vermont, New Hampshire, Massachusetts, Rhode Island, Connecticut, New York, New Jersey, Delaware, Pennsylvania, Maryland, Virginia, North Carolina, South Carolina, Georgia, Florida east of the Apalachicola River, and the district of Columbia.

These regulations were issued by appropriate Service Command Headquarters at Boston, New York, Baltimore, Atlantis, and the Military District Headquarters in Washington, D. C. For the States of Maryland, Pennsylvania and Virginia, they were issued by Maj. Gen. Milton Reckord, commanding the Third Service Command. The regulations apply in all persons entering or remaining in these States. Severe penalties, ranging from ejection from the area to fines or imprisonment, are provided under Federal Code by the Army order, which provides the enforcement teeth long needed in the CD organization. Principal features of the new regulations, which were approved by the War Department and concurred in by the Office of Civilian Defenses, are:

New “Blue” Signal
1. A preliminary audible public “Blue” warning signal is prescribed, consisting of a steady blast lasting approximately two (2) minutes on air raid horns, sirens or whistles. This signal, which ordinarily will be the first public warning =, means “Probability of enemy air raid–Enemy planes appear to be headed in your direction–Get ready.” Civilian Defense Forces mobilize. Lights in homes, business houses, certain industrial firms, and all but certain street lights and traffic signals will be blacked out. Pedestrians may proceed. Automobiles may move with lights on low beam. War production and transportation may continue provided certain precautionary steps have been taken.

2. An audible public “Red” air raid signal is prescribed consisting of a series of short blasts on air raid horns or whistles or the warbling notes of the siren. This signal, which corresponds in general to the present air raid alarm, means “Enemy planes are practically overhead.” All remaining lights are blacked out except a few authorized emergency lights. Persons take shelter. Traffic except for emergency vehicles stops. The public is warned that in some cases the “Red” signal will be the first audible public signal whenever there has been insufficient time for sounding the preliminary “Blue” signal.

3. A “Blue” signal will always follow each “Red” signal after immediate danger has passed. It returns the community to the conditions prescribed for the “Blue” signal. The community is thus prepared to return to the “Red” without delay if the enemy raiders return.

4. No audible “All-Clear” signal is prescribed. The “All-Clear” will be indicated by turning on those street lights which have been off during the “Blue”, by public radio announcements and telephone, or other communication with warden posts and by local police. A community may adopt an audible “All-Clear” signal provided that it is not the same as the “Blue” or “Red” signals and does not resemble those signals so as to result in confusion.

“Yellow” Signal Unchanged

Under the new plan, the “Yellow” signal will continue as a preliminary warning to civilian defense offices and certain key workers. This is a confidential caution signal not to be given by public alarm. Ordinarily the “Yellow” signal shall be received first, the “Blue” second and the “Red” third. But in the event of unsufficient time, either the “Yellow” or “Blue” or both may be omitted and the “Red” sounded without preliminary warning. The “Red” signal, however, under the new setup, will… (next page missing)

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