Authorities shared tips for surviving an atomic attack to baffled residents

New York City’s Emergency Management Department on Monday released a 90-second video advising residents what to do in case of a nuclear attack. Officials said there was no specific threat of an atomic attack, only that now was as good a time as any to release the public service announcement.

The video opens with a female presenter appearing against a computer-generated background showing the city.

“So there’s been a nuclear attack,” she says. “Don’t ask me how or why, just know that the Big One has hit.”

She then tells New Yorkers there are three “important steps” they need to take, starting with getting inside a building as fast as possible. Step two involves barricading inside, preferably in a basement, and showering off any dust or radioactive residue if one was caught in the blast outside – and survived somehow. The final step involves staying tuned to the media and the government to give an all-clear.

“As the threat landscape continues to evolve, it is important that New Yorkers know we are preparing for any imminent threats and are providing them with the resources they need to stay safe and informed,” EMD commissioner Zach Iscol said in a statement.

A nuclear attack is a “low probability” but would have a “high impact,” his deputy Christina Farrell told the radio station 1010 WINS. “I don’t know if there’s ever a great time to put out a nuclear preparedness PSA, but it is very important, and we want New Yorkers to be prepared—so no time like the present.”

“We know that this material is very serious and can be scary, frankly, but it is very important,” Farrell added. “There is no specific threat at this time.”

While Iscol and Farrell addressed the main question about the PSA – its timing – the public has asked about on social media, more than a few skeptics pointed out that the advice in the video is of questionable value in case of an actual nuclear war. Monday’s release reminded many of the “Duck and Cover” advice prevalent in the early years of the atomic age.

“This is about as helpful as hiding under a blanket,” said one Twitter user, pointing out New York City would simply be “gone.”

Another posted a map illustrating what a 15-megaton thermonuclear blast over Manhattan would do, suggesting there might not be anyone alive to follow the instructions. 

*closes window*
That oughta do it pic.twitter.com/9POrYZMae4

— lazy river (@newplasticbags) July 11, 2022

This is reportedly the first nuclear PSA produced in New York City since 1962, the year of the Cuban missile crisis. 

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