Newstalgia Reference Room with the recording of the first Air Raid drill in the U.S., staged on May 16, 1938 and as reported by Mutual News.
May 16, 2012

Years before "duck and cover" was even remotely thought about.

As an adjunct to the news of this day from Prague and the Czech crisis, there was also significant news regarding the very first Air Raid drill to take place in the U.S. on the night of May 16, 1938.

The site was a small rural community in New York State, which also housed an aircraft plant. The Air Raid, part of a new concept in War, was designed to better acquaint the public with the distinct possibilities that war could come just as easily from the air as anywhere else.

And since Radio was pretty new at this sort of on-the-spot reporting, it was an exciting evening for all parties concerned, and rather festive to the inhabitants of Farmingdale, New York.

So here is that broadcast, complete as it happened over WOR, New York on that night of May 16, 1938 - seventy-four years ago.

A lot has changed since then, to be sure.

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