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Encyclopedia > Protect and Survive
The front cover text reads: "This booklet tells you how to make your home and your family as safe as possible under nuclear attack".
The front cover text reads: "This booklet tells you how to make your home and your family as safe as possible under nuclear attack".

Protect and Survive was the title of a series of booklets and a public information film series produced by the British government during the late 1970s and early 1980s dealing with emergency planning for a nuclear war. The phrase also referred to a wider programme of national civil defence. Image File history File links ProtectAndSurvive. ... Image File history File links ProtectAndSurvive. ... Public Information Films (known as PIFs) are a series of government commissioned short films, shown during television advertising breaks in the UK. The US equivalent is the Public Service Announcement (PSAs). ... Nuclear War is a card game designed by Douglas Malewicki, and originally published in 1966. ... The old American Civil Defense logo, used today federally only as a historical reminder on FEMAs seal, the triangle emphasises the 3-step Civil Defense philosophy used before the foundation of FEMA and Comprehensive Emergency Management. ...



The purpose of the programme was to provide members of the British public with instructions on how to protect themselves and survive a nuclear attack. If such an attack had been deemed likely by the Government during any period of international crisis, a copy of the main "Protect and Survive" booklet would have been distributed to every home in the UK whilst the films would have been transmitted on domestic television. The booklet and the films detailed a series of steps to be undertaken by the citizens of the UK to improve their chances of survival during a nuclear attack, including the recognition of attack warning, fallout warning, and all-clear signals, the preparation of a home "fallout room" (fallout shelter) and the stockpiling of food, water, and other emergency supplies. The films, narrated by the late actor Patrick Allen, were similar to the pamphlets, detailing the same instructions using voice-over narration, sound effects, and simple animation. All of the "Protect and Survive" public information films were produced by Richard Taylor Cartoons, which also created the well-known "Charley Says" films for the UK's Central Office of Information. They also produced the Crystal Tipps and Alistair childrens cartoons. A sign pointing to an old fallout shelter in New York City. ... Patrick Allen (born March 17, 1927) is a British actor and voice actor. ... Charley Says was a series of very short cel-animated cartoon Public Information Films for children, produced in the United Kingdom in the 1970s by Londons Central Office of Information. ... The Central Office of Information (COI) is the UK Governments centre of excellence in marketing communications. ... Crystal Tipps and Alistair was a British cartoon produced by the BBC in 1972. ...

Social Impact

The "Protect and Survive" documents were simply designed, easy to understand, and in keeping with the advice of most other emergency planning authorities of the time. In the opinion of some contemporary critics, however, the films of the "Protect and Survive" series were deeply and surprisingly fatalistic in tone. This created some impact upon the popular culture of the era: Raymond Briggs' graphic novel When the Wind Blows, later adapted as a film, radio and stage play, referenced "Protect and Survive", and the BBC telefilm Threads quoted directly from two of the series' films, Action After Warnings and Casualties. Narrator Allen was also featured in the song "Two Tribes" by the UK pop band Frankie Goes to Hollywood, saying "Mine is the last voice you will ever hear. Do not be alarmed" in a tone similar to that used by him in the PIFs. The leaflet series became an easy target for anti-nuclear campaigners (such as E. P. Thompson), who produced Protest and Survive. Raymond Briggs (born January 18, 1934) is a British illustrator, cartoonist, and author who has achieved critical and popular success among adults and children. ... Sabre (1978), one of the first graphic novels. ... When the Wind Blows For the novel by James Patterson, see When the Wind Blows (James Patterson) When the Wind Blows (1982) is a graphic novel, by British artist Raymond Briggs, that shows a nuclear attack on Britain by the Soviet Union from the viewpoint of a retired couple, Jim... The British Broadcasting Corporation, invariably known as the BBC (and also informally known as the Beeb or Auntie) is the largest broadcasting corporation in the world, employing 26,000 staff in the UK alone and with a budget of £4 billion. ... Threads is a 1984 BBC television docudrama depicting the effects of a nuclear war on the United Kingdom and its aftermath. ... Two Tribes is the title track of the second single by Frankie Goes To Hollywood, released in the UK by ZTT Records in May 1984 (see 1984 in music). ... This article or section does not cite its references or sources. ... Frankie Goes to Hollywoods biggest selling single, Relax. Frankie Goes To Hollywood (FGTH) was one of the most controversial and commercially successful UK pop acts of the early 1980s. ... Edward Palmer Thompson (February 3, 1924 - August 28, 1993), was a British historian, socialist and peace campaigner. ...

Rock band Jethro Tull recorded a song called "Protect And Survive" on the 1980 album, "A", also criticizing the program. Jethro Tull are a rock band that formed in Blackpool, England in the 1960s. ... A is an album by Jethro Tull. ...

The title of a song by the hardcore punk band Discharge featured a play on words: Protest and Survive. Hardcore punk is a subgenre of punk rock which originated in North America in the early 1980s. ... Discharge is an influential UK 82 hardcore band. ...

Heavy metal band Wolfsbane's self titled album contains a song called "Protect and Survive" Wolfsbane was a rock and roll band formed in Tamworth, England containing singer Blaze Bayley, who went on to join Iron Maiden in 1993. ...

Alan Moore's landmark 1985 graphic novel, Watchmen, makes a reference to civil-defence pamphlets similar to the "Protect and Survive" pamphlets, including the oft-cited material on disposal of dead bodies. Alan Moore (born November 18, 1953, in Northampton) is an English writer most famous for his work in comics, including the acclaimed graphic novels Watchmen, V for Vendetta and From Hell. ... Sabre (1978), one of the first graphic novels. ... Watchmen is a twelve-issue comic book written by Alan Moore and illustrated by Dave Gibbons. ...

It was also lampooned by television series The Young Ones in the episode "Bomb" (Clip here). The Young Ones was an anarchic British sitcom which ran for two seasons in 1982 and 1984. ...


  • "If anyone dies while you are kept in your fallout room, move the body to another room in the house. Label the body with name and address and cover it as tightly as possible in polythene, paper, sheets or blankets. Tie a second card to the covering. The radio will advise you what to do about taking the body away for burial. If however you have had a body in the house for more than five days, and if it is safe to go outside, then you should bury the body for the time being in a trench, or cover it with earth, and mark the spot of the burial. " (Casualties)

See also

Cover of Fallout Protection, 1961 Fallout Protection - What To Know And Do About Nuclear Attack, was an official government booklet released in December of 1961 by the United States Department of Defense and The Office of Civil Defense. ... The logo of Preparing for Emergencies. ... The United Kingdom was the third country to test an independently developed nuclear weapon in October 1952. ... Copy of Survival Under Atomic Attack issued by the Cleveland office of Civil Defense. ...

External links

  • Protect and Survive website
  • A brief history of Protect and Survive
  • Protect and Survive - Action After Warnings. Video from the National Archive
  • Protect and Survive - Casualties. Video from the National Archive
  • Nuclear Explosions Explained
  • Make your fallout room and inner refuge NOW



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