back to article NYC issues super upbeat PSA for surviving the nuclear apocalypse

Ever the optimist, New York has reminded its citizens of what they should do in the event of a nuclear attack. And not just any nuclear attack either, but the "big one." As noted by Bloomberg, the NYC Emergency Management organization, which "helps New Yorkers before, during, and after emergencies through preparedness, …

  1. OhForF' Silver badge


    So they finally saw the need for a bit more than duck and cover?

    1. Yet Another Anonymous coward Silver badge

      Re: Update

      To be fair,duck and cover made sense for the small and scarce weapons the USSR would be able to use at the time - in the early 1950s

    2. MyffyW Silver badge

      Re: Update

      If we are facing a Threads style attack then I - like many here - would sooner go in the first flash. If however we are talking about a limited exchange (and God forbid even that should happen), then some sound advice is worth heading.

      In short, staying indoors could make a very big difference to your life expectancy.

  2. Roj Blake Silver badge

    Standard Operating Procedure upon Encountering a Nuclear Attack at Close Range

    1. Increase core body temperature massively

    2. Scatter constituent atoms over a large area

    1. TimMaher Silver badge

      Re: Standard Operating Procedure upon Encountering a Nuclear Attack at Close Range

      1) Stick your head between your legs.

      2) Kiss your arse goodbye.

      1. MrDamage Silver badge

        Re: Standard Operating Procedure upon Encountering a Nuclear Attack at Close Range

        If it's all the same to you, I'd rather stick my head between someone else's legs, and kiss their arse goodbye.

    2. jake Silver badge

      Re: Standard Operating Procedure upon Encountering a Nuclear Attack at Close Range

      Growing up as I did, in South Palo Alto during the Cold War, I wasn't afraid of The Bomb ... Living about 4 miles from Moffett Field, I knew that we probably wouldn't even survive long enough to register the flash ... As my Dad put it,"We won't need to worry about fallout because we'll be the fallout".

      1. Anonymous Coward

        Re: Standard Operating Procedure upon Encountering a Nuclear Attack at Close Range

        I grew up and still live a few miles from the official Ground Zero - a cafe in the center of the Pentagon courtyard.

        My advice is to go outside and stand in the middle of the street to maximize your chance of instadeath. I don't want to survive the apocalypse.

      2. druck Silver badge

        Re: Standard Operating Procedure upon Encountering a Nuclear Attack at Close Range

        The same where I grew up, with the prospect of being fried a few microseconds after GCHQ.

    3. bpfh

      Re: Standard Operating Procedure upon Encountering a Nuclear Attack at Close Range

      “We’ll all go together when we go…”

      “Remember, Mommy,

      I'm off to get a Commie,

      So send me a salami,

      And try to smile somehow.

      I'll look for you when the war is over --- An hour and a half from now”

  3. Pen-y-gors

    After the bomb

    I used to work for a large insurance company. We had the usual complicated backup and recovery strategy, part of which was that a monthly(?) copy of the backup tapes of all our databases was sent down to London and put in a very old, very large safe, buried deep in the basement, and said to be immune to nuclear attack.

    Given that our IT centre was based near to several likely targets of Soviet nukes, one had to wonder "Why bother?"

    And would we really want to pay out on a load of life assurance claims?

    1. lglethal Silver badge

      Re: After the bomb

      Oh no, you've misunderstood the reason for keeping all those policies safe. It's so that after the attack, the company can prove that in section 13b(5),of the aforementioned policy, the company does not need to pay out in the event of a nuclear explosion or related catastrophes. And thus all those people (or their surviving kin at least) can go and bugger off.

    2. PassiveSmoking

      Re: After the bomb

      Cos we will all go together when we go

      All infused with an incandescent glow

      No-one will have the endurance

      To collect on their insurance

      Lloyds of London will be loaded when they go.

  4. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward


    Not sure it would be Russia starting a nuclear war. Pretty sure our very own wannabe Mrs Thatcher, Liz Truss would be in the running.


    1. Yet Another Anonymous coward Silver badge

      Re: Hmmm…

      State most likely to nuke New York is probably Texas

      1. jake Silver badge

        Re: Hmmm…

        Probably, although Florida would probably tag along like Texas's annoying little brother.

        1. Yet Another Anonymous coward Silver badge

          Re: Hmmm…

          Florida would miss

          1. Danny 2

            Re: Hmmm…

            An unarmed British Trident missile was test-fired towards the coast off Africa, but instead flew towards Florida. It was put down as a malfunction but I reckon it was a warning shot to Trump in Mar-a-Lago.


            Trident missile misfire off Florida: When did British PM learn about it?

            Last December mum asked me when I thought war in Ukraine would start. 2014. But when would the new invasion take place? Feb.22nd. But will it lead to nuclear war? Mum, look at us both, it would be a mercy if it did.

            There is a brilliant documentary on iPlayer Storyville just now, "On the Morning You Wake Up to the End of The World". It's about how folk in Hawaii reacted when they got a false alert they were about to be nuked.

  5. Dr. G. Freeman

    Having a wry smile at the link to Nukemap, while talking about vaporising New York, as the guy who developed it, Alex, is based out of Stevens Tech in Hoboken (Go Ducks !!, spent a great year there as an undergrad) which if the bomb drops on Manhattan, is within the fireball.

    No comment on the Stevens cafeteria food being better after nuclear fallout.

    1. Martin J Hooper

      Alex also does a great blog about Nuclear Secrecy and other topics relating to nuclear weapons.

  6. Filippo Silver badge

    Would've been even better if narrated by the Vault Boy.

  7. Greybearded old scrote
    1. Greybearded old scrote

      I forgot a couple.

      I've always played side 1 of that album after side 2. I just can't handle it ending on Kate screaming, "Leave me something to breath!" over and over.

  8. Greybearded old scrote

    Back when

    Once when things were even more tense than now (something to do with them nasty folks invading poor little Afghanistan (which we would never do)) my local library had a map of the consequences should a "small" bomb explode over the town's airport. I was pleased to find that I only had a 5% risk of being severely injured in my home. That was of course because of the 95% chance of being killed instantly.

    1. bpfh

      Re: Back when

      (which we would never do))


      It didn’t work for the British Empire, it didn’t work for the Soviets, and didn’t work for the US and it’s coalition…. Let someone else go first for the fourth try…

  9. cdilla


    I lived in Sheffield at the time Threads was filmed there.

    I have made sure all my family have watched it.

    All have the same reaction. And none ever want to watch it again.

    There is no worthwhile survival of that kind of event.

    1. Korev Silver badge

      Re: Threads

      Well, the improvements would have been massive and no British government has done half as much for the city

  10. Dan 55 Silver badge

    See also

    The Day Today - It's Alright

    Video useful for nuclear attack and Tory leadership contests.

  11. Mike 137 Silver badge

    "NYC issues super upbeat PSA"

    Clearly, El Reg has gone totally and irrevocably yank. As a limey I hadn't a clue what this headline meant.

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: "NYC issues super upbeat PSA"

      Public service announcement

    2. Korev Silver badge

      Re: "NYC issues super upbeat PSA"

      Sadly ElReg has downgraded to American English as a policy making it read the same as every other generic IT news site out there...

    3. Sixtiesplastictrektableware

      Re: "NYC issues super upbeat PSA"

      As a member of one of the more northern of the americas, allow me to report with great glee of the reckless abandon with which we drag your language kicking and screaming through the new world's filth.

      Or not. I don't care.

      But if you think this is bad, you should see what we do to French.

    4. Yet Another Anonymous coward Silver badge

      Re: "NYC issues super upbeat PSA"

      >super upbeat PSA

      I believe it refers to music consisting of a rapid succession of repetitive beats

  12. DS999 Silver badge

    If I knew a nuclear attack was incoming where I lived

    I would go outside to watch. That way I wouldn't have to be alive to die slowly of injuries, radiation, starvation or roving bands of mutant cannibals.

  13. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    "You've got this"

    ...really? Hold my beer!!!

  14. Oglethorpe

    It would be very impressive if Russia managed to hit NYC with a Tsar Bomba. They'd need to strap several Samats or Satans together or rely on a lumbering subsonic bomber with the bomb bay doors cut off. I doubt they've developed something more powerful; it may be easy to scale but there's efficiency limits and diminishing returns as the yield increases.

    WRT EMP, it's unlikely they're going to knock down a small electronic device, the main issue is probably that most New Yorkers don't own a radio or something simple enough to pick up transmissions without using the Internet. TVs might be an option but they'll more likely have to face a lack of power than some fried ICs.

    1. jake Silver badge

      "most New Yorkers don't own a radio or something simple enough to pick up transmissions without using the Internet"

      Probably not. Sad, that.

      A good thing for any techie to add to their skill-set is the ability to make a cat's whisker radio (AKA crystal radio). Hopefully you'll never have to actually use one, but useful to know JIC. See also crystal detector.

      1. Oglethorpe

        It's a good skill to have but, if you're buying a crystal earpiece (since dynamic drivers are too low sensitivity/impedance) you should probably also buy a cheap FM/AM radio and stick them all in your emergency box.

  15. Notas Badoff

    I'm all upside down

    This "Get Inside", "Stay Inside" has me crying. When all the windows are broken and the doors blown in and the roof is off, where is 'inside' ? And where's the water for the suggested 'shower' ?

    These people are a joke that makes you weep.

    1. Yet Another Anonymous coward Silver badge

      Re: I'm all upside down

      If a 30Mtn has a direct hit on Manhattan, no.

      If a terrorist or 'backpack' tactical device goes off in New Jersey container port 10km away this is useful advice.

      After all it would be dumb needing advice to move AWAY from a couple of burning collapsing skyscraper

      1. bpfh

        Re: I'm all upside down

        I’m not sure anyone *has* a bomb that big apart from plans in a vault. Castle Bravo needed a ship, Tsar Bomba was touch and go (and may not even have taken off if it had its IIRC uranium damper that should have doubled it’s power.

        Today seems that the plan is to shotgun the joint with “little” nukes.

        Little being a misnomer as 120 kt does not sound bad…. But just to visualise that using WWII 50lb / 22 kg crates of TNT, 120 000 tons of explosive with a back of the iPhone calculation, would totally cover the full surface of a standard FIFA football (soccer) pitch with crates, to hight of about 30 metres / 90 feet…

        But that power is in something the size of a large oil barrel. Now go set off 2000 of my pitches above. This does somewhat scare the crap out of me, as that is a litteral crap ton of sunny booms… survivable, probably, over in 2 hours? Probably yes to that too. What would be left standing…… no idea.

  16. ThatOne Silver badge

    New York, New York

    If you can die there, you can die anywhere...

  17. GrahamRJ

    Why stay on the mainland?

    I've never worked out why all the post-apocalyptic stuff involves people hanging around the cities. Me, I'm heading for the nearest marina and stealing a nice 50-foot yacht with plenty of solar panels. (Wherever you live, you can reasonably bet the owners live in a city and are now toast.) Halberg-Rassy ideally, but I'll take anything with sails. And whatever state the rest of the world is in, no-one's throwing nukes at the Azores or Canary Islands.

    1. Yet Another Anonymous coward Silver badge

      Re: Why stay on the mainland?

      I always wondered why everybody got V12 muscle cars when gasoline would soon degrade.

      Diesel lasts longer so you could have Mr MadMax driving around in a VW Jetta, but most of the post-apocalypse road warriors would be on bicycles

      1. jake Silver badge

        Re: Why stay on the mainland?

        "Diesel lasts longer"

        Ethanol is renewable and will burn in normal gasoline engines with minor jetting changes. It's also got a high octane rating, so will work nicely in Mr. Max's blown V8 motor. Methanol would be better, but it's more fiddly to make. I suspect that Ethanol and Salt will be coin of the realm in a post apocalyptic world.

        Bicycles are right out ... too many wear points that need precision parts for replacement.

        1. midgepad

          Bicycle precision

          Last month I photographed some bicycles. One had the white splash on the back mudguard which (as well as other clues) suggested it had been in use during WW2.

          You may be thinking of some shiny aerospace gadget with electric gearshifters, disc brakes, and the like.

          Ordinary ones last well, have interchangeable parts, and with z wrench and cynicism can be made to grind on for a very long time.

          1. jake Silver badge

            Re: Bicycle precision

            Bicycles during WWII were rationed, one needed to justify ownership. They used components (bearings, chains & sprockets, threaded fasteners, steel, rubber) that were needed for the war effort. As a result, they were ridden into the ground ... or until the effort of riding on worn/broken sprockets, rusted out chain and square bearings was greater than walking. The few survivors from that era were probably hidden away and not used during the war. Such hoarding was a crime (unless done by the government, of course).

            Also note that such bicycles were usually single speed, and made to be nothing more than a slightly faster substitute for walking. You weren't going to hop onto the bike to go visit your Gran four or five towns away.

            "Use it up, wear it out, make it do or do without." —Slogan during WWII

          2. jake Silver badge

            Re: Bicycle precision

            As a side note, what is a z wrench?

        2. bpfh

          Re: Why stay on the mainland?

          Diesel can grow algae in it too…

  18. PassiveSmoking

    Tsar Bomba

    "The terrifying thought is how nuclear weapons may have developed since the Cold War; they could be far more powerful."

    Actually no. Experience has shown that nuclear weapons don't scale. A bomb with twice the yield won't do twice the damage because of the inverse square law. Building huge monstrosities like the Tsar Bomba is just a waste of plutonium, and the builders knew that full well. It was honestly little more than a publicity stunt.

    The real nightmare apocalypse-tech is MIRV: Multiple Independently-targetable Re-entry Vehicles. Basically a single missile carries multiple warheads of about 5 megatons each, mounted to a "bus", a simple spacecraft with thrusters that allow it to reposition during the ballistic portion of its trajectory. It orients itself to a target and releases a warhead, re-orients, releases another warhead on a different trajectory, and so on. This basically results in a hailstorm of warheads spread over an area that will result in far more destruction than any single bomb could ever practically be expected to deliver. Basically it's a nuclear cluster bomb.

    Sleep soundly!

  19. Sixtiesplastictrektableware

    America is in an existential crisis. If the population ever develop an awareness of that, and the subsequent futility of their existence in relation to the likelihood of a nuclear conflict, that would be bad. As in less money bad.

    So, the workers are discouraged from philosophical malaise with a false hope of survival and kept in place with 'wait for instructions'.

    I'll assume this message was brought to us by people who don't want be looted at the time of societal collapse.

    1. Yet Another Anonymous coward Silver badge

      Given recent large scale sociological experimental results, half the population would run toward the mushroom cloud to 'own the libs' while denying any harmful effects

      1. jake Silver badge

        Actually, in NYC most of the people would run towards it out of reflex.

        Some wag once pointed out that you could advertise an all-out machine-gun war between 4 rival gangs would be happening at Times Square on a certain day at noon, so you'd best stay away and avoid stray bullets ... but the entire city would turn out to watch anyway.

        1. Yet Another Anonymous coward Silver badge

          And CMOT Dibbler would be there to sell sausages-in-a-bun

    2. bpfh

      I think they did in the 60’s

      Duck and cover, (and the UK’s later and amusing “protect and survive” videos with it’s horrible jingle from the early 80’s…), people sort of believed that nuclear war could come at any point. My generation and later sort of forgot that this could ever happen outside of North Korea flexing its muscles, the superpowers were smarter than that….

      Today, that’s sort of not so much the case, but it doesn’t really affect the current TikTok generation who have not seen Threads (neither have I actually, but I have read the overview), The War Game or even Dr. Strangelove….

      Oh and going off on a tangent about films, “When the wind blows”, which sort of defined “fallout” as losing your hair and protecting yourself with a couple of lean-to doors in your living room…

  20. Danny 2

    You gotta laugh

    There are X Berths around the UK where British nuclear-armed subs go to berth. I had to explain to a young peace protestor that they weren't going there to give birth to mini-subs.

    Two decades ago the Royal Navy were forced to give disaster contingency plans to the local communities. I went along to the one in Skye, Broadford bay, I arrived late but was made to feel special because the MoD plod had reserved me the one free seat in the middle of the crowd, and every RN officer made eye contact and spoke directly to me. They seriously overestimated my peace protester, anarchist abilities.

    I said nothing, asked nothing, did nothing but observe, yet it was hilarious and nearly ended in a riot.

    The first part of the plan was police cars would go around with loudhailers announcing instructions and distributing iodine tablets. First question: "A lot of old residents here are deaf and won't hear that, what about them?"

    Second question: "You said injured people would be removed from the blast radius and evacuated to Broadford hospital, but on your map Broadford hospital is within the blast radius - did you not notice that in your planning?"

    Third question: "You crashed a Trident sub into the Isle of Skye earlier this year, for the second time. Have you considered Sonar, or even a tourist map?"

    1. Yet Another Anonymous coward Silver badge

      Re: You gotta laugh

      > Have you considered Sonar,

      Shouting "we are here" with a 1000W of underwater sound rather defeats the purpose of a deterrent.

      >or even a tourist map?"

      Perhaps the local council could install underwater sign posts?

  21. Mike 137 Silver badge

    No real change in the guidance

    If you go to the Kelvedon Hatch nuclear bunker in Essex (UK) you can see the 1950s guidance for citizens.It's about as effective as this new stuff. I have a strong suspicion that for the entire history of the problem the primary purpose has been [a] to minimise an assumed public panic and [b] to minimise the proportion of casualties needing medical attention. For example, it was then recommended that you could build a shelter in your lounge by removing the door and making a tent to hide under out of it and the back of your settee.

    1. Yet Another Anonymous coward Silver badge

      Re: No real change in the guidance

      Would this really be sufficient to protect you from living in Essex ?

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