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Civil defense, civil defence (see spelling differences) or civil protection is an effort to protect the citizens of a state (generally non-combatants) from military attacks and natural disasters. It uses the principles of emergency operations: prevention, mitigation, preparation, response, or emergency evacuation and recovery. Programs of this sort were initially discussed at least as early as the 1920s and were implemented in some countries during the 1930s as the threat of war and aerial bombardment grew. It became widespread after the threat of nuclear weapons was realized.
Since the end of the Cold War, the focus of civil defense has largely shifted from military attack to emergencies and disasters in general. The new concept is described by a number of terms, each of which has its own specific shade of meaning, such as crisis management, emergency management, emergency preparedness, contingency planning, emergency services, and civil protection.
In some countries, civil defense is seen as a key part of "total defense". For example, in Sweden, the Swedish word totalförsvar refers to the commitment of a wide range of resources of the nation to its defense - including to civil protection. Respectively, some countries (notably the Soviet Union) may have or have had military-organized civil defense units (Civil Defense Troops) as part of their armed forces or as a paramilitary service.

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  1. CountryGent

    Civil Defense Life gun kit?

    I was looking over a site that I've enjoyed over the years, the Civil Defense Museum, and on their Seattle Civil Defense Rescue Service Vehicles page, one of the items listed is a "Life gun kit (Remington or equal)". I emailed my father-in-law, who drove one of those in the late 1960s in...
  2. CountryGent

    Fun WW2 Gas Masks for Children

    In Range TV had an interesting video on vintage Civil Defense masks. In this case, the somewhat creepy* children's Mickey Mouse one. Anyway, I found it interesting and thought I'd pass it along. *It wasn't just me that though it a little weird. My four year old was wandering around and...
  3. CountryGent

    U.S. Civilian Defense Weapon

    In my travels, I came across this old advertisement and found it kind of interesting. It evidently was trying to appeal to preparedness-minded individuals of the time ("in case of national emergency"). Though an 8-shot, .22LR carbine may not be the first pick if Soviet paratroopers are raining...
  4. CountryGent

    Vintage NBC Videos

    Over the years, I've seen a number of vintage nuclear, biological, and chemical (NBC) survival films. I figured others might find these interesting, so am passing a few along. Cheers.
  5. CountryGent

    Civil Defense Marked Firearms?

    Over the years, I've seen a small number of Civil Defense marked firearms. A handful were obviously newly made items with the logo slapped on them, but many were vintage and appear to be genuine. The few that come to mind were revolvers (mainly Victory model .38s) and shotguns.* I've read...
  6. CountryGent

    Emergency Management Magazine

    There is a publication entitled Emergency Management that that covers emergency management, recovery, public safety, training, homeland security, et al. The print and digital versions are completely free. I subscribe to the print edition and have found it interesting. Information and the...
  7. CountryGent

    TACDA Academy

    This is a resource I figured I'd pass along in case it helps others. The American Civil Defense Association (TACDA) has free training material called the TACDA Academy. It can be accessed by anyone via the web, member or not*, here. * I've been a member of TACDA for a long time and have always...
  8. CountryGent

    The Man in Black on Civil Defense

    Interesting, short, Civil Defense PSA from Johnny Cash, circa 1959. Just passing it along for the grins.
  9. CountryGent

    A Day Called X (1957)

    The following film is a short movie produced during the early stages of the Cold War called A Day Called X. It is about a hypothetical nuclear attack on Portland, Oregon. It is narrated by the actor Glenn Ford. The rest of the people are officials and citizens of the Rose City. Anyway, it is...
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