Created in the 1950s, this animated film describes the Civil Defense Emergency Hospitals, later renamed Civil Defense Packaged Disaster Hospitals. These were 200 bed mobile hospitals based on the military's Mobile Army Surgeons Hospitals or MASH units. The CD hospitals were equipped with supplies for 30 days of operations.
In June 1956, the Federal Civil Defense Authority announced a new program for distribution of civil defense emergency hospitals. The objective was to store these 200-bed hospitals at strategic points throughout the country in or near facilities which could be converted to hospital use in an emergency.
The plan was designed for the safe permanent storage of a hospital in unopened orginal containers at or near the place of eventual usage where it could be unpacked and put into operation with a minimum of delay in event of an emergency. Storage sites were to be not closer than 15 miles to a Critical Target Area nor farther than 50 miles from the area to be supported. At least 15,000 square feet of acceptable space would have to be available for hospital operations. Actual storage space required for the packaged hospital was slightly over 1,800 cubic feet.
The plan was to be implemented through formal agreements with the States. Each State could obtain one or several of these hospitals for storage within its borders by signing an agreement with FCDA under which the State accepted responsibility for adequate custodial, maintenance, and protective care according to established criteria. All aquisition and delivery costs were borne by the Federal Government. Subsequent costs for storage, care, and protection were borne by the State.
Packaged Disaster Hospitals supported Civil Defense and provided medical facilities capable of surviving the destruction of hospitals during a nuclear exchange. In 1953 the Federal Civil Defense Agency began development of a field hospital that could be deployed nationwide. Modeled on the Army's Mobile Surgical Hospital, a 200-bed prototype known as the Civil Defense Emergency Hospital was constructed. Because the Army hospitals were equipped with equipment not necessary for civilian purposes, the Civil Defense Emergency Hospital design was refined further into a facility with durable equipment as a Packaged Disaster Hospital. Originally designed to operate for a few days, the package was expanded to operate independently for 30 days to compensate for limited mobility of the survivors and reduced transportation capabilities. From 1953 to 1957, the Federal Civil Defense Agency acquired 1800 hospitals. Although transferred to the U.S. Public Health Service in 1961, there was no loss in the program's tempo, as 750 additional facilities were purchased and deployed.
Each Packaged Disaster Hospital set weighed approximately 45,000 pounds and required 7,500 cubic feet of storage space. Assembly required 120 person-hours. The hospital included 12 functioning units: pharmacy, hospital supplies/equipment, surgical supplies/equipment, IV solutions/supplies, dental supplies, X-ray, hospital records/office supplies, water supplies, electrical supplies/equipment, maintenance/housekeeping supplies. Supplies ranged from antibiotics, gurneys, and centrifuges to blankets, sheets, and surgical gloves. Narcotics and surgical scrubs were omitted from the package. The Packaged Disaster Hospital also had an ax, hammers, screwdrivers, picks, and shovels. An extensive set of reference materials published by the U.S. Public Health Service was also available, ranging from manuals describing the facility set-up to assembling and installing specialized equipment. The equipment was supported by a comprehensive training program with texts, lesson plans, lecture formats, and a 27.5 minute film.
The last Packaged Disaster Hospital set was assembled in 1962. At the program's zenith, over 2500 hospitals were deployed throughout the United States. The facilities were well dispersed; even rural states such as Alabama had 53 facilities and Arkansas had 18. The concept was also adopted in Canada, where at least 24 similarly equipped packages were assembled.
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This film is part of the Periscope Film LLC archive, one of the largest historic military, transportation, and aviation stock footage collections in the USA. Entirely film backed, this material is available for licensing in 24p HD and 2k. For more information visit http://www.PeriscopeFilm.com