Nuclear Fallout Shelters in San Jose

There is a cold war era map showing the nuclear fallout shelter locations around the San Jose city area in 1964. It's a fascinating look into the preparations that were taken in the event of a nuclear incident and what locations were identified as rallying points. Some are obvious like shelters under hospitals and government buildings. Some are less obvious like a McDonalds or a brewery.


AN AREA OF THE CITY COMPRISED OF SEVERAL U.S. CENSUS TRACTS THE 17 DISASTER DISTRICTS ARE INDICATED ON THE MAP BY FALLOUT SHELTER: A STRUCTURE WHICH PROVIDES PROTECTION FROM FALLOUT RADIATION. FALLOUT SHELTER COMPLEX: ONE OR MORE SHELTERS IN A SMALL GEOGRAPHIC AREA. EACH SHELTER COMPLEX IS INDICATED ON THE MAP BY: WITH A SHELTER COMPLEX No. REFER TO SHELTER COMPLEX LIST FOR INDIVIDUAL SHELTER ADDRESSES
Fallout Shelter Map of San Jose, 1964
Fallout Shelter Map of San Jose, 1964

Some of these locations have been significantly altered since 1964, like the Westgate Shopping Center. The McDonalds at Meridian and Foxworthy doesn't exist anymore.

Valley Fair has been significantly altered by Westfield and it's hard to believe there would be a shelter there today. The Sears and Roebuck building was demolished and is now a Safeway.


PUBLIC WARNING SIGNALS

Having lived in the Bay Area for over 50 years, I don't recall hearing these alarm signals ever being tested or used. I'm not sure where these sirens were located either.

Two kinds of attack warning signals will be sounded on Civil Defense sirens, horns and whistles: 1. The Alert Signal (Attack Probable) is a three-to-five minute steady blast. 2. The Take Cover Signal (attack Imminent) is a three-minute wailing or warbling tone, or a series of short blasts. Public warning devices will not be sounded to indicate All Clear. The All Clear Signal will be disseminated to the public by all other available means of communication.

Upon hearing the sirens, you were supposed to tune into the AM radio station KXRX 1500 for further news and instructions.

KXRX Coverage Map, Bay Area Radio Museum
KXRX 1500 radio Coverage Map, Bay Area Radio Museum

UPON RECEIPT OF THE ALERT SIGNAL, YOU SHOULD:

1. Turn on your radio, preferably battery operated, and tune to the Emergency Broadcast Station KXRX, 1500 on the AM dial to receive instructions. 2. Do not use the telephone. Lines should be left open for official calls. 3. Walk to the nearest assigned Public Shelter with necessary supplies such as water, food, blankets and special medicines, and remain there until further instructions are received.
4. If there is no assigned shelter for your area, or you are unfamiliar with local plans take the best available refuge, or improvise shelter, using whatever material is at hand, and follow instructions of local authorities.


TAKE COVER SIGNAL

Upon receipt of the Take Cover Signal, you should expect and immediate attack. 1. If you are close to a shelter, go there and take cover, 2. If you are at home, and no prepared shelter is available: a. Take cover in the basement. b. If the home has no basement, stay toward the center of the house in the room or hall that will put as many walls as possible between you and the outside. c. Stay away from windows. d. Tune your radio to Emergency Broadcast Station KXRX, 1500 on the AM radio dial. 3. If you are in a car, stop and take cover in a culvert, underpass, cave or ditch. If no such shelter is available, you should stay in you car, roll down the windows to equalize pressure, crouch or lie down below the level of the windows and protect your face, head and neck with your arms. 4. If you are in the open and cannot reach shelter quickly, you should lie face down on the ground and cover your head with a coat or similar material. 5. Do not use your telephone.


ATTACK WITHOUT WARNING

A nuclear attack could come without warning. If a brilliant flash occurs, quick action could save many lives. 1 If you are outside, lie down in a curled position facing away from the direction of the flash and away from any loose or breakable objects. Seek the lowest, most protected spot, such as a ditch, gutter or other depressions. 2. If you are inside, dive under or behind the nearest desk, table, safe or other heavy furniture. Lie in a curled position, facing away form windows. 3. You should remain in a protected position for not less than five minutes following flash, or until the blast wave has passed.


ACTION AFTER ATTACK


The danger of serious injury is not over, even though an attack has passed. Contamination by fallout is possible without visible evidence of moisture or dust. 1. You have at least 30 minutes to improve your present shelter or go to a better shelter before fallout arrives. 2. Remain in your shelter or refuge until you are notified that it is safe to come out. 3. If you stay in your home, keep the house closed tightly as possible. If windows or doors have broken, nail blankets or other heavy material over them. 4. If you were exposed in the open after the explosion, it is advisable to wash thoroughly, including your hair, and change clothing.

The San Jose fallout shelter map is a reminder of a bygone cold war era where the national consciousness was acutely aware of potential of nuclear conflict and the potential to reach the Bay Area.


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