Taking Shelter at UW-Oshkosh

Most universities have procedures in place for just about any emergency event. The University of Wisconsin-Oshkosh‘s emergency information can be found in the Emergency Procedures Guide (EPG). It outlines almost any emergency procedure that could happen on campus or the surrounding area. Two emergency categories that seem very extreme, but also very relevant to our time, are the bomb threat and active shooter emergency procedures on campus. I assume most people would agree that a bombing or shooting is the worst emergency scenario a college campus and college town could ever face, or so you would think.

Not so long ago our country was preoccupied with the constant threat of thermonuclear war. It was a concern of the biggest cities and smallest towns across the United States. The constant fear of annihilation from thermonuclear weapons characterized the Cold War that lasted from 1945 to 1991. There were even concerned people in Oshkosh, Wisconsin.

U.S. Castle Bravo Hydrogen Bomb Test-1954

Could you ever imagine being prepared to leave lecture and take cover in a fallout shelter? Some UW-Oshkosh Alumni may remember it. In October 1961 President John F. Kennedy urged Americans to prepare for nuclear war by  building fallout shelters as a means of protection. The Office of Civil Defense soon got underway locating, marking and stocking public fallout shelters around the nation. Fallout shelters were even located in Oshkosh, Wisconsin, and the majority of the ones in Oshkosh were said to have been on campus.

Fallout Shelter at UW-Oshkosh
Fallout Shelter at UW-Oshkosh

Pictured above is one of the shelters marked somewhere on UW-Oshkosh campus. Do any of my readers know where this is? Comment if you know the answer. This sign is a grim reminder of the turbulent world our parents and grandparents once lived in. Hard to believe that at one time students at our university, as well as others, were taught an emergency drill for nuclear war.

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