NEW YORK (1010 WINS) — New York City launched a nuclear attack preparedness public service announcement on Monday, saying it’s best to be prepared even if such a strike is unlikely.
“While the likelihood of a nuclear weapon incident occurring in/near New York City is very low, it is important New Yorkers know the steps to stay safe,” the city’s Emergency Management Department said in its announcement.
The PSA encourages New Yorkers to take “key, simple steps in the event of such an incident.”
The 90-second video starts with shots of destroyed city blocks. “So there’s been a nuclear attack,” an announcer says. “Don’t ask me how or why. Just know that the big one has hit. OK. So what do we do?”
According to the PSA, there are three important steps to take.
The first step is to “get inside” of a building fast and move away from any windows.
The second step is to “stay inside” and head into a basement if you have access to one. If you were outside during the nuclear blast, get clean immediately, removing and bagging all outer clothing to keep radioactive dust or ash away from your body.
The third step is to “stay tuned,” following media for any new information. New Yorkers can sign up for Notify NYC for official alerts and updates at NYC.gov/notifynyc or by calling 311.
Emergency Management didn’t say if any factor in particular prompted the new PSA, but Commissioner Zach Iscol said in a statement, “As the threat landscape continues to evolve, it is important that New Yorkers know we are preparing for any imminent threats and are providing them with the resources they need to stay safe and informed.”
The PSA comes after Russian President Vladimir Putin made unspecific warnings earlier this year about his country’s nuclear arsenal amid deteriorating relations with the West over Moscow’s ongoing war in Ukraine.
Christina Farrell, the first deputy commissioner of Emergency Management, told 1010 WINS that while a nuclear attack is “low probability” it would have “high impact,” so the city wants people feeling confident that they’re ready.
“We know that this material is very serious and can be scary, frankly, but it is very important,” Farrell said. “There is no specific threat at this time.”
Emergency Management has been surveying New Yorkers about what threats they feel most prepared for.
“Understandably, people report that this is an event that they feel the least prepared for,” she said. “I don’t know if there’s ever a great time to put out a nuclear preparedness PSA, but it is very important, and we want New Yorkers to be prepared—so no time like the present.”
Asked if a nuclear attack PSA will only add to New Yorkers’ stress with so much else going on in the city, including a crime spike, high inflation and the COVID-19 pandemic, Farrell said, “We know New Yorkers are resilient. New Yorkers like to get the information straightforward.”
“We know there is so much going on in this city,” she said. “We always strive to focus on the preparedness side here, and we really didn’t want to put this off.”