Air Raid Preparation

How Spokane Protected Citizens During World War Two

During World War Two the United States took measures to ensure civilian safety, which included the creation of the Office of Civilian Defense. The Spokane Office of Civilian Defense helped protect civilians in case of attack and kept up support for the war.

During World War Two there were air raid sirens throughout Spokane including one here on the South Hill. The Japanese surprise attack on Pearl Harbor and lightning advance across the Pacific in the early days of the war spooked many Americans. They thought that Japanese air raids in the Pacific Northwest were a real possibility. Blackout drills and practice air raids became a part of Spokane's wartime life. To organize these measures the Office of Civilian Defense was created.

The Spokane Office of Civilian Defense was in the city hall at the time. They did a variety of things for Spokane residents during World War Two, including helping control rationing and providing safety information. For air raid preparation, they distributed gas masks and created the volunteer position of air raid warden to help civilians in the event of an aerial attack. There were about 6,000 air raid wardens in Spokane during World War Two, and they all had a small area in their neighborhood which they were in charge of. Wardens would help residents prepare for a possible air raid by providing them with advice and supplies.

In addition to safety, The Office of Civilian Defense worked hard to maintain morale and support for the war. The Office of Civilian Defense used advertisements in the Spokesman-Review and other newspapers to reassure citizens that Spokane was prepared for danger, and encouraged citizens to join different war organizations and to donate money or supplies to different war-related causes.