Executive Order

Executive Order No. 14: Civil Defense Alert System established; Alert System Regulations

Date: 08/28/1951
Issuer: Paul A. Dever
Amended by: Executive Order 24
Revoked by: Executive Order 31

Table of Contents

EXECUTIVE ORDER NO. 14

   WHEREAS, it is necessary to prescribe certain regulations governing the operation of vehicles and the movement of persons during or after an actual or threatened enemy attack; and

   WHEREAS, it is necessary to conduct certain practice alerts for the purpose of training the civil population:

   NOW, THEREFORE, I, Paul A. Dever, Governor of the Commonwealth, acting under the provisions of Acts of 1950, chapter 639, and all other authority vested in me, do hereby issue this order to cope with the existing state of emergency and as part of the comprehensive plan and program for the civil defense of the Commonwealth.

   1.  As used in this order, the following terms shall have the following meanings:

    a.  Red alert signal:  one three-minute blast or a three-minute series of short blasts, sounded by sirens, horns, whistles or similar devices, indicating that an attack can be expected at any moment.

    b.  All-clear signal:  three one-minute blasts sounded at two-minute intervals by sirens, horns, whistles or similar devices, indicating that enemy aircraft are no longer in the area.

    c.  Alert:  the period between the sounding of a red alert signal and the sounding of the following all-clear signal.

    d.  Practice Alert:  an alert, as above defined, conducted under the provisions of section 7 or 8 of this order for the purpose of training the civil population.

   2.  When the red alert signal is sounded, the operators of all vehicles shall immediately reduce speed to not more than fifteen miles per hour, drive to the curb or side of the road at the first opportunity, stop and seek such shelter as may be available.  The operators of such vehicles shall not park at intersections, hydrants, police stations, fire stations, hospitals or other places specified by the State Director.  If practicable, the operators of such vehicles shall drive the same off the traveled portion of the street or way.  Vehicles parked at the curb or in parking places or garages when the red alert signal is sounded, shall not be moved except by order or consent of police or military authorities.

   The provisions of this section shall not apply to vehicles of the armed forces of the United States, National Guard, State Guard or similar military organization should such be formed, police vehicles, fire department vehicles, ambulances and vehicles of the United States Post Office Department.

   3.  When the red alert signal is sounded, all persons on any public or private street or way in the Commonwealth shall seek such shelter as may be available.  No person shall enter, cross or remain upon the traveled portion of any such street or way during an alert except for the purpose of seeking shelter.

   The provisions of this section shall not apply to any properly identified person whose presence on a street or way during an alert is necessary to the preservation of law and order or the public safety or the performance of civil or military defense functions.

   4.  Police and military authorities shall have discretion to permit the operation of any vehicle or the movement of any person during an alert in any case where necessary for the prevention of life or property.

   5.  The State Director is authorized and directed to confer with representatives of the railroad and steamship industries and with such other persons as may be necessary or appropriate, including officers of the United States government, for the purpose of making arrangements regarding the movement of rail and water traffic during an alert or during a practice alert.

   6.  In case of disaster or catastrophe in any part of the Commonwealth, the State Director shall have authority to order any public or private street or way essential to the movement or operation of civil defense or military forces to be closed to public use and travel.  He shall make provision for appropriate notice to the public of such closing of any street or way and shall prescribe rules and regulations to govern the use of any street or way so closed by abutters thereon and such other persons as he may deem proper.

   The term "public use and travel" as used in this section shall not include use and travel by vehicles or personnel of the armed forces of the United States, National Guard, State Guard or similar military organization should such be formed, police or fire department, vehicles of personnel, ambulances and ambulance personnel vehicles or personnel of the United States Post Office Department and civil defense vehicles or personnel.

   Civil defense vehicles shall be identified by a sticker displayed on the windshield in such position as shall be prescribed by the Registrar of Motor Vehicles.  The State Director shall determine the form of such stickers, arrange for their issuance, use and cancellation and make provision for the identification of operators of vehicles displaying such stickers. The issuance of such a sticker and the affixing thereof to any vehicle shall not impose liability on the Commonwealth or any of its political subdivisions for any act or omission of the owner or operator of such vehicle.

   Other civil defense personnel shall be identified as prescribed by the State Director.

   7.  The State Director is authorized and empowered to conduct practice alerts at such times and in such areas within the Commonwealth as he may deem advisable.  The date and time of each such practice alert shall be generally publicized before the scheduled date thereof throughout the area involved.

   8.  The Mayors in cities, or the City Managers in cities having the city manager form of government, and the Selectmen in towns or the Town Managers in towns having the town manager form of government may, at such time or times as may be approved by the State Director and subject to such rules and regulations as may be prescribed by said Director, conduct practice alerts within their respective cities and towns.  The plans and orders for each such practice alert shall be submitted to said Director for his approval, and the date and time
of each such practice alert, as approved by said Director, shall be generally publicized before the scheduled date thereof in the city or town in which it is to take place.

   9.  The regulations set forth in this order governing the operation of vehicles and the movement of persons during an alert shall also be in force during a practice alert conducted under the provisions of section 7 or 8 of this order.

   10.  No person shall wilfully simulate any air raid alarm, warning or signal or wilfully break, injure or remove any mechanical device used for transmission of an air raid alarm, warning or signal and no person shall wilfully give or announce any false air raid alarm, warning or signal.

GIVEN at the Executive Chamber in Boston, this 28th day of August, in the year of our Lord one thousand nine hundred and fifty-one, and of the Independence of the United States of America, the one hundred and seventy-sixth.

By His Excellency the Governor,
PAUL A. DEVER

Contact for No. 14: Civil Defense Alert System established; Alert System Regulations

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