Civilian Defense organizations of the Island responded to their first real call to duty about 1:30 Tuesday afternoon, when air raid signals were sounded the length of the coast, following the report of hostile planes off New York city, a tip which proved unfounded and which some reports say was planned by the government as a test of the air raid facilities of the northeastern coast.
Be that as it may, the Vineyard accepted the challenge of the alarm with fortitude and calm on the part of almost all residents, many of whom believed it to be only a local test of Civilian Defense arrangements. Some posts of duty had been manned on a twenty-four basis immediately after Japan launched its attack, and others were occupied with commendable alacrity upon the sounding of the signal.
There was considerable variation of procedure in the several towns. Points of weakness, which showed up during the practice are expected to be promptly remedied. Many householders said that they did not know what procedure to follow during an air raid and for their instruction and convenience a set of simple and important rules, authorized by General William P. Ennis, Island coordinator of Civilian Defense, is printed in the lead column of this issue of the Gazette.
Some confusion was reported from the use of the short blasts on the fire alarm for the air raid signal, which was confused with a fire alarm signal by many, and the prolonged blast, nerve racking in its intensity and implications, for the all-clear, and it was suggested that the two signals might well be reversed on the Island. It was also brought out that the signal could not be heard in many sections of the towns and that some method would have to be promptly worked out to remedy this situation.
The first practice blackout of the Martha’s Vineyard Hospital was held on Tuesday evening, and went off well, with the prospect that the hospital will be in readiness in any cases of air raid emergency.

Gen. Ennis Offers Reassurance, Asks Public To Be Calm

The official air raid signals on Martha’s Vineyard and for Massachusetts as well, consist in general of a series of short blasts on the fire siren repeated every three seconds for two minutes. In the up-Island towns the equivalent of this signal is sounded by cars driven through the streets or roads, and by telephone. The signal may also be repeated by cars in the other towns.
Due to some differences in the fire siren system, the air raid alarm may sound somewhat different in the various towns. In Vineyard Haven and Edgartown the alarm should consist of about forty blasts over the two minute period. In Oak Bluffs the siren and fog horn blow together in quick, undulating blasts.
The all-clear signal in Vineyard Haven is the usual all-out fire signal. The standard signal of a prolonged, slow blast is used in the other towns.
The established air raid signals will not be sounded for rehearsals. If you hear the alarm it is to be taken as the real thing.

Instructions for the Public

General William P. Ennis, Civilian Defense chief for the entire Island, has approved these directions for the conduct of the public when the alarm sounds.
Above all, keep calm. Don’t create panic.
Get off the streets but don’t run – walk.
If within five minutes of home go there. If at home stay there. Home is the safest place. Don’t mingle with crowds.
If more than five minutes from home seek shelter in center portions of nearest buildings. Stay away from windows and outside walls.
Motorists should park cars and seek shelter. If the alarm sounds at night, motorists are to turn out all lights and stop at the side of the road until all trucks, ambulances and other emergency vehicles have passed. They may then proceed without lights.
Avoid use of telephone.
Put out all lights. A complete black-out and for the protection of neighboring towns. Airplane pilots check their position by identifying towns over which they fly.


In Case of a Raid

Shut of gas and ranges, heaters and furnaces. Turn off pilot lights.
Fill bathtub and buckets for use of firemen in case of need.
Keep radio turned on. Leave at least one window open. Go to room with fewest windows and lie down.
If incendiary bombs fall, spray water on them. Never use splash or stream of water as the bomb will explode. Bomb will burn fifteen minutes if left alone, only two minutes if sprayed. Do not use a chemical fire extinguisher on bombs.
Carry out all orders given by wardens, quickly and exactly.
Above all, keep calm.
The duties of civilians are as vital to the country’s welfare as are those of the armed forces. Don’t get excited. Calm, careful action is necessary. Pay no attention to rumors.


Do Not Be Afraid

General Ennis authorizes this statement: “If the people of the Island will play the game – obey the orders of wardens and assist in every way to protect themselves in regard to fire protection and first aid work, casualties on Martha’s Vineyard are never going to be very extensive. If they do not obey the rules they are making trouble for themselves and for neighboring towns. If they do not obey the rules they are making trouble for themselves and for neighboring towns.
“I do not believe any enemy would attack Martha’s Vineyard as a major objective. Where we might suffer is from planes or groups of planes driven away from mainland centers without being able to drop bombs on their objectives. In all cases of this kind we would have ample warning, as a considerable time would elapse between the alarm and any such occurrence.
“I cannot visualize any enemy making a landing on Martha’s Vineyard either from the air or the sea, as it would be of no assistance to them in any operation on the mainland.
“Obey the orders of chief wardens and you will reduce accidents or casualties to a minimum.”


How the Defense System Works

An Island report center is maintained in the Civilian Defense office in Association Hall, Vineyard Haven. Information for the whole Island is cleared through this center.
Twenty-four hour duty is required for one man in the defense offices of Vineyard Haven, Oak Bluffs and Edgartown at all times, this providing for prompt reports and alarms.
When the alarm sounds, the following representatives report to their center: chief warden, medical advisor, engineering, police, fire and utility representatives. These representatives give necessary directions for meeting each particular emergency.
Each town has a first aid center, and the medical representative decides whether any injury should be treated locally or at the hospital. Unnecessary congestion at the hospital will be avoided in this way.
At the request of the governor, Island air fields are guarded. Municipalities are to protect the waterworks, and the public utility systems.
General Ennis recommends that street lights be extinguished at 11 o’clock as a regular procedure.

Editorial: Don’t Worry!

A word should be said immediately to reassure those on Martha’s Vineyard who ate frightened by rumor and by expectations of disaster. The complete preparations made by the Civilian Defense organization are to provide for all contingencies, unlikely as well as likely, for to go ahead on any other basis would be no real preparation at all. To dwell too much on the unlikely contingencies may produce a harmful state of mind, and it should be understood clearly that the jitters on Martha’s Vineyard are uncalled for. Nervousness is foolish and unnecessary.
General William P. Ennis, whose statement appears in this issue of the Gazette, says plainly and clearly that he cannot visualize any enemy making a landing here by air or sea, because such a landing would have no military value. He sees any air damage on the Island as likely to occur only through such a contingency as that in which enemy planes, driven from the mainland, might drop their bomb loads before going out to sea. Such an occurrence would be the result of circumstances rather than deliberation, and General Ennis points out that ample warning would be given in any such case.
The important thing is to be familiar with the procedure required in emergencies, and to obey orders and rules quickly and implicitly. If you know what is expected of you and are ready to follow instructions, there is no occasion for anxiety.
Most of the fears of the past few days have been the result of absurd rumors, such as the story that the Japanese insignia was seen on a plane over the Island. Don’t believe such rumors. Act only on reliable information, and the rest of the time live normally and usefully. Moreover, don’t start or spread spy stories about your neighbors. The authors of scandalous reports should be made answerable in court.
Anyone who feels jittery on Martha’s Vineyard should think of the calmness and normal life of English towns, and the thought will make them ashamed of their fears. It is foolish to be unprepared, but, being prepared, it is foolish to be apprehensive about our chances and prospects which are certainly to be envied by most places on the face of the warring globe.