By Dr. Patrick Owens, Picatinny historianSeptember 26, 2008
PICATINNY ARSENAL, N.J. -- September is National Preparedness Month.
Picatinnyans find nothing novel in preparing for disaster nor have they necessarily limited it to any specific month. Here is a photo dated Oct. 21, 1952, which shows employees who staffed the communications center during a New Jersey-wide air raid drill as part of a First Army exercise code named Watchdog. The location is probably the basement of building 173, which was then home to the Picatinny Police Department and the telephone exchange.
This was the installation's second such drill during the year. The first ran from April 27 to May 2.
These were the first statewide exercises since World War II, but Picatinny had held drills on its own, including one by the Picatinny Transportation Department on March 8, which put the arsenal in a better state of readiness for the later ones.
Activities during the drill included shutting down all but critical operations, preparing the post infirmary to receive casualties, and distributing firefighting equipment according to previously prepared plans.