NYC Made A PSA For A Nuclear Attack That Left Everyone Puzzled

Still from nuclear preparedness PSA
youtube | NYC Emergency Management

It's always good to be aware of the threats that we could face. But is there a line between encouraging people to stay vigilant and driving them into an all-out panic?

This question is debatable, but a strange public service announcement (PSA) issued by New York City's official emergency management agency has gotten people more than a little bit freaked out.

This is the YouTube page for NYC Emergency Management.

Page showing YouTube videos from NYC Emergency Management
youtube | NYC Emergency Management

It seems straightforward enough. The videos on the page mostly deal with stuff that's relatively predictable for New Yorkers: hurricanes, heat waves, and so on. They're done in multiple languages, which is a nice touch for a multicultural city.

They're going all-in on the nuclear attack preparedness.

Vintage 'Survival under nuclear attack' booklet
Wikimedia Commons | U.S. Government

This was a common thing way back in the day (just ask your grandparents). But ever since the end of the Cold War, there hasn't been much public safety messaging that deals with the possibility of a nuclear attack.

Nevertheless, the agency released a nuclear preparedness PSA.

New York brownstones
youtube | NYC Emergency Management

It starts with a long shot of a typical New York cityscape, featuring some iconic brownstone walk-ups. But there are no people on the street. Things feel eerie. It's like the opening scene from a zombie apocalypse movie.

The host introduces the stakes.

Still from nuclear preparedness PSA
youtube | NYC Emergency Management

Walking casually down the street, the video's host greets you with, "So there's been a nuclear attack."

Well, that isn't particularly comforting, but it certainly grabbed my attention. There's no way I'm skipping through this video, so let's hear what she has to say.

Sounds like if a bomb gets dropped, you should head inside.

Still from nuclear preparedness PSA
youtube | NYC Emergency Management

The video host takes her own advice and swiftly walks off the screen. For what it's worth, it's good advice to get inside and away from windows in the event of a nuclear emergency.

She gives viewers a handy list of pointers.

Still from nuclear preparedness PSA
youtube | NYC Emergency Management

There's some nuance, but it amounts to "get inside at all costs and try to find a radio that hasn't been destroyed by radioactive fallout." Of course, since this is the 21st century, the video pleads with viewers to sign up for their mailing list.

"You've got this."

Still from nuclear preparedness PSA
youtube | NYC Emergency Management

The video ends on what it probably sees as a reassuring note. But after being surprised with the news that New York is under nuclear attack, it's hard to feel like we've got this. In fact, I don't even know what's going on.

It rubbed a lot of people the wrong way.

Somehow, there's something ominous about one of the world's biggest cities randomly dropping a video about surviving nuclear attacks.

For what it's worth, New York mayor Eric Holder said that the video could apply to other natural disasters as well. "We always have to be prepared as New Yorkers," he said.

Is New York about to be nuked?

Mushroom cloud from Operation Crossroads Baker nuclear test
Wikimedia Commons | United States Department of Defense (either the U.S. Army or the U.S. Navy)

Well, there are more than 13,000 nuclear warheads in the world at this very moment. It might sound alarming, but we haven't seen a nuclear attack since 1945. Most countries with nuclear weapons understand that it's a zero-sum game, and nuclear war isn't worth it for anybody. It's what kept a fragile peace throughout the Cold War.

So no, it seems unlikely that New York is going to be nuked. But if it is, there's a video specifically for New Yorkers.

You can watch the video here.

If you live in New York (or anywhere, really), this might fill you with a creeping sense of dread. But maybe that's just the price we pay for nuclear preparedness.

Let us know your thoughts on this story in the comments section.