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Cold War survival workshop for schools (26th September 2011)

A new and innovative workshop aimed at teaching Key Stage 3 and 4 school children the basic protect and survival techniques used by homeowners during the Cold War has just been launched at the Royal Air Force Museum Cosford. Based on the Civil Defence Handbook ‘Protect and Survive’, distributed to all homes as the threat of nuclear attacks rose during the Cold War period, the workshop will examine what you could do to protect yourself, your family and your home under an attack.

The workshop will cover the basic facts of what happens when a H-bomb explodes and the harmful effects the heat, blast and fall-out (radioactive dust) could cause.   Learners will begin to understand the extent of devastation a nuclear warhead would have caused by plotting the fall-out zones on locations around the UK.

During this practical workshop, learners will look at how to build a fall-out room in the home, a ‘safe’ place for the family to shelter from the radioactive debris.  Working in teams, each group will have the opportunity to construct their own fall-out shelter and select from a variety of items, which ones would be essential to a 14 day survival period.

The learners will also examine the equipment the Royal Air Force were issued during this period, which enabled them to continue their roles.  Learners will try on the equipment and carry out a mini task to understand how difficult it would be to work in Nuclear, Biological and Chemical (NBC) suits.

Julie Brierley, Education Assistant says:
“This workshop will help the children’s understanding of how effective the government information leaflets would have been and to see the difficulties the RAF would have encountered.”

Any schools interested in the ‘Protect and Survive Workshop’ should contact the Museum’s Access and Learning Department on 01902 376242 or email

The Museum is open daily from 10am to 6pm (last admission 5pm).  Entry to the Museum is free of charge.  For more information, please visit the Museum website