Loomis Dean (1917-2005), [Scorched male mannequin clad in dark business suit standing in desert 7,000 ft. from the 44th nuclear test explosion, a day after the blast, indicating that humans could be burnt but still alive, Yucca Flat, Nevada], May, 1955 (1995.2005)
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), in Atlanta, Georgia, are offering a presentation on January 16th called: “Public Health Response to a Nuclear Detonation.” The CDC writes on their website: “While a nuclear detonation is unlikely, it would have devastating results and there would be limited time to take critical protection steps. Despite the fear surrounding such an event, planning and preparation can lessen deaths and illness. For instance, most people don’t realize that sheltering in place for at least 24 hours is crucial to saving lives and reducing exposure to radiation. While federal, state, and local agencies will lead the immediate response efforts, public health will play a key role in responding.” Nuclear war is being normalized. The horrors of a nuclear bomb detonation are unimaginable. On August 6, 1945, the United States detonated an atomic bomb over Hiroshima. The blast destroyed about 70 percent of the city and caused the deaths of more than 140,000 people.
Between 1945 and 1992 the United States conducted approximately 1,054 nuclear tests, many in Nevada. Loomis Dean’s photos were made in May, 1955, in what was called Yucca Flat, Nevada, also known as Area 1, in the Nevada National Security Site. (The Nevada National Security Site website.) Dean’s photos document Operation Teapot. Mannequins, wearing different fabrics and colors were situated at various distances from (and facing) the bomb blast. On May 5, 1955, the explosion, named Apple-2, “was intended to test various building construction types in a nuclear blast. An assortment of buildings, including residential houses and electrical substations, were constructed at the site nicknamed ‘Survival Town.’ The buildings were populated with mannequins, and stocked with different types of canned and packaged foods. Not all of the buildings were destroyed in the blast, and some of them still stand at Area 1, Nevada Test Site. A short film about the blast, referred to as ‘Operation Cue,’ was distributed by the Federal Civil Defense Administration.” (Operation Teapot). The mannequins, representing “Mr. and Mrs. America,” in Loomis Dean’s photos appear in “Operation Cue,” at both the 7:47 and 13:30 marks. (“Do you remember this young lady? This tattoo mark was left beneath the dark pattern. And this young man. This is how the blast charred and faded the outer layer of his new dark suit…” That’s Life:
Life, May 16, 1955, p. 58
VICTIMS AT YUCCA FLAT
Mannequins show varied effects of atomic blast
A day after the 44th nuclear test explosion in the U.S. rent the still Nevada air last week, observers cautiously inspected department store mannequins which were poised disheveled but still haughty on the sands and in the homes of Yucca Flat. The figures were residents of an entire million-dollar village built to test the effects of an atomic blast on everything from houses to clothes to canned soup.
The condition of the figures – one charred, another only scorched, another almost untouched – showed that the blast, equivalent to 35,000 tons of TNT, was discriminating in its effects. As one phase of the atomic test, the village and figures help guide civil defense planning – and make clear that even amid atomic holocaust careful planning could save lives.
Operation Cue (1955), by United States Federal Civil Defense Administration, from archive.org.