Murphy's Law: Civil Defense Illusions


October 23,2008:  Twelve years ago, Israel decided to upgrade its civil defense arrangements. They passed a law mandating that new houses have at least one "bomb proof" safe room, to be used as a shelter during rocket attacks. But most builders have ignored the law. It's expensive. To add such a room to existing houses would cost about $25,000 per home. But many Israelis have designated one room in the house as the "safe room", and perhaps reinforced it a bit, and stored emergency supplies there.

Since 1990, Israeli civilians have had gas masks for protection against chemical attack by Iraqi missiles. Four years ago, those gas masks were collected, checked, refurbished as needed and stored in army warehouses. The government felt that, with Saddam Hussein out of power, there was no other potential source of chemical attack, so no need to maintain the gas masks in the hands of the civilian population. But now Syria seems more of a threat. The refurbishment of the millions of gas masks was recently completed, and the danger of war with Syria (which has chemical warheads for its missiles) has led the government to distribute the gas masks once more. But then politics and fussy bureaucrats intervened. Although the masks were to be distributed in January, a budget dispute between the Defense and Treasury officials, the money to hire a contractor to actually distribute the masks got lost in the shuffle. So everyone is hoping the Syrians will delay any chemical attacks until later in 2009, so that the money can be found to get the gas masks distributed to potential poison gas victims. It's unclear if the Foreign Ministry has been alerted to the need to deal with the diplomatic aspects of this.


Article Archive

Murphy's Law: Current 2021 2020 2019 2018 2017 2016 2015 2014 2013 2012 2011 2010 2009 2008 2007 2006 2005 2004 2003 2002 2001 2000 1999 



Help Keep Us Soaring

We need your help! Our subscription base has slowly been dwindling. We need your help in reversing that trend. We would like to add 20 new subscribers this month.

Each month we count on your subscriptions or contributions. You can support us in the following ways:

  1. Make sure you spread the word about us. Two ways to do that are to like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter.
  2. Subscribe to our daily newsletter. We’ll send the news to your email box, and you don’t have to come to the site unless you want to read columns or see photos.
  3. You can contribute to the health of StrategyPage. A contribution is not a donation that you can deduct at tax time, but a form of crowdfunding. We store none of your information when you contribute..
Subscribe   Contribute   Close