I Will Never Forget… Earl Emerson Ferry

Earl Emerson Ferry and the Department of Civil Defense

The Office of Civilian Defense was established May 20, 1941 by President Roosevelt to be prepared to protect civilians should the U.S. become involved in the war overseas. When Pearl Harbor was attacked on December 7, 1941, the Office of Civilian Defense was well positioned to step up its activities for war time.

The Office of Civil Defense served many functions on the home front:

  • Organized air raid drills, evacuation drills, and black outs.
  • Ran health programs which provided health education and services.
  • Organized blood and plasma donation drives.
  • Provided emergency response equipment, such as gas masks, fire blankets, and water pumps.

The helmet and pump seen here was owned and used by Earl Emerson Ferry of Pittsfield, MA.  Mr. Ferry served as Chief Civilian Defense Warden for his neighborhood district.

The water pump is an early version of modern fire extinguishers and bears the Civilian Defense insignia. The white helmet was worn by all Civilian Defense volunteers.

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