Unlocking North Vancouver History

A Riveted Community: North Vancouver’s Wartime Shipbuilding

Air Raid Precautions – Protect Yourself Against Poison Gas

North Vancouver’s residents were well aware that the shipyards were an ideal target of possible enemy attack. In response, they participated in Air Raid Precautions (ARP) training to make up a civil defence team. Its mandate was to protect life and property before, during and after an air raid, and to ensure uninterrupted production, as much as possible, regardless of enemy action. Volunteers of all ages learned skills such as first aid and firefighting. Publications urged citizens to be constantly on guard, often referring to the attack on Pearl Harbor, a place that was “caught napping.” The community conducted blackout trials and people built and stocked basement shelters. The public was asked to procure — at the government’s expense — stirrup pumps, sandboxes and a metal shovel for dealing with incendiary bombs. Most of this equipment was never needed; people mainly used the pumps to spray fruit trees in their gardens.

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This Air Raid Precautions (ARP) booklet was produced for British citizens and used by the Canadian Civil Defence Committee as a template for Canadian ARP instructions.

The booklets were used in homes and by community-based ARP groups. Content included tips for blacking out a home, preparing for an air raid and dealing with bombs.

ARP booklets were produced when governments recognized that World War II would be fought in the air as well as at sea and on battlefields.

Ernest N. Copping, a North Vancouver businessman and civil defence co-ordinator, owned and signed this copy.

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