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Dean Landis of Law School Local Civilian Defense Head

Elaborate System of Fire Fighters, Observers Set Up


As waves of "attacking" bombers swept over New England yesterday the whole system of civilian air raid spotters was thrown into action and the result of months of training and planning was put to a real test.

The man behind the whole organization and in great part responsible for the defense of New England in peace manoeuvers or wartime is Dean Landis of the Law School, who took over the job of Director of Civilian Defense four months age.

Although the idea of a foreign power bombing New England seems fantastic to most people in this country, the Government is preparing for such an attack and last June appointed Dean Landis to do the preparing in New England.

Over a hundred observation points, one for every 32 square miles of territory, have been act up, and the problem confronting Landis was to man each post with trained volunteers from civilian ranks and provide for the safety of the millions of people in the eastern area.

Possible air raid shelters have been located and each city block has been mapped out. Volunteer fire fighters are on call at all times and the efficiency of the organization was shown two weeks ago when 500 men turned up within 20 minutes at the large fire in Charlestown. Plans for mass evacuations from cities, one of the toughest problems in the defense pattern, and blackouts of large areas present a gigantic task for Dean Landis and his associates.

The most spectacular phase of the job, however, is the complicated system of posts with flashing red, green, and white lights that would drive the ignorant crazy, but which tell the central offices and other posts where the attacking planes are, how many, and from what direction they are coming. This information is quickly relayed to the Army at Mitchell Field and the enemy is intercepted before reaching its objective.

The system put into effect this sum- mer by Landis is modeled after the British chain of posts that have proved so valuable in warding off Nazi bombers during the past year.

Yet the men who man the lines at the other end and relay the Information from the Maine woods to Boston have to be dissevered, trained and tried before the system will work

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