According to Wikipedia:
"Civil defense, civil defence (see spelling differences) or civil protection is an effort to protect the citizens of a state (generally non-combatants) from military attacks and natural disasters. It uses the principles of emergency operations: prevention, mitigation, preparation, response, or emergency evacuation and recovery. Programs of this sort were initially discussed at least as early as the 1920s and were implemented in some countries during the 1930s as the threat of war and aerial bombardment grew. It became widespread after the threat of nuclear weapons was realized.
Since the end of the Cold War, the focus of civil defense has largely shifted from military attack to emergencies and disasters in general. The new concept is described by a number of terms, each of which has its own specific shade of meaning, such as crisis management, emergency management, emergency preparedness, contingency planning, civil contingency, civil aid and civil protection.
In some countries, civil defense is seen as a key part of "total defense". For example, in Sweden, the Swedish word totalförsvar refers to the commitment of a wide range of resources of the nation to its defense - including to civil protection. Respectively, some countries (notably the Soviet Union) may have or have had military-organized civil defense units (Civil Defense Troops) as part of their armed forces or as a paramilitary service.
In the United States, the Office of Civil Defense was established in May 1941 to coordinate civilian defense efforts. It coordinated with the Department of the Army and established similar groups to the British ARP. One of these groups that still exists today is the Civil Air Patrol, which was originally created as a civilian auxiliary to the Army. The CAP was created on December 1, 1941, with the main civil defense mission of search and rescue. The CAP also sank two Axis submarines and provided aerial reconnaissance for Allied and neutral merchant ships. In 1946, the Civil Air Patrol was barred from combat by Public Law 79-476. The CAP then received its current mission: search and rescue for downed aircraft. When the Air Force was created, in 1947, the Civil Air Patrol became the auxiliary of the Air Force.
The Coast Guard Auxiliary performs a similar role in support of the U.S. Coast Guard. Like the Civil Air Patrol, the Coast Guard Auxiliary was established in the run up to World War II. Auxiliarists were sometimes armed during the war, and extensively participated in port security operations. After the war, the Auxiliary shifted its focus to promoting boating safety and assisting the Coast Guard in performing search and rescue and marine safety and environmental protection.
In the United States a federal civil defense program existed under Public Law 920 of the 81st Congress, as amended, from 1951-1994. That statutory scheme was made so-called all-hazards by Public Law 103-160 in 1993 and largely repealed by Public Law 103-337 in 1994. Parts now appear in Title VI of the Robert T. Stafford Disaster Relief and Emergency Assistance Act, Public Law 100-107 [1988 as amended]. The term EMERGENCY PREPAREDNESS was largely codified by that repeal and amendment. See 42 USC Sections 5101 and following."
In 1965, the National School Boards Association (NSBA) published a "Schools Boards Plan for Civil Defense." While the threat was different then, and the report focused on national security and the growing fear of nuclear attack by a foreign power, the fact remains that the NSBA stepped up to face and defend against that threat. Fifty years later, we face a new domestic security threat, namely, school mass violence. We believe it is time, once again, for local school boards to contribute to the solution. You can help us get the attention and interest of the NSBA by tweeting them.