An Air Raid Precautions (ARP) warden wore this helmet during World
War II, when Britain was bombed by the German Air Force. The heavy,
steel helmet protected the head from falling bricks and debris.
And, in a bomb blast, it protected the warden from flying rubble
Air Raid Precautions prepared and protected civilians from German
air raids. ARP included setting up shelters, information on
what to do in an air raid, and providing equipment, such as gas
masks, for use during an attack.
ARP wardens were volunteers. They took charge during air
raids, shepherding people into the shelters, helping casualties,
and dealing with any problems. They had to put out fires and rescue
people from the rubble of their homes. They also patrolled the
streets at night, making sure that house lights could not be seen.
The 'blackout' was to prevent any lights attracting the German
The warden's helmet is black, and was worn with dark coloured
clothes. A large W helped people recognise the warden during air
raids, or when he or she went from house to house, checking lights,
counting the number of people, and making sure that there was a
safe room and fire bucket in each house.
The sign has 'Alert' in red on one side and 'All
Clear' in green on the other. The ARP warden used it in an air
raid to warn people when an attack was in progress and to let them
know when it was over. As well as signs, there were audible
signals. Hooters and sirens sounded the 'alert' at the beginning of
an air raid and the 'all clear' at the end.
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