A Brief History of the Cedarburg Emergency Management Organization
In the 1980s the Federal Government changed the Civil Defense name to Emergency Government. They currently handle traffic and crowd control at parades, runs, fires, and major accidents.
Emergency Government began during the height of the cold war and was called “Civil Defense.” All the training was directed toward “Cold War” activities such as radiological monitoring, bomb shelters, and shelter management, communication, first aid, etc. Cedarburg also had an organization called Auxiliary Police which handled Friday night shopping traffic in downtown Cedarburg and worked high school athletic events. Members were taken from the “Civil Defense” unit and trained to assist the regular police. In the 1970s these two units were combined as the Civil Defense Auxiliary Police. In the 1980s the Federal Government changed the Civil Defense name to Emergency Government. They currently handle traffic and crowd control at parades, runs, fires, and major accidents. A mobile command center and mobile communication center are used to coordinate the emergency service in the County in case of a major disaster. Some of you may remember the “block wardens” of WWII. Each went around a designated area of the city and made sure there were no outside lights on and all window shades were pulled, and streetlights were out at night so aircraft would not know there was a city down here.
After WW II this organization was disbanded. In the 50’s when the “Cold War” heated up and “Home Front” security and protection was felt to be needed “Civil Defense” was started by the federal government. Cedarburg’s was organized in 1955. It started with organizing home and public shelters, training in shelter management, first, aid, bomb and large ammo identification detection, self-defense and crowd control. The uniform was medium gray, with army helmet liners painted white. Some years later Cedarburg also started an “Auxiliary Police” unit. These people were drawn from the Civil Defense and were used for traffic control on “Friday shopping nights” at various intersections of the downtown area, also at athletic events and other public gatherings. In the late 60’s or early 70’s these 2 units were combined as Cedarburg Emergency Government/Auxiliary Police. Our duties were combined and uniforms changed to “police type” and because of insurance liabilities some used army vehicles were purchased and converted for our use. As the cold war down graded duties changed for our organization. Shelters were deemed unnecessary, the first aid training time greatly increased as did the staff of the rescue squad, so we dropped the training. Emergency operation centers became the necessary place to operate from, and our duties changed to severe weather watches, traffic and crowd control, at certain events which include all parades, 5k runs, Maxwell Street Days, assisting the Police Department with searches and traffic and crown control at fires and accidents.