In honour of the Diefenbunker’s 25 anniversary, we continue to highlight 25 artifacts from within our collections. This week, we are featuring the Department of National Health and Welfare’s civil defence first-aid station log, from 1966. Acquired by the museum in 2019, this “Admission and Discharge Book” is an example of what would have likely been used by medical professionals in the Diefenbunker’s Medical Centre, a space designed to handle medical emergencies during the Cold War. Medical staff could have recorded an injury or illness sustained by an individual stationed at the bunker.
This “Admission and Discharge Book” is a white rectangular soft-covered paperback book that has a solid yellow square in the centre of the front cover. Within this yellow square, positioned at the top, is the Civil Defence logo. Each page of the book contains one log sheet with carbon paper behind it to make both a yellow and pink slip copy of the record information. The “Admission and Discharge Book” would have contained personal identification details of the patient, their respective diagnoses and treatments, as well as the time that this information was recorded.
The “Admission and Discharge Book” is one component of a standard Clinical Laboratory Kit, which is similar to what would have been found in the Diefenbunker’s Medical Center. The “Admission and Discharge Book” was included in a donation to the Diefenbunker of surplus items from the National Emergency Strategic Stockpile (NESS). NESS was, and continues to be, a stockpile containing medical assets managed by the Public Health Agency of Canada. The purpose of NESS, originally created in 1951 in response to the growing concerns of the Cold War, was to provide provinces and territories with medical supplies in order to protect Canadians in the event of an emergency.
Stay tuned as we continue to celebrate our 25th anniversary by uncovering stories from our museum’s collections.