§ The UNDER-SECRETARY of STATE for the HOME DEPARTMENT (Mr. Geoffrey Lloyd)
Local authorities are now actively engaged in preparing schemes of air raid precautions. All local authorities were asked to co-operate with the Government in this matter and all but a very few are doing so. Progress is very satisfactory.
§ Mr. THORNE
Is there any need of this in view of the tranquillity among all States at the present time?
§ Mr. SANDYS
Is my hon. Friend now in a position to tell us what progress is being made in providing instruction for medical practitioners in giving first aid to gas cases?
What steps are being taken by the Government to reimburse local authorities for the expenses involved?
§ 18. Mr. SHINWELL
asked the Home Secretary the number of gas masks it is intended to purchase for the use of the civilian population; how many are already available; the names of the gases with which these protective devices have been tested; whether the local authorities are in possession of all necessary information in respect of the precautions which may require to be taken in the event of an air raid in which gases are used; and whether the gas masks are all of British manufacture?
§ Mr. LLOYD
As was explained in answer to a question by the hon. Member for Henley (Sir G. Fox) on 8th April last, the final design of the respirator intended for use by the civil population has not yet been settled. The number of respirators to be made will depend on a variety of circumstances, but, hi any event, it is not anticipated that less than 30,000,000 will be produced. The respirator is designed to give protection against any probable concentration of any type of poison gas which might be met in time of war, but it would not be in the public interest to state the names of the gases against which it is being tested. Local authorities have received a certain amount of information on the precautions which are required against poison gas, and further memoranda on the subject are in course of preparation and will be available shortly. In regard to the last part of the question, any respirators made for the Government, or approved by them, will be of British manufacture.
§ Mr. SHINWELL
How is it possible to determine whether the precautions are satisfactory unless we know the names of the gases?
§ Mr. LLOYD
I understand that the hon. Gentleman is really concerned as to whether these respirators are satisfactory or not in the case of certain unknown gases, or gases which he thinks may be unknown to the Government. If the hon. Gentleman will give me the names of any of the gases which he has in mind, I will see that a special test is made.
§ Mr. PETHERICK
Will the number of respirators be sufficient for the use of the civilian population in those areas in which local authorities either unpatriotically or foolishly refuse to cooperate?