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New York put out a PSA in case of a nuclear attack, leaving many residents confused

A nuclear attack has not hit New York, but the city's emergency management department wants residents to be prepared if one does occur.

The department released a short video titled "Nuclear Preparedness PSA" on Monday, but not much else was shared other than "NYC Emergency Management shares important steps for New Yorkers to follow if a nuclear attack occurs," in the caption.

The video, which has been viewed more than 500,000 times, opens with a narrator saying, "So there's been a nuclear attack. Don't ask me how or why, just know that the big one has hit. Ok? So, what do we do?"

The three big steps of action for what to do in the event of a nuclear attack include getting inside, staying inside and then staying tuned to the media for more information and signing up for text alerts from the city. Residents are also urged to move to the interior of the buildings, away from windows and doors that they should close.

The announcement — without much else to go on — left many in the city and elsewhere wondering what was going on and if they had missed a warning or something else related to the video. But the announcement "was not in response to any specific threat," the Defcon Warning System, which describes itself as a private intelligence organization that focuses on the threat of nuclear war,said on Twitter.

Despite the confusion, New York Mayor Eric Adams said he approved of what the office of emergency management did, and that it was all about "preparedness" and "taking necessary steps after what happened in Ukraine."

"No, I don't think it was alarmist," Adams said at a news conference on Tuesday. "I'm a big believer in better safe than sorry ... this was right after the attacks in the Ukraine and OEM took a very proactive step to say let's be prepared."

"It doesn't mean just a nuclear attack, it's any natural disaster. Pack a bag, know where your medicines are located. These are just smart things to do," the mayor said.

Adams added that this was just one of many emergency preparedness announcements in the works, including some for the hurricane season that started last month.

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Wynne Davis is a digital reporter and producer for NPR's All Things Considered.