civil defense


Definition of civil defense 

: the system of protective measures and emergency relief activities conducted by civilians in case of hostile attack, sabotage, or natural disaster

Examples of civil defense in a Sentence

She's in training to be part of the local civil defense. the head of civil defense

Recent Examples on the Web

Iraq's civil defense force was able to contain the fire and stop it from spreading to the main warehouse housing the majority of the ballots, according to General Saad Maan, spokesman for Iraq's Interior Ministry. Marilia Brocchetto, CNN, "Fire breaks out at Baghdad warehouse storing ballot boxes for Iraq's election recount," 10 June 2018 Normally the siren was set off by remote control from Los Angeles via radio impulse at 10 a.m. on the last Friday of every month during the Cold War era as a test of the countywide civil defense warning system. Carol Cormaci,, "La Cañada History: Sun owner pays annual summer tribute to blossoming yuccas by featuring them on cover," 11 June 2018 First responders — police, fire, civil defense and the National Guard — are focused on evacuations and keeping residents safe. New York Times, "Hawaii Rep. Tulsi Gabbard Wants Tourists to Stay Away from Volcano," 5 June 2018 Hawaii County civil defense officials said two new fissures opened overnight, bringing the total to nine that opened in the neighborhood since Thursday. CBS News, "Hawaii's Kilauea volcano eruption destroys at least 26 homes," 6 May 2018 But the church’s plans to build a community for Haitians hit a roadblock when civil defense officials said there was a flood risk and barred further construction. Washington Post, "Tijuana’s ‘Little Haiti’ stalled but migrants planting roots," 11 June 2018 But the church's plans to build a community for Haitians hit a roadblock when civil defense officials said there was a flood risk and barred further construction. Nancy Moya, Fox News, "Tijuana's 'Little Haiti' stalled but migrants planting roots," 11 June 2018 The latest eruption happened Tuesday, Hawaii County's civil defense agency said, spewing toxic gas. Faith Karimi And Holly Yan, CNN, "Hawaii volcano's 3 weeks of hot lava and toxic air -- with no end in sight," 23 May 2018 Hawaii County civil defense officials say lava from an active fissure has destroyed an old warehouse that was used in early research and development at the Puna Geothermal plant. Fox News, "The Latest: Lava destroys warehouse at power plant site," 22 May 2018

These example sentences are selected automatically from various online news sources to reflect current usage of the word 'civil defense.' Views expressed in the examples do not represent the opinion of Merriam-Webster or its editors. Send us feedback.

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First Known Use of civil defense

1939, in the meaning defined above

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Statistics for civil defense

Last Updated

20 Oct 2018

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The first known use of civil defense was in 1939

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civil defense


English Language Learners Definition of civil defense

: a group of people who are not part of the military but are trained to protect and help people if an enemy attacks their country or if there is a natural disaster (such as a flood or earthquake)

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