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Nuclear Preparedness

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If you live within close radius to a nuclear power plant, it’s important that you’re prepared in the unlikely case of an emergency. Although nuclear plants have been shown to release minimal radiation when operating normally, they do pose the risk of releasing harmful amounts of radiation in the case of a malfunction, which can cause sickness in humans who happen to be in the proximity at the time. All power plants are required to have a prompt Alert and Notification System (ANS) in place to warn the public to take protective actions in the case of an incident. Here are some tips for nuclear preparedness if you find yourself in the middle of a nuclear power plant emergency.

  1. Minimize your exposure. One of the primary keys to nuclear preparedness is to minimize how much you are exposed to any radiation in the environment. The more distance you are able to put between yourself and the source of the radiation leak, the better. Remember, most radioactivity loses its strength fairly quickly, so time is on your side. Follow evacuation orders if given, or remain inside.
  2. Follow instructions carefully. Once you’re aware that an emergency is taking place, it’s critical that you stay tuned so you can listen to and follow all instructions given by authorities. In the case of power failure, a battery-powered radio can be extremely helpful. If you are instructed to evacuate, do so immediately, but be sure to keep car windows and vent closed, and use the recirculating air function if it’s an option.
  3. Isolate yourself indoors. If you’ve been instructed to remain indoors, then do your best to ensure that your home is as airtight as possible. Turn off any air conditioning, ventilation fans, and furnaces, so no air is being drawn into the home, and avoid using the telephone except in the case of an emergency. If you have a basement or underground storage space, seek shelter there.
  4. Clean yourself up. If you were outside when the alert occurred or for some reason feel you’ve been exposed, then there are certain things you can do to minimize any damage to your health. Remove any clothes immediately and put them in a sealable plastic bag (which should be stored away from you and your family). Then take a thorough shower, washing all body parts.
  5. Store your food properly. Even though it’s indoors, food should be stored in covered containers, preferably in the refrigerator. If you had food previously sitting out, it either needs to be washed thoroughly or disposed of.

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