Nuclear Meltdowns

How to prepare for nuclear powerplant emergencies:

Terms used to describe types of nuclear emergencies:

  • Notification of unusual event – This simply means a minor issue has occurred. There is no radiation leak that’s expected. Officials will be notified ASAP and will work on fixing it. There is no cause for alarm in this case.
  • Alert – This means a small problem has occurred and small amounts of radiation could leak inside the plant. Similar to the notification of unusual event, there is no risk to yourself.
  • Site Emergency Area – This is a more serious problem, and small amounts of radiation could leak from the site. You may hear sirens when this occurs. Get safety information from your radio or television.
  • General Emergency – This is the worst-case scenario. Radiation could leak outside the plant and outside the plant site. You may hear sirens. In this case, you will want to be prepared to evacuate if needed. Keep your lines of communication open to stay updated on the current situation.

What to Do in a Nuclear Power Plant Emergency:

  1. Do not panic. Be sure to obtain as much information about the issue at the site as possible before executing a survival plan.
  2. Keep all lines of communication open and stay tuned to TV stations and/or local radio stations. The advice will vary depending on the nature of emergency and how much radiation is likely to be released. Be sure to follow any instructions you receive from your local authorities regarding the next steps to take
  3. Only evacuate if advised to do so or the area you’re in become dangerous. Follow these steps when evacuating:
    1. Close and lock all doors in your home
    2. Keep car windows and vents closed, use recirculating air in your car.
    3. Listen to the radio for evacuation routes and other instructions
  4. If you are not ordered to evacuate, remain indoors. Remember, staying indoors will shield you from radiation, to a certain extent.
    1. Close all doors and windows
    2. Disable air conditioning, fans, furnace, and other ways that air can enter your home
    3. If you have a basement, go into it.
    4. Keep a battery-powered radio with you
    5. If you have to go outdoors, cover your face with a handkerchief. Once you return, remove all clothes you’re wearing and take a shower to limit radiation exposure
  5. Do not make calls unless absolutely necessary, as the phone lines will be needed for emergency calls