LISBON — Residents of Columbiana County within a 10-mile radius of the Beaver Valley Nuclear Generating Station can rest assured that local emergency responders know what to do if something goes wrong.
They passed a recent test of their abilities with flying colors in the biennial exercise for a mock incident at the power plant held last week. The drill took place at the County Emergency Management Agency‘s Emergency Operations Center, as well as other locations around the county.
“The State of Ohio and Columbiana County during the week of the assessed exercise demonstrated that appropriate steps were taken to provide reasonable assurance to protect the health and safety of the public. This is the purpose of the exercise. exercise director Edward Golinski Jr. said in a recent press briefing.
Golinski works in National Technology Risk Preparedness for Region 5 of the U.S. Department of Homeland Security’s (FEMA) Federal Emergency Management Agency, headquartered in Chicago, Illinois.
During the briefing, he said it was a “Very successful exercise.”
The exercise was conducted in several parts under a scenario in which a plume of radioactive material occurred and reached Columbiana County. First responders and officials had to act out what they would do at various stages of the incident, under the watchful eye of federal evaluators. The same tests were happening simultaneously in Beaver County, Pa. and Hancock County, W.Va., all of which are within the plant’s 10-mile emergency planning zone. Ohio State was also tested.
Golinski said Ohio State met all 10 capabilities tested and Columbiana County met all 17 capabilities tested. The exercise included 225 participants from the EMA, fire, law enforcement, American Red Cross, health department, communications personnel, schools and government officials, including commissioners of county.
The exercise began June 6 at Middleton Township Fire/EMS involving members of the department, the county’s Community Emergency Response Team, the American Red Cross and the county’s health department hosting an emergency center. public reception where the public should go.
On June 7, the Superintendent and staff of East Liverpool City Schools demonstrated how they would care for children in the event of a potential evacuation, Ohio State Highway Patrol demonstrated control of the traffic and the county EMA activated the emergency operations center. On June 8, the last night of the exercise, American Red Cross and Amateur Radio simulated a care center/shelter at McKinley Elementary School in Lisbon. West Point, Lisbon Fire and Glenmoor Fire Departments and Amateur Radio simulated a decontamination center at the Beaver Local Sports Complex on State Route 7.
That’s a lot of people and a lot of moving parts for an exercise. Representatives from Energy Harbor, the power plant operator, were also involved, along with local Ohio EMA officials. Pete Hill is the Ohio EMA Resident Radiological Analyst/Senior Health Physicist at the EMA County Office.
County EMA Director Peggy Clark and Deputy Director/911 Coordinator Brian Rutledge oversee the EOC.
Clark said residents “We will need to be assured that the volunteers in this county are well trained if we ever have to respond to an incident at the Beaver Valley Power Plant.”
An exercise like this also makes them more prepared for any other type of emergency that might arise.