FEMA graded exercise tests emergency response plans
On Tuesday, July 25, the City of Newport News participated in a Federal Emergency Management Agency graded exercise to assess the city’s ability to respond to an emergency at the Surry Nuclear Power Plant. The counties of Charles City, Isle of Wight, James City, New Kent, Surry and York, and the cities of Hampton, Poquoson and Williamsburg also participated in the exercise, which takes place every two years. The purpose of the exercise is to test Dominion Power, the state and the localities’ Radiological Response Plans to identify any deficiencies or areas of improvement needed to keep residents safe. FEMA evaluators identified no deficiencies in Newport News and all participants did very well in the exercise.
Dr. Jeff Stern, Virginia Department of Emergency Management State Coordinator, said, “As with other threats of manmade or natural disasters facing our Commonwealth, VDEM, state and federal agencies, localities and emergency responders must have strong partnerships and procedures in place to address issues that arise to protect life and property. These exercises allow all entities to test response plans, build skills, and solve challenges that would slow real-world response activities.”
From Hazmat team members using dosimeters to measure radiation levels to establishing Evacuation Assembly Centers to keeping the public informed about the event, the drill was a flurry of activity for the participants who worked in the Emergency Operations Center and for the police, fire and other departments who were working in the field.
For more information about the Surry Nuclear Power Plant, please visit the Dominion Power site. There you will find information about the power plant as well as the Surry safety and emergency preparedness guide, evacuation zones, routes and assembly centers.
The Virginia Department of Emergency Management works with local government, state and federal agencies as well as voluntary organizations to provide resources and expertise to improve disaster preparedness, response and recovery. For more information visit www.vaemergency.gov.