December 08, 2014
The Vermont state reception center in Westminster demonstrated all required evaluation areas and criterion during a graded exercise on December 4th. The Vermont Division of Emergency Management and Homeland Security, the town of Westminster, and dozens of volunteers conducted the exercise to test the capabilities of local and state responders to open and operate a reception center at the Bellows Falls Union High School.
The state reception center serves as a decontamination and registration location in the event of a radiological event at the Vermont Yankee Nuclear Power Plant in Vernon. The scenario for the exercise was an attack on Vermont Yankee that damaged the spent fuel pool, leading to an evacuation of the Emergency Planning Zone (EPZ) surrounding the plant.
The reception center was set up and 15 actors went through stations as if they were evacuees in order to test staff on responsibilities. A simulated decontamination was performed on four of the “evacuees”. In all, more than 100 people took part in the exercise as responders or actors.
In an actual event, residents of the EPZ (Vernon, Halifax, Guilford, Brattleboro, Dummerston, and Marlboro) would pass through the reception center upon evacuation. FEMA evaluated the exercise to identify strengths and weaknesses in operations, and a final report will be prepared within 90 days with any recommendations on how to improve operations for future exercises or actual events.
Vermont Yankee is ceasing operations this month but conditions at the plant still mandate continued emergency planning in the surrounding area.
Agencies involved in the exercise included the town of Westminster, Westminster Volunteer Fire and Rescue, the Vermont Agency of Human Resources, Vermont Department of Health, Red Cross of Vermont and New Hampshire, the Windham County Sheriff’s Department, and other local volunteers.
Contact: Mark Bosma, VT DEMHS: 800-347-0488 or 802-839-6717
Source: Division of Emergency Management and Homeland Security
Last Updated at: December 08, 2014 16:49:23