West Valley - On Thursday, March 16th, emergency responders from state, local and volunteer agencies will use Desert Edge High School in Goodyear, Arizona to exercise evacuee Reception and Care Center (RCC) operations in preparation for potential emergencies at the Palo Verde Nuclear Generating Station. This drill provides all responding agencies an opportunity to refine procedures, define necessary resources and train new employees and volunteers in emergency shelter operations.
“Everyone needs to be on the same page if there is a true event,” said Supervisor Steve Gallardo, District 5. “Safety for those people living within a 10-mile radius of Palo Verde is our priority. They might be asked to shelter-in-place or evacuate. And if that happens, the county is going to have the reception center ready to go.”
RCC operations established for nuclear plant emergencies are unique from other shelter operations in that they involve radiological screening. They also include facilities for decontamination should it become necessary. All evacuees, regardless if they are planning to proceed to a shelter or not, must first go through this center. The fact that additional processes are required for the entire evacuated population necessitates additional logistics and coordination, making the exercise all that much more important.
“Each agency has a particular role in managing responses to plant emergencies,” said Robert Rowley, Director of the Maricopa County Department of Emergency Management. “This reception center exercise is one part of a larger drill we do annually, which is graded by federal authorities every two years,” said Rowley.
For more information on the emergency plan for the Palo Verde Nuclear Generating Station, visit https://www.maricopa.gov/999/Emergency-Management. You can also follow MCDEM on Facebook @MaricopaCountyEmergencyManagement, and Twitter @MaricopaEmerg.
The Maricopa County Department of Emergency Management coordinates preparedness, response and recovery activities through implementation of emergency response plans during and after emergencies. Implementation requires the support and assistance of many other county departments, local jurisdictions, the private sector and volunteer agencies. Maricopa County has a population of approximately 3.7 million. It is the 4th most populous county in the US and the 14th largest county in land area.