Radiation Emergency Drill - Day 1
This week, most of my working time is devoted to participation in a regional radiological emergency drill involving the nearby nuclear power plant. We have two plants in Virginia, and FEMA evaluates the regions around each one, every other year. Being an odd year, it's our turn. I don't know for certain, but I'm pretty sure that FEMA does these exercises for every nuke plant in the country. If you live or work within 10 miles of a plant, check with your local EOC to see if your community is a part of one these exercises, and see if you can participate as a role player or observer or something. It's really interesting, and you'd get an up close look at what you could expect during a real event.
There's three main parts to the exercise. First, they evaluate the responses for any public school divisions that have schools within the 10 mile radius, or have schools outside the radius but students who live within it. Next, they evaluate each community's EAC or Emergency Assembly Center. The EAC is where evacuated residents would be directed to be screened for radiation exposure, then decontaminated if needed and sheltered until long-term shelter arrangements can be made. A few weeks later, they come back and evaluate the Emergency Operations Center for each affected community and the Radiation Plan. They look at things such as how they do traffic control, message spreading, responder exposure, public KI issue, and ultimately, a return to normal operations.
Today, about 10 of my schools were evaluated. Later in the week, they'll do more schools, the division response, and the EAC, which will be established at one of my schools. I've spent the past few weeks preparing the principals with all the information they need to pass the evaluation. Anecdotal evidence so far suggests that they've been successful so far. We have about 20 more schools to do on this biennial cycle. When it is all said and done, we'll get the regional results. I'm planning for a great outcome, but we'll see. Wish me luck!
Looks like I've lost one of my sweet baby watermelon plants, but the other one is going great, and has a few buds on it. My jalapenos are coming along, and I've actually got four peppers growing. My four tomato plants are amazing. I did a lot of pruning today, and counted 35 tomatoes already. None have started turning red yet, but I'm pretty confident that I'll be eating fresh 'maters before the traditional first tomato on July 4th in this area. I cut off all my lettuce, it has gone bitter. I hope I'll get a second harvest out of it. I ate my first carrot straight out of the dirt today, and have a half dozen or so that ought to be coming out over the next week or so. I'll need to wait until after Labor Day to plant my second crop of lettuce and carrots.
I spread some leftover mulch on my strawberry bed. I've got some berries getting close to eating time, and a couple of the plants have thrown out some runners. Should be a berrylicious summer! The blackberries are still just twigs, but I'll take y'all's advice, and just leave them be.