GEMA/HS Dispatch December 2017 Edition - Page 16

T Under the watchful eyes of FEMA evaluators, staff at Appling Healthcare treat a simul- ated radiation exposure patient during an evaluated exercise for Plant Hatch. he nuclear power industry is one of the most highly regulated industries in the world, with significant oversight to ensure the safety of the public. With Georgia being a major regional supplier of nuclear energy, the Georgia Emergency Management and Homeland Security Agency’s Radiological Emergency Preparedness Program plays a leading role in assisting state and local agencies with emergency response planning in the event of an emergency at a nuclear facility. “The goal is to provide people living and working within a nuclear power plant’s 10-mile environmental protection zone reasonable assurance that they can do so safely,” said Jeff Morrison, GEMA/HS REP Manager. Providing that assurance is done through the extensive training and drills with state agencies and local emergency managers. The five-person team conducts approximately 28 training courses and 37 exercises per year. In all, more than 1,000 participants benefit from these courses on a variety of subjects related to nuclear safety. Many of the exercises are monitored by the Federal Emergency Management Agency to ensure policies, plans and procedures meet federal standards. “FEMA has the ability to come in at any time and review our training and exercise documents, emergency plans, policies and procedures,” said 16 Russell Bergman, GEMA/HS REP Exercise and Training Development Specialist. “We update all of these materials annually to ensure that we are meeting all of the regulations.” Staying on top of evolving regulations and updating training and policies to maintain compliance with those regulations is a team effort, and the pace of the work requires effective time management, according to Morrison. It’s a tremendous workload, but the team gets satisfaction from the efforts, especially assisting local emergency management agencies. “The most rewarding part of this is helping the counties,” said Morrison. “Providing them what they need to succeed and then watching them be successful is extremely gratifying.” During a typical exercise, the REP team works hand-in-hand with various divisions of the Georgia Department of Natural Resources, Georgia Department of Agriculture, local EMAs, and other stakeholders to address potential impacts of a nuclear emergency to water supplies, agriculture and livestock. GEMA/HS coordinates the efforts of the agencies and local emergency managers to ensure these impacts are mitigated as much as possible, with DNR and GDA providing a great deal of technical expertise when it comes to nuclear response, according to Morrison. “DNR and the GDA are invaluable sourc ́)ɵѥݡЁ́Ѽѡхїéɕ͔