For residents who live in the fall out zone from Farley Nuclear Plant, it is not uncommon to wonder what would happen if there was a nuclear incident…but what about a hostile one?
On Wednesday, Jan. 22 that situation was on the minds of 120 emergency management officials went back to the drawing board to prepare for a situation they hope never happens.
“The goal for today exercise is to test our preparedness in dealing with an emergency with Farley nuclear plant this particular exercise is a hostel action based exercise which is unusual and one of the first done in the state of Alabama,” explained Leigh Adams, Deputy Director of the Dothan/Houston County Emergency Management Agency.
The hypothetical situation involved a takeover of the Farley Nuclear Plant. If compromised, the safety of 950 workers and hundreds of area residents would be impacted.
"This exercise gives the nuclear plant and the company an opportunity to work cooperatively with other organizations and responsive agencies to ensure the safe operation of the plant in the unlikely event that there is an emergency at the plant," said Neccie Tarrant, Communications Coordinator for Farley Nuclear Plant.
Although this exercise was only a drill, officials say exercises like Wednesday’s are the best way to start the planning process.
"The purpose of this tabletop exercise today is to test and prove our preparedness and abilities to respond to an emergency at Farley nuclear plant," said Adams.
In addition to letting Emergency First Responders take their protection to the next step.
“Today's event offers all of the agencies an opportunity to step through and actually consider reactions and actions taken by the other agencies in a practice scenario,” explained Tarrant.
Wednesday's meeting was the first of three sessions. Officials will take what they learned and apply that to a functional exercise in February. Then Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) will evaluate the practices and procedures in April.