Durham to test alerting system for those living near Pickering and Darlington nuclear plants


Published October 31, 2022 at 3:50 pm

Potassium iodide pill distribution at Pottstown Health Center. Pills ready for distribution. 11/20/14 photo by Tim Leedy (Photo By Reading Eagle: Tim Leedy/MediaNews Group/Reading Eagle via Getty Images)

Durham Region will test its public alerting system next Monday and Tuesday with outdoor sirens that can be heard three kilometres from nuclear plants in Pickering and Clarington and auto dialled calls to every resident living withing ten kilometres of the plants.

If you live, work or go to school within 10 kilometres of the nuclear stations here’s what you need to know:

On November 7, an auto dialer will make test calls to landline phone numbers within 10 kilometres of the nuclear generating stations. (If you have a voice over protocol – VoIP – phone or your number is not listed, you will not receive this type of alert).

On November 8, outdoor sirens will sound for up to one minute within three kilometres of the stations (in a real emergency, you must go indoors and get more information).

To learn more about the nuclear alerting system see bit.ly/3DgLWL6 #ReadyDurhamON

If you are outside and hear the sirens, you need to:

  • Stop and go inside and turn on the TV or radio or visit official government websites and social media channels for instructions.
  • Listen to media reports to stay informed of the situation.
  • Follow instructions from the Province about what to do next.

While a nuclear emergency is extremely unlikely, there are simple ways to reduce your risk of exposure to radiation if an emergency does occur.

  • Shelter in place: If there is a nuclear emergency, go inside right away, close all windows and doors, and turn off your heating or air conditioning system. This simple action can prevent harmful particles from getting on you or entering your home.
  • Listen to the radio, watch the television, and look for information on official government websites and social media channels. Be ready to evacuate in case you are told to.
  • Take K1 pills: Potassium iodine pills can help reduce how much radioactive iodide enters your thyroid. If a nuclear emergency occurs, you will be notified before radioactive iodide is released. Only take the tablets when you are instructed to do so to ensure you are getting the greatest protection from them. KI pills are available to anyone who lives or works within 50 kilometres of the nuclear generating stations. Order yours now at ca.
  • Evacuation: If it is safe to do so, you may be asked to evacuate. In some cases, sheltering in place may be more effective at preventing exposure to harmful particles. If you are directed to evacuate, follow the instructions of emergency personnel. Information will also be on the local radio, television stations, and official government websites and social media. Evacuating might mean you have to stay at an out-of-area relative’s house, friend’s house, or hotel.
  • Decontamination: If you think you may have been exposed to harmful particles, you can go to a reception centre. These facilities will be set up for people and vehicles who may need to be checked for radiation and decontaminated before going to an evacuation centre or another place to stay.

Remember to take your emergency kit(s) with you if you must evacuate.

Durham Region regularly tests its public alerting system each fall and spring.

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