Friday, March 1

Crews hold drill in Palm Beach County to prepare for nuclear emergencies

A popular park in Palm Beach County looked like the set of a sci-fi movie for most of Wednesday, as crews had a practice run of their response to a nuclear emergency.

It happens every two years, and its a crucial part of training for the worst. Crews there made it clear to WPTV reporter Victor Jorges that here is no threat that prompted this exercise.

Instead, they Radiological Emergency Specialist Mike Geier said its a drill they must do every two years so their skills stay sharp in case of a radioactive emergency.

Training, understanding fundamentals, practice, its a perishable skill, so we have to keep those skills going, he said. Training is great, classroom, stuff like that, but real life, this is as close as were going to get.

Wednesdays exercise involved about a dozen agencies including fire rescue, FEMA, and public safety and health departments.

Its a run through of what would happen if people living on the Treasure Coast dealt with a nuclear emergency out of the St. Lucie Nuclear Power Plant.

In the case of a real emergency, people that mightve been exposed to radioactive materials would seek shelter at Okeeheelee Park and receive all the resources and help they immediately need. They would also promptly get tested for any exposure to radioactive materials.

WPTV spoke with one of the commanders overseeing the whole operation, who said they take these drills seriously, and running them smoothly is absolutely necessary.

Its important to maintain your skills, situational awareness, skills, knowledge, to prepare in stressful times when these events happen, such as a radioactive event which is seldom, but it can happen,” Miguel Ferrer said. “We need to be prepared regardless of the time or where it happens.

There is no nuclear threat to our area. This test was already scheduled to happen.

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