If a nuclear disaster were to strike, are you confident authorities will be able to evacuate the public safely and efficiently?

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State authorities will be holding a trio of information and public hearing meetings on the New Jersey Radiological Emergency Response Plan for the state's three nuclear power plants.

The hearings will discuss how regional Offices of Emergency managements did conducting their emergency response plans as part of the State's overall emergency plan. Offices of emergency management in Cumberland, Salem, and Ocean counties all teamed with municipal OEM's to conduct exercises simulating various scenarios is a radiological disaster.

The three hearings are jointly conducted between the Department of Environmental Protection, State Police, Office of Emergency Management and the Department of Health and Senior Services, with DEP representatives conducting information sessions prior to the hearings.
Wednesday, July 11
6 p.m. to 7 p.m.  DEP Public Information Session
7 p.m.  Public Hearing
Woodland Country Day School
1216 Roadstown Road
Bridgeton, NJ 08302

Tuesday, July 17
6 p.m. to 7 p.m.  DEP Public Information Session
7 p.m.  Public Hearing
Ocean County Administration Building
101 Hooper Avenue, Room 119
Toms River, NJ 08754-2191

Wednesday, July 25
6 p.m. to 7 p.m.  DEP Public Information Session
7 p.m.  Public Hearing
Salem County Office of Emergency Management
135 Cemetery Road
Emergency News Center, Second Floor
Woodstown, NJ 08098

Paul Baldauf, Director of Division of Environmental Safety and Health at the DEP says both questions and comments will be taken, and "if there are questions we will do our best to answer them with the individuals who are on the panel."

However he knots if there are questions that can't be answered right away, they will be answered at a later date.

Baldauf says the panel will be able to answer questions regarding to the Emergency Response Plan and how including, "the time it would take to evacuate, discussions on providing Potassium iodide when to take it and where to get it, it could be questions about bus routes and what shelters would be available."

Information from questions and comments would also be worked into any future revisions of the Radiological Emergency Response Plan.

"The Plan's an ever green document" notes Baldauf "so certainly anything that's brought up that would impact the plan, whether it's something the municipality is doing or the county is doing that would take out something the plan is dependent on, then certainly he plan would be revised."

Current versions of the plan are available at any of the County OEM's:
Office of Emergency Management
State Police Headquarters
West Trenton

Salem County Emergency Management Office
Cemetery Road
Mannington Township

Cumberland County Office of Emergency Management
Bridgeton Avenue

Ocean County Office of Emergency Management
Robert J. Miller Air Park, Route 530
Berkeley Township

Baldauf explains since hearings are much less formal in their agenda, questions addressing all kinds of issues pertaining to the emergency response plan are welcome.

"So there is no set agenda, so as long as you're within the scope of the hearing which is subject matter about the Emergency Response Plan, anything can be game and anybody who would like to speak for five - ten minutes is able to do so."

Meeting minutes will be recorded and posted online.

Though the meeting deals with the assessment of the Emergency Reponse Plan, Baldauf says the DEP's presence is there to address issues of radiological contamination.

"DEP is there to monitor that release, to characterize exactly the depth of the problem and to make a recommendation to the governor office at that time of what actions to take."

There will be a public information session at each meeting from 6 to 7 pm where all panelists are available to answer any questions that people don't want on the record.


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