There are different types of radiation emergencies that vary in how much damage they cause and harm they pose to the public. Some examples of radiation emergencies include: a nuclear detonation (explosion), an accident at a nuclear power plant, a transportation accident involving a shipment of radioactive materials, or an occupational exposure like in a healthcare or research setting. While the extent of the damage will vary, the steps to protect yourself from radiation are the same. You can keep your family safe by knowing what to do and being prepared if an incident occurs. Follow these simple steps:
The best way to stay safe in any radiation emergency is to get inside, stay inside and stay tuned. Putting material between you and the radiation provides protection while you tune in for instructions from responders.
Brunswick Nuclear Plant is dedicated to the safe, reliable and efficient production of electricity. Duke Energy would immediately notify federal, state and local authorities of a problem at the plant. These officials would then notify you if any action were necessary. Visit the Duke Energy Brunswick Nuclear Power Plant page for more information on Emergency Preparedness Instructions, Potassium Iodide, taking care of pets, emergency classifications, and other information to help you plan.
Get reminders on siren tests and other information texted to you by texting the word Brunswick to 71729.
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Emergency Preparedness Instructions (English)
Emergency Contacts (English)
Siren Tests (English)
Emergency Preparedness Instructions (Español)
Emergency Contacts (Español)
Siren Tests (Español)
Sirens and Emergency Broadcasts
Sirens are the primary outdoor warning system for alerting the public of an emergency. In the unlikely event of an emergency to the nuclear station, Duke Energy would immediately notify federal, state and local authorities. These authorities could activate pole-mounted sirens located throughout the station's 10-mile Emergency Planning Zone (EPZ).
- Listen to a sample siren test here
If you hear a loud, steady sound coming from one of the sirens around the nuclear station, tune to a local radio or TV station. These stations will carry an emergency alert information (EAS) message from local officials to give you information and instructions on what to do.
Remember, hearing a siren does not mean you should evacuate. It simply means to tune to a local radio or television station for information. If sirens are sounding and you do not see or hear a message on radio or television, contact your county's emergency management office.
Please note: Regularly scheduled siren testing takes place on Wednesdays. Additional testing may occur at other times as part of ongoing maintenance.
To alert people indoors, radio and television stations will carry emergency information messages from local officials. Follow their instructions. Stay tuned. Remember, outdoor sirens will not necessarily be heard inside homes or businesses.
- These radio stations will participate in EAS announcements in the event of an emergency. If you hear several three-minute long siren blasts, tune to one of the following stations for information:
- 97.3 WMNX
- 98.7 WRMR
- NOAA Weather Radio – All Hazards
- Other radio and television stations also may broadcast information and instructions in an emergency.
- Learn more about Emergency Alerts here
In an emergency, fire, police and rescue units may also patrol the affected area and sound their sirens, if necessary. Boaters also would be alerted via sirens, loudspeakers, etc.
- If an evacuation of coastal waterways is ordered, the U.S. Coast Guard would broadcast information and instructions on the following frequencies: Band: VHF-FM | Channel: 16 | Frequency: 156.8 MHz and Band: HF | Frequency: 2182.0 kHz
Upon hearing a siren or emergency message, we also encourage people living in the 10-mile emergency planning zones to check with their neighbors to ensure they are aware of the situations – especially neighbors who may have special needs.
Emergency Planning Zones
It's important to know which Emergency Planning Zone (EPZ) you are in, because this will help you understand where to go in the event of an emergency. Check the map for the nuclear plant in your area and locate the zones where you live, work and/or go to school. In the event of an emergency, officials will announce specific instructions for zones. If there was an emergency at the nuclear station, it is unlikely everyone within the 10-mile EPZ would be affected. The areas affected would depend on weather conditions and the nature of the emergency.
- Use the map on this page to find your emergency planning zone, reception center/evacuation shelter, and suggested evacuation route. Evacuation routes and reception centers/evacuation shelters are also listed in the Emergency Preparedness Guide.
Evacuations Routes and Reception Centers/Shelters
Under certain circumstances, people in specific zones might be asked by emergency management officials to evacuate. If you need help during an evacuation, contact your county emergency office. It is important that you go to a designated center/shelter, even if you do not plan to stay there. If you are not instructed to evacuation, stay off the roads to ensure emergency personnel can readily respond.
Like in any emergency, you need reliable information, enough supplies and a plan to protect yourself and your family during radiation and nuclear emergencies.
- Have several ways to receive emergency alerts. Download the FEMA App and sign up for emergency alerts from New Hanover County to receive real-time alerts from the National Weather Service for up to five locations nationwide. Sign up for community alerts in your area from your local emergency management agency to receive timely and specific information for your area. Have a battery-powered or hand crank radio, which will continue to work if other forms of communication fail.
- Build an Emergency Supply Kit. Include a spare change of clothes for each family member, a trash bag for contaminated clothing, and sealed food, water and medicine.
- Make a Family Emergency Communications Plan. Decide where your family will meet if you cannot meet at home. Identify an out-of-state contact who you can inform of your whereabouts and safety. Make plans with friends or family to identify safe places to stay if you need to evacuate. Familiarize yourself with school, work and care-facility plans for staying inside/sheltering-in-place and evacuation.
During any radiation emergency, follow the radiation protection principles of time, distance, and shielding. Limit your time exposed to radiation, stay as far away as possible from a radioactive source, and shield yourself from radiation by going deep inside a sturdy building.
If the emergency is outside, Get inside. Stay inside. Stay tuned.
- GET INSIDE: If warned of the possibility of a radiation hazard, immediately get inside the nearest building and move away from windows. Put as many walls between you and the outside to protect you from the radiation outside.
- STAY INSIDE: Take shelter unless told otherwise. If possible, turn off fans, air conditioners, and forced-air heating units that bring air in from the outside. Close windows and doors. Close fireplace dampers. If you are instructed to stay inside during a radiation emergency, pets and service animals should be inside too. Sheltering could last 24 hours or more.
- STAY TUNED: Follow instructions from emergency response officials. If advised to evacuate, listen for information about routes, shelters, and procedures. If you have evacuated, do not return until you are told it is safe to do so by local authorities.
- Although unlikely, a nuclear detonation is the most dangerous radiation emergency. It creates a large, deadly blast. If it detonates on the ground, the explosion can suck material up into the air and create dangerous, sand-like, radioactive particles called fallout.
- For a nuclear explosion, if you have warning, take cover from the blast behind anything that might offer protection. If you are outside, lie face down to protect exposed skin from the heat and flying debris. After the shockwave passes, go inside the nearest building as quickly as possible.
- If a multi-story building or a basement can be safely reached within a few minutes of the explosion, go there immediately. The safest buildings have brick or concrete walls.
- Remain in the most protective location (basement or center of a large building) for the first 24 hours unless threatened by an immediate hazard (e.g., fire, gas leak, building collapse, or serious injury) or informed by authorities that it is safe to leave. Radiation levels decrease rapidly, becoming significantly less dangerous, during the first 24 hours.
If you were outside during a radiological release or if you think you have radioactive material on your body, there are simple steps to remove it.
- Remove your outer layer of contaminated clothing to remove radioactive material from your body. Removing your outer layer of clothing can remove up to 90% of radioactive material. Be very careful in removing your clothing to prevent radioactive dust from shaking loose. Avoid touching your eyes, nose, and mouth, if possible. Do not pull clothing over your head. Instead, stretch it if possible and step out of it so you won't pull contaminated material over your mouth, nose, and eyes.
- Get clean. If possible, take a shower or wash with soap and water to remove any radioactive particles from skin or hair that was not covered. If you cannot wash, use a wipe or clean wet cloth to wipe any skin or hair that was not covered. Do not use household cleaning wipes on your skin. Hand sanitizer does not protect against radioactive material. Follow CDC guidance on Decontamination for Yourself and Others.
- Clean any pets that were outside after the radioactive dust arrived. Gently brush your pet’s coat to remove any radioactive particles and wash your pet with soap and water, if available.
- Stay hydrated and fed: It is safe to eat and drink food that was inside a building. It is safe to eat food in sealed containers that were outside as long as you wipe off the container with a damp towel or cloth before using. Seal these towels or cleaning cloths in a plastic bag and place them away from people and pets. Unsealed foods from outside may be contaminated with radioactive material. Do not consume food from your garden, or food or liquids that were outdoors and uncovered, until authorities tell you it is safe.
- Take care of yourself and others: If you are sick or injured, listen for instructions on how and where to get medical attention. If you are at a public shelter, immediately notify the staff at that facility so they can call a local hospital or clinic. If you are experiencing a medical emergency, call 9-1-1.
- Really.......take care of yourself and others. The threat of a radiation or nuclear emergency can be stressful and surviving one can be a traumatic experience. Take care of yourself and talk to someone if you are feeling upset. Follow CDC guidance for managing stress during a traumatic event.
Centers for Disease Control (CDC): Radiation Emergencies
U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA): Protecting Yourself from Radiation