Officials pleased with test of emergency evacuation plan

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(Host) Officials say they’re pleased with a test of an emergency evacuation plan in the towns around the Vermont Yankee nuclear power plant.

Emergency staff staged a simulated evacuation yesterday of schools, day care centers and health centers in six communities.

Mark Bosma of Vermont Emergency Management says the exercise was intended to test how well prepared the area is in case of an emergency.

He says this week’s test went much better than a previous exercise.

(Bosma) “Last time was the first time we had done it in quite some time and there were a lot of bugs to work out and that’s why we did the practice drill in April. We figure those things out and yesterday everything went well.”

(Host) There was a problem in April with the radios used to communicate between a field office and a staging area for buses. The buses would carry people to an evacuation center.

The radio problem was resolved and did not crop up again during yesterday’s drill.

Some activists criticized state officials because school students and patients at health centers weren’t actually evacuated.

Bosma says the state decided a full-scale evacuation wasn’t necessary.

(Bosma) “We get the timing down. We figure out how long it would take to get them there. We load the school kids on the bus, figure out how long that would take. We get the timeliness of it and figure out if anything needs to be improved.”

(Host) Bosma says the state probably will conduct a similar evacuation exercise in the future. But he says nothing has been scheduled.




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