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Where Should a Jurisdiction Begin When Implementing the Checklist?
Actions outlined in the Fallout Preparedness Checklist can be grouped into 4 implementation phases that have the following high-level objectives:
- Broad community support
- Educated and prepared population
- Means to issue geographically specific warnings
- Ability to execute a mass, phased evacuation Action 7, with a focus on integrating and testing the overall preparedness system, undergirds all phases.
The first 2 phases call for relatively low-cost, straightforward, if challenging, tasks: building a broad community base in support of nuclear preparedness; interweaving fallout preparedness messages into an already credible mass education campaign on disasters; enabling existing volunteers and preparedness champions to seed grassroots conversations about fallout and to model preparedness behavior; and distributing a tool to aid building owners and operators when assessing shelter quality and teaching others.
The reward for these education and outreach interventions is immense: knowledgeable residents who can act independently to save the most lives following a nuclear detonation. Phases 3 and 4 will provide additional challenges for jurisdictions given the high degree of organizational complexity and the need to integrate technological systems. Nonetheless, these phases constitute more comprehensive preparedness that can save additional lives.
Actions 2 and 3
Actions 4 and 5
Action 1: Obtain broad community backing for nuclear incident preparedness
1.1. Generate leadership to overcome apathy or resistance to preparedness.
1.2. Build a fallout preparedness coalition that reflects the entire community.
1.3. Incorporate private and public radiation professionals into emergency planning.
1.4. Recruit community-serving nonprofits to teach vulnerable, marginalized groups.
1.5. Map a nuclear detonation’s effects against the region’s terrain and inhabitants.
Action 2.0: Conduct an ongoing public education program
2.1. Designate a lead agency to coordinate the program across agencies and region.
2.2. Use nontechnical language to deliver messages on protective actions.
2.3. Disseminate information using multiple modalities and multiple sources.
2.4. Develop a neighborhood or social network–driven training and education program.
2.5. Periodically assess progress toward preparedness outcomes.
Action 3.0: Enable building owners and operators to assess shelters and teach others.
3.1. Disseminate a shelter rating guide to commercial building managers.
3.2. Rate public buildings in terms of their performance as fallout shelters.
3.3. Partner with schools to expand their emergency plans to include fallout protection.
3.4. Distribute shelter rating guide to homeowner and tenant associations.
Action 4.0: Strengthen the ability to deliver actionable public warnings post-incident.
4.1. Develop pre-scripted, pre-vetted, and scientifically based fallout warning messages.
4.2. Address organizational issues related to effective warning dissemination.
4.3. Devise low-tech, redundant means for issuing public warnings.
4.4. Plan to establish hotlines for an acute demand for health-related information.
4.5. Monitor peer-to-peer communications to enhance situational awareness.
Action 5.0: Establish a rapid system for mapping the dangerous fallout zone.
5.1. Develop prior relationships with federal partners.
5.2. Conduct a regional inventory of monitoring staff and equipment.
5.3. Develop plans for synthesizing diverse data scattered across the region.
5.4. Plan for the prompt release of plume maps via broadcast media and social media.
5.5. Pre-position a network of automated radiation monitors.
Action 6.0: Plan for a large-scale, phased evacuation.
6.1. Form regional partnerships and execute mutual aid agreements.
6.2. Map out buildings and neighborhoods according to shelter quality.
6.3. Predesignate the criteria against which areas will be prioritized for evacuation.
6.4. Consider how pre-established evacuation routes may have to be adapted.
6.5. Craft pre-incident education materials that share evacuation plans.
6.6. Prepare scientifically based templates for evacuation messaging.
6.7. Anticipate a portion of residents who evacuate independent of instruction.
Action 7: Integrate, test, and conduct training in all elements of a comprehensive fallout preparedness system→applies to all phases.
7.1. Regularly conduct training programs for emergency personnel, volunteers, and key stakeholders in the community.
7.2. Exercise, test, and drill the above elements of fallout preparedness and public warning systems and include the community in these exercises.
7.3. Routinely review, revise, and maintain current fallout protections plans.