By County Executive Ed Day
Last week we activated Rockland County’s Emergency Operations Center in Pomona, thankfully not for an actual emergency but for an Indian Point disaster drill. Rockland was one of four counties that practiced emergency responses in case an incident ever happened at the Indian Point nuclear power plant located just across the Hudson River in Buchanan.
Westchester, Putnam and Orange counties, as well as the State of New York also participated along with Entergy, the plants owner. For Rockland’s part, officials from County and State departments gathered at the fire training center in Pomona where they were graded by monitors from New York State Department of Homeland Security and Emergency Services on how well they responded to the scenario in the exercise.
Let me be clear; Rockland is ready to respond should a major crisis arise at the nuclear power plant owned and operated by Entergy. These exercises are held multiple times a year to ensure all first responders, and employees are well prepared in the event of an emergency.
The drill was led by our Office of Fire and Emergency Services but included the Departments of Health, Mental Health, Social Services, Planning, Transportation, Highway, Office for the Aging, Highway Department, Sheriff’s Department, Purchasing, and numerous other agencies from around the region and state.
Through coincidence a heavy thunderstorm struck during the drill, disrupting communications and injecting a real-world situation into this mock exercise. As a former law enforcement professional, I understand just how important it is to maintain our readiness for anything the real world may throw at us.
During the drill, Rockland employees tracked wind direction, radiation levels, implemented protective actions, tested communications, held media briefings, and issued updates about evacuations.
Rockland County stands ready to handle whatever comes next, but I sincerely hope we never have to put these skills to the test. Thank you to all the employees, first responders and especially our Office of Fire and Emergency Services for cooperating and coordinating so well before, during and after this drill.
For more information on what you should do in the event of a real emergency at Indian Point, including evacuation routes, emergency planning and ways to receive notifications visit the Fire and Emergency Services section of Rocklandgov.com.