This year as well as last, Lacey Patch received complaints from residents who failed to hear Oyster Creek's siren test.
At 10 a.m., a three-minute full volume siren was activated within Oyster Creek Nuclear Generating Station’s emergency planning zone. The siren went off again for a few seconds at 2 p.m.
The 42-siren system goes off within a 10-mile radius of the nuclear plant as a part of Exelon’s comprehensive emergency preparedness program.
Exelon Corporation issues the annual test, which is not a signal to evacuate, in cooperation with Ocean County and the New Jersey Office of Emergency Management.
"We had 100 percent success. All 42 sirens sounded," Oyster Creek spokesperson Suzanne D'Ambrosio said. "Every siren works."
D'Ambrosio added that the plant does receive complaints that some residents were unable to hear the sirens but those are directed through Ocean County's Office of Emergency Management.
Usually the county's office gets complaints but they have yet to receive any today, said Sheriff's Officer Steve Healey, also the Radiological Officer for the Emergency Management Division of the Ocean County Sheriff's Department.
"If there is someone who can't hear the siren for some reason, because they're very loud and strategically placed throughout the 10-mile Emergency Planning Zone, (the Office of Emergency Management) has gone out to see if we can hear the sirens," he said.
When an official complaint is filed with the Office of Emergency Management, representatives are sent to that address the following year to document it, he said. If the sirens are unable to be heard, the office looks into installing another siren.
"If you're inside the house, in the shower, with the radio on, you're not going to hear it," Healey said. "That can happen. The public needs to understand that you might not hear the sirens but you should always be watching the news, listening to the radio and be aware."
D'Ambrosio pointed out that the sirens are only one part of Oyster Creek's "comprehensive plan" to alert residents in the event of an emergency.
County emergency management authorities may use the sirens to warn the area of threatening events including fires, floods, tornadoes, hazardous material releases, and plant-related events.
In the case of an actual emergency, all residents should tune to one of the county Emergency Alert System radio or television stations. If a siren fails to activate, local police and firefighters would alert residents using mobile public address systems or door-to-door notifications.
"Those sirens aren't an indication for people to evacuate," D'Ambrosio said. "It's an indication for people to stay put and to tune into the radio and television for more information."
From the Lacey Township Police Department, the sirens were heard loud and clear and the dispatcher even received several calls of concern.
Anyone within the 10-mile Emergency Planning Zone who did not hear the sirens can file a complaint with the county or state's Offices of Emergency Management. But Healey recommended contacting your municipality first, who would then forward the complaint to the county.
Lacey's Office of Emergency Management can be reached at 609-693-6636; the county is at 732-341-3451.
A PDF containing information on Emergency Planning for Oyster Creek Generating Station is attached to this story. More information can be found here.
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