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SLO County emergency agency offers advice following Hawaii nucle - KSBY.com | San Luis Obispo and Santa Barbara Area News

SLO County emergency agency offers advice following Hawaii nuclear scare

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Local agencies say the likelihood of a ballistic missile hitting the Central Coast is low, but after the scare in Hawaii over the weekend, when an alert went out saying a missile was en route, they’re offering advice on what to do in the event of a nuclear attack.

San Luis Obispo County already has an emergency plan in place in the event radiation is released from the Diablo Canyon Nuclear Power Plant. According to Penny Borenstein, the San Luis Obispo County Health Officer, a tablet known as K-I, or potassium iodide, can help protect residents from radiation.

“In the event of a nuclear event from our nuclear power plant, and only if there were exposure, it'd be recommended to be taken,” Borenstein said.

She says the tablet takes over the receptors where radioactive iodine can hit the thyroid gland.

“It is the gland in the human body that takes up iodide readily so you want to replace the radioactive iodine that you could get with this type of iodine,” Borenstein said.

It’s free at public health clinics in San Luis Obispo, Grover Beach, and Morro Bay, particularly to those who live in protective zones 1-12.

She says the tablets should be taken immediately if exposed to radiation. According to ThyroSafe, the following doses are recommended:

  • Adults over 18: two tablets
  • Children 12-18 who weigh over 150 pounds: two tablets
  • Children 12-18 who weigh less than 150 pounds: one tablet
  • Children 3-12: 1 tablet crushed
  • Children 1 month-3 years: ½ tablet crushed
  • Babies at birth to 1 month: 16.25 mg in liquid form

No more than one dose should be taken in a span of 24 hours.

Meanwhile, the false alarm that happened in Hawaii has Office of Emergency Services  Manager Ron Alsop thinking.

“We're going to talk internally about our protocols just to double check when we do our internal checks and stuff that we don't have a faux pas like Hawaii did,” Alsop said.

In the event there is a nuclear emergency, the county is well prepared.

“Our plan locally is we would use the wireless emergency alert, the cell phone notification system,” Alsop said. “Basically, send out a message that something's happening, tune in to local media.”

That alert would look similar to the one residents and tourists received in Hawaii. As for the emergency alerts locals on the mainland hear over the radio and TV, they are constantly being tested.

Again, if it’s the real thing, Alsop offers this advice: “There's a new mantra coming about that is, get inside, stay inside, stay-tuned.”

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