Safety & emergency preparedness

Nuclear or radiation incident

Small amounts of radiation are thought to be safe, such as radiation from X-rays. In the event that an unsafe amount of radiation is released, trained experts can test the city’s radiation levels. If there is radiation present, officials may tell you to take off exposed clothing and wash it with soap and water. The Philadelphia Fire Department and area hospitals are prepared to set up central areas to wash exposed items. Health officials may also ask for additional treatment for those exposed to radiation.

Nuclear power plants in Pennsylvania

There are five operating nuclear power plants in Pennsylvania.

  • Beaver Valley (2 Reactors)
  • Limerick (2 Reactors)
  • Peach Bottom (2 Reactors)
  • Susquehanna (2 Reactors)
  • Three Mile Island (1 Reactor)

Prepare for a potential nuclear or radiation incident

  • Make a shelter-in-place kit that includes food, water, a battery operated radio, and charge cords for electronic devices.
  • Make an emergency plan for everyone in your household.

If there is a nuclear blast

  • Find shelter quickly. Go to the deepest part of the structure, farthest from the roof.
  • Shelter-in-place in the lowest part of your home, preferably an underground area. Create as much distance as possible between you and fallout particles. Thickness of walls and ground surrounding your home helps.
  • Close all windows and doors, and turn off any heating or air conditioning that draw air from outside your home.
  • Use texting or social media to communicate. Leave 911 lines free if possible.
  • Stay in communication. Listen to news and get information from the City through free ReadyPhiladelphia alerts and information published on OEM’s social media accounts @PhilaOEM.

If there is a nuclear facility incident

  • Take cover right away as far below ground as possible. Close windows and doors. Turn off air conditioners, heaters, and other ventilation systems.
  • Stay where you are. Listen to news stations or check the Internet for official news.
  • Keep food in covered containers or in the refrigerator. Food that is not covered should be washed before being put in containers.

How to minimize exposure

  • Keep your distance. The farther you are from the source of radiation, the better. This could mean evacuating or spending extended time indoors. Follow instructions from emergency officials.
  • Shield yourself. Have a thick shield of heavy, dense material between you and the radiation.
  • Stay out of exposure for as long as possible. Most radioactivity gets weaker over time.

If you suspect radiation exposure

  • Change clothes and shoes.
  • Put exposed clothing in a plastic bag.
  • Seal the bag and place it out of the way.
  • Take a long shower.
  • Follow all directions of emergency officials.
  • Receive medical attention as directed by emergency officials.

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