Preparedness Empowers You

It saves lives, property, and time.

Emergencies happen, often with little or no notice. By taking action beforehand you can be prepared for any emergency.

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I am. Are you?

Nuclear Emergencies

YOKOSUKA, Japan (March 25, 2011) Barge YOGN-115, carrying 1.04 million litres (275,000 gallons) of fresh water, departs Commander, Fleet Activities Yokosuka (CFAY) to support cooling efforts at the Fukushima Daiichi nuclear power plant. (U.S. Navy photo by Mass Communication Specialist 3rd Class Mikey Mulcare/Released) 110325-N-EA192-004

Nuclear power plants are designed to rigorous standards, have many redundant safety features, and are carefully regulated and monitored; however, problems and accidents can happen. If a nuclear power plant emergency did occur, it could result in dangerously high levels of radiation in your area, especially if within 10 miles of the plant. Exposure to high levels of radiation is extremely dangerous to you and your family. Radiation also can contaminate the water and soil within a 50-mile radius.

How to Prepare

  • Be informed and aware of local emergency plans should an emergency occur, especially if you live within 10 miles of a plant.
  • Know nuclear emergency terms:
    • Notification of Unusual Event—There is a small problem at the plant that did not result in the escape of any radiation. There is no immediate danger, and you are not required to do anything in response.
    • Alert—There is a small problem at the plant where a small amount of radiation could have leaked inside the plant. There is no immediate danger, and you are not required to do anything in response.
    • Site Area Emergency—Listen for possible area sirens. Stay tuned to the radio or TV for safety information.
    • General Emergency—There has been an emergency at the plant in which radiation could leak outside the plant. Listen for sirens. Stay tuned to the radio and TV for instruction and information reports. Promptly follow any instructions given.
  • Make a written family emergency plan that includes evacuation routes.
  • Make a written emergency communication plan in case family members are separated.
  • Build an emergency kit.

What to Do If There Is a Nuclear Power Plant Emergency

  • Stay tuned to the radio or TV and follow Emergency Alert System instructions.
  • Keep as much distance or shielding between you and the source of the radiation as possible.
  • If you are told to evacuate:
    • Bring your emergency kit.
    • Follow the designated evacuation path.
    • Keep windows and vents closed to minimize exposure to radiation.
  • If you are told NOT to evacuate:
    • Turn off air conditioners, ventilators, furnaces, and any other air intakes.
    • Do not go outside.
    • Try not to use the telephone unless it is absolutely necessary.
    • Stay in a basement or underground room, if at all possible.
    • Keep food covered at all times.
    • Uncovered food should be washed and covered or discarded.
  • Once you are in a safe place, muster with your command if you are military or civilian personnel or a member of the selective reserves.

If you have been exposed to radiation:

  • Remove clothes and seal in a plastic bag.
  • Place the sealed clothing in a separate room.
  • Take a very thorough shower.
  • Seek medical treatment for unusual symptoms, such as nausea.

What to Do After a Nuclear Power Plant Emergency

  • Do not return until you are told to do so.
  • Water can be contaminated, so listen for reports about its safety.
  • After a declared emergency, register your needs with the Navy through the Navy Family Accountability and Assessment System (NFAAS) at or call 1-877-414-5358 or 1-866-297-1971 (TDD).

Where to Find Additional Information


Be Ready Navy—Be informed before, during, and after an incident; make a written family emergency plan; and build an emergency supply kit good for at least three days.

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