(Smyrna) – The Delaware Emergency Management Agency (DEMA) and Delaware Division of Public Health will distribute potassium iodide (KI) tablets to Delaware residents living within a ten mile radius of the Salem/Hope Creek Nuclear Generating Stations.
The free tablets will be distributed on Thursday, October 24, 2013, between noon and 7:00PM at the Townsend Fire Station. The station is located 107 Main Street in Townsend. Delaware residents living within the affected ten mile radius, called the Emergency Planning Zone (EPZ), have received notification of the distribution via U.S. Mail.
Potassium Iodide will be available to residents who received it previously and whose tablets have reached their expiration date, as well as those who never received the tablets before. Individuals with home or business addressed within the EPZ are eligible to receive the KI tablets. The State of Delaware received the tablets when it chose to participate in a program initiated by the U.S. Nuclear Regulatory Commission.
Potassium iodide does not protect against external radiation, but can help protect the thyroid gland from ingested or inhaled radioactive iodine that might be released in a radiation emergency. KI is one of the measures outlined in Delaware’s emergency plans developed for use in a nuclear incident. The primary method of protecting residents is evacuation of the EPZ. Potassium iodide offers additional protection.
In the event of a radiation emergency, state and local officials will inform the public through an Emergency Alert System (EAS) message via local radio stations. The messages will include instructions on how affected residents should react, directions to evacuation routes and emergency reception centers, and when to take the KI tablets.
All Delaware residents living within the 10-mile EPZ, as well as those who work or own businesses within the Emergency Planning Zone are eligible to receive the free potassium iodide tablets. By following the guidelines included in the informational mailing, they can assist in making the distribution effective and efficient.
Those who are eligible to receive the KI tablets should bring a photo ID such as a driver’s license, or proof of residency such as a utility bill with them to the distribution center at Townsend Fire Station. Individuals in possession of potassium iodide that has passed the expiration date can bring those tablets to the distribution center to receive new tablets.
Delaware residents living outside of the 10-mile EPZ who would like to obtain potassium iodide tablets should contact their pharmacist. KI is available over-the-counter at some local pharmacies.
For additional information regarding the potassium iodide distribution program in Delaware, call the Delaware Emergency Management Agency Radiological Emergency Planning section at 302-659-3362.