authority to respond to incidents to local public officials and local responders. Local responders are generally the first to arrive at the scene of an accident or incident and have the best knowledge of local conditions that might affect response decisions. If the situation overwhelms the response capability of local responders, state and then federal resources may be called on to assist. In general, incidents that overwhelm local resources affect large geographic areas or large populations.
States have developed response plans to guide them through the decision-making process in connection with an incident to mitigate the consequences of large events. The emergency-preparedness plans include predetermined actions related to credible scenarios that enable quick responses to ensure public safety with limited initial information. Emergency-response plans take into consideration such items as general types of incidents, general traffic conditions, location of different types of fixed facilities, predominant weather for different times of year, population densities, available state and local resources, prearranged contracts for services with private industries, and other relevant observations. Planning allows for quick decision-making in the face of sparse information to ensure public health and safety.
Emergency preparedness for NPP incidents is a cooperative effort involving the NPP facility, local government, county government, state government, and the federal government. Since the emergency-preparedness plans must be capable of initially addressing several possible incidents, they must be based on simple and consistent assessment methodologies, and the agencies involved must be capable of implementing their assigned actions. To ensure that plans developed on the local, county, and state level will protect public health and safety, the US Nuclear Regulatory Commission and the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) evaluate emergency preparedness at and around NPPs. Evaluation takes place regularly to ensure that adequate protective measures will be taken in the event of a NPP incident.