If there is an incident at the Palo Verde Generating Station (PVGS) that requires protective actions, instructions on what actions to take will be broadcast through the Emergency Alert System. If you hear the warning sirens:
- Go indoors immediately.
- Turn on your radio or television.
- Listen for emergency instructions.
Officials may advise people living or working in the 10-mile Emergency Planning Zone (PDF) to take shelter or evacuate the area.
If you are asked to shelter-in-place, take immediate action, whether you are at home, work, school, or in your vehicle. Residents in the affected area should take precautions to isolate themselves from radioactive materials in the atmosphere:
- If you are outside, go inside a building and close all doors and windows to protect yourself from outside air.
- Keep animals (pets, horses, poultry and livestock) inside a building if possible.
- Turn off heating, cooling or ventilation systems that draw air from outside (recirculating air systems can be used).
- Lower thermostats on all oil and gas burning heaters to minimize the intake of outside air.
- If you must go outside, protect yourself by putting a damp cloth or towel over your nose and mouth. Fold the cloth several times.
- School officials are taking appropriate protective actions for school children.
- Listen to your radio or television, or go to Arizona Emergency Information Network website for further instructions.
- Additional emergency information is printed in the Palo Verde Public Safety Brochure.
If taking shelter will not provide adequate protection, officials may ask people living or working within the 10-mile Emergency Planning Zone to leave the area. Officials will refer to sector locations when giving evacuation instructions. The entire Emergency Planning Zone may not be evacuated so it is important that you know which sector and mile ring you live in. The Sheriff’s Office will secure the area by setting up roadblocks to keep people out of the evacuated area.
If you need to leave your home, follow these steps:
- Implement your Family Emergency Plan.
- Gather the important items your family will need for a few days:
- Palo Verde Public Safety Brochure
- Medical supplies; first aid kit, medicines and prescriptions
- Personal items; soap, towels, shaving articles, toothpaste, toothbrushes, sanitary supplies
- Important papers; auto registration, credit cards, checkbooks and cash
- Children and infant supplies; disposable diapers, wipes, powder, bottles, formula, one or two favorite toys
- Other supplies; flashlight, one gallon or more of drinking water per person, portable radio with batteries
- Cell phones and chargers
- Turn off lights, heating and air conditioning units, and close drapes. Leave your refrigerator and freezer on. Lock all doors and windows.
- Bring your pets, including medical records, leashes and carriers if available. You will need to make emergency provisions for them upon arrival at the Reception and Care Center. Maricopa County Animal Care and Control will be onsite to assist pet owners who may be having trouble finding accommodations for their pets.
- Evacuation of livestock and horses is not recommended. Animals can survive for a few days on water alone. Personal safety should take priority before efforts to protect animals.
- During the drive to the Reception and Care Center listen to your car radio for additional instructions.
- If possible, provide transportation to a neighbor who may need assistance. If you need emergency evacuation assistance, call 911.
- Report to the Reception and Care Center for registration and radiological monitoring even if you do not need shelter assistance.
Evacuation assistance is available for anyone with Access and Functional Needs. This could include individuals with sight, hearing, walking impairment, specialized medical equipment or transportation, or those who have no other means of transportation.
If you live within the Palo Verde Generating Station 10 mile Emergency Planning Zone and need assistance during an evacuation, please fill out the Assistance Survey (PDF), Encuesta de Ayuda (PDF) and return it. If you need emergency assistance during an evacuation you should call 9-1-1.
If you know someone who might need assistance filling out the form, please offer to help them. If you have not received a card, and require assistance, call us at 602-273-1411 and let us know you need assistance with the Palo Verde Assistance Survey.
Mail in the Assistance Survey every year to keep our records up-to-date. Every effort will be made to support requested assistance; however, this should not replace individual preparedness and planning.
All schools within the 10-mile Emergency Planning Zone (EPZ) have a tone alert radio system installed and will be notified individually by the Maricopa County Emergency Operations Center. There are six schools in the 10-mile EPZ:
- Arlington Elementary School
- Palo Verde Elementary School
- Ruth Fisher School
- Tonopah Valley High School
- Crossroads Academy
- Winters Well School
If evacuation is ordered while school is in session, your children will be transported to a Reunification Center or Reception and Care Center (RCC). The Emergency Alert System message or school messaging system will provide instructions on where to meet your children.
Close coordination between school and County public safety officials will determine the quickest means for evacuating the children. Each school has enough vehicles to evacuate all students.
If potassium iodide (KI) is recommended, it will be dispensed according to the school’s procedures.
Other Protective Measures
Should radioactive iodine be released into the air, Potassium Iodide (KI) tablets will be available to individuals who may have been exposed only at the Reception and Care Center. Taking KI can protect the thyroid, the only organ that absorbs radioactive iodine. KI tablets will saturate the thyroid with iodine, preventing the absorption of radioactive iodine. KI tablets have a high percentage of effectiveness for several hours after an individual is exposed. The use of KI does not provide protection against other radioactive materials or external radiation.