From the Harford County Health Department:
Members of the general public who live or work within 10 miles of Peach Bottom Power Plant can obtain free potassium iodide (KI) to keep in their home or place of business by attending the Community KI Distribution Day planned by the Harford County Health Department (HCHD). The event is one of many Harford County Health Department initiatives to commemorate National Preparedness Month.
The KI distribution takes place on Saturday, September, 13, 2014 at North Harford High School (211 Pylesville Road Pylesville, MD 21132), from 9:00 am to 3:00 pm. Both adult and child dose tablets will be made available. Residents will be asked to complete a short distribution form. Any time afterward, new residents and individuals previously unable to obtain KI during this event can do so by contacting the HCHD at 410-877-1028 to arrange to pick up their supply of KI.
Potassium iodide is an over-the-counter medication used to help protect the thyroid gland from radioactive iodine (RAI), which might be released in the event of a radiation emergency. In the proper dosage and administered within the medically appropriate timeframe, KI can effectively saturate the thyroid gland so that radioactive iodine cannot accumulate there, helping to protect the gland from acute or delayed effects from exposure to RAI. The use of KI is indicated only in such emergencies, and to be most effective, should be taken before or shortly after exposure to RAI.
“This Community KI Distribution Day is an initiative to supplement the County emergency plans in the event of an incident where radiation is released from the Peach Bottom Power plant. While evacuation will remain the primary strategy by which to safeguard the public, the KI will afford citizens an extra measure of protection,” explains Harford County Health Officer, Susan Kelly.
KI is also pre-distributed to schools located within 10 miles of the Peach Bottom Power Plant. “Should an incident occur while schools are in session, this would facilitate timely dispensing of KI to school children and staff,” continues Ms. Kelly. The schools include: Darlington Elementary School, Dublin Elementary School, North Harford Elementary School, North Harford Middle School, North Harford High School, and Harford Christian Academy. KI also will be pre-distributed to Broadcreek Boy Scout Camp, assisted living facilities and large daycares within the 10 mile zone.
Recipients of adult KI doses previously distributed should discard their old medication, which has now expired. The proper method of disposing of the KI is by throwing it away in the household trash for eventual removal to the local landfill. It should not be flushed down the commode or washed down the drain.
Since its inception in 2004, National Preparedness Month is observed in the United States each September. Sponsored by the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) within the Department of Homeland Security, National Preparedness Month encourages Americans to take steps to prepare for emergencies in their homes, businesses, schools, and communities. This year’s theme is “Be Disaster Aware, Take Action to Prepare.”
Health department Emergency Preparedness Coordinator, Lisa Swank also stresses the necessity of being ready for unexpected emergencies, citing as an example the many unique weather phenomena that have occurred in Harford. She strongly recommends using an Emergency Supply Checklist, available on the health department’s website, to prepare your household in the event of a disaster. “Another important way Marylanders can take action to prepare is by joining MD Responds, Maryland’s Medical Reserve Corps (MRC),” says Ms. Swank.
For more information about potassium iodide distribution or use, call 410-877-1028. For more information about National Preparedness Month and to access comprehensive resources and emergency preparedness self-help information, visit the Harford County Health Department’s website at www.harfordcountyhealth.com or www.ready.gov.