Wednesday 26 April 2017

Emergency exercise causes chaos

Dorset residents mistook an emergency exercise for a nuclear attack
Dorset residents mistook an emergency exercise for a nuclear attack

Residents described how they barricaded themselves into their homes after mistaking an emergency exercise for a nuclear attack.

Elderly and vulnerable people bombarded emergency services with calls in Portland, Dorset, fearful of bombs being dropped after information booklets landed on their doorstep.

The leaflets, part of the Nuclear Accident Emergency Plan exercise on Wednesday evening, advised residents what to do in the event of a radiation emergency in Portland Port.

They were told to stay indoors and wait for the all clear, listen to local news stations, put out fires and boilers and take potassium iodate tablets only if they were issued with them.

The leaflets were dropped to 1,200 residents living within one mile of Portland Port as part of the exercise, led by Dorset County Council, the Royal Navy, Maritime and Coastguard Agency, the borough council and other nuclear officials.

It also coincided with Wessex Water officials making loud hailer announcements about water being turned off.

Resident Vivien Hawkins, 78, said: "There was this awful noise.

"I opened the front door and there was a loud speaker. It was so loud you couldn't hear what he was saying.

"Just after that a leaflet came through the door telling you what to do - douse all fires, close all windows.

"I thought what are you supposed to do? Freeze?"

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