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El Paso selected as one of six sites nationwide to participate in radiological incident preparedness exercise

By: Jamel Valencia
EL PASO, Texas - Local school districts and other educational institutions will be part of the nations first exercise that will prepare them on what to do in case a radiological incident happens in El Paso. 

The use of radiation has increased in the 21st century and the potential for a national radiological incident that requires a public health response has also increased, said Armando Saldivar with the El Paso Health Department.

On Thursday, the city will hold an exercise to teach area representatives how to respond to a radiological incident, said Saldivar.

The following representatives will participate: Clint, Socorro, and El Paso Independent School Districts, EPCC, and UTEP as well as the City/County Office of Emergency Management, Texas Division of Emergency Management-Texas Homeland Security, El Paso County Sheriffs Office, Border RAC (Regional Advisory Council), American Red Cross, El Paso Police Department-Homeland Security Unit, El Paso Fire Department, and the City of El Paso Department of Public Health.

Saldivar said El Paso is one of the six sites representative of geographic, demographic and cultural diversity that the National Association of County and City Health Officials selected.
Bend, OR; Indianapolis, IN; New Orleans, LA; New York City, NY; Salt Lake City, UT were also chosen.

"As we saw with the incident in Fukushima, responding to and recovering from a radiological emergency is a time- and resource-intensive process that necessitates the involvement of all community partners. When disaster strikes and communities are prepared, lives are saved," said NACCHO Executive Director Robert M. Pestronk.

Information about emergency preparedness, including radiation, can be found at www.nacchopreparedness.org.