Distribution of KI pills “steady,” town may look to other methods to distribute the rest

 

 

By Ron Giofu

 

The first two days of the potassium iodide (KI) pills distribution went well but similar events may be needed to distribute the rest.

Over 150 households picked up their KI pills, with those households being in the “primary zone,” which is defined as being within a 16.1-kilometre radius of the Fermi II nuclear power plant. In case of a nuclear incident, residents in the primary zone would be instructed to take the pills, as those pills would help fend of the possibility of thyroid cancer for people exposed to radiation.

“It’s been going steady,” said fire chief Bruce Montone, who is also the community emergency management co-ordinator (CEMC).

The KI pills were distributed in partnership with the Windsor-Essex County Health Unit (WECHU) May 7-8 at the Libro Centre. As part of the package people in the primary zone received, they got a box with 20 KI pills, with the three-day supply of pills being good through 2026.

There are 400 or so households in the primary zone, Montone said, so another method of getting the pills to the remaining residents will be devised. That could include door-to-door delivery or another session like what occurred May 7-8 where people can go to a location like the Libro Centre and pick them up. Montone indicated there could be a combination of methods.

“We got some people in and out quickly,” he said. “Other people had lots of questions.”

Most questions were able to be answered easily, Montone added. He emphasized that pills are only to be taken if instruction is given to take them. People were also given a booklet with information about the pills and what to do to plan for an emergency.

Jean Meloche (left) obtains her KI pills from Windsor-Essex County Health Unit officials Lori Adams and Karen Lukic.

Montone said people in Amherstburg should always have an emergency kit on hand just in case any type of emergency should occur. That includes two litres of water per person, prescription drugs, non-perishable food items, cash, a battery-operated radio and personal documentation.

Should the emergency sirens go off, people are asked to go inside and listen for instruction.

“Whatever we tell you to do, that’s what we need you to do,” he said.

Once the primary zone is taken care of with KI pills, people in the secondary zone will be planned for as locations would have to be secured in the 80-kilometre radius for people to attend to get the pills.

The first phase of the plan is about $370,000 and that is funded through the Ministry of Health and Long-Term Care.

Montone also addressed the emergency notifications – or in many cases, lack thereof – to people’s cell phones last week. He acknowledged it didn’t work out well in parts of Ontario like this region and parts of Quebec and he said that reinforces his belief there is a need for two methods of notification.

Amherstburg has the “Amherstburg Alert” system and Montone believes it was a “wise decision” to implement that as that is a local solution, that would coincide with any provincial or national notification method.

“It just illustrates the importance of local capabilities,” he said.

Those wishing to sign up for “Amherstburg Alert” can do so at www.amherstburg.ca/alert or call the Amherstburg Fire Department for information at 519-736-6500.

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