Organization & Responsibilities

This section assigns responsibility for County emergency response organizations to inform, protect, and evacuate, if necessary, in the event an incident at either the Catawba or McGuire Site poses a threat to any portion of Gaston County. It also establishes the responsibilities of other organizations to provide personnel, equipment, and expertise in a supporting role. (See Organizational Chart, Figure 1.)

A. The overall responsibility for decision-making within Gaston County rests with the Gaston County Commissioners, who have the ultimate responsibility for the protection of life and property within this County. Gaston County will provide the basic planning, guidance, and evacuation support, as required, to the local township and municipal authorities.

B. Any county or municipal agency or department may be tasked with an emergency mission. The supervisor of each department is responsible for the accomplishment of an assigned task or function. A number of the primary functions are listed in the following paragraphs. In addition, these departments are assigned the following general tasks:

  • Provide personnel, equipment, and facilities on a 24-hour basis.
  • Plan and provide for the safety of employees and protection of public property in the event of an emergency.
  • Coordinate actions with the Gaston County Emergency Management Administrator and with departments having related tasks.
  • As appropriate, provide personnel to staff the Gaston County EOC and a liaison to SERT.
  • Provide for record keeping and documentation of the emergency and actions taken.
  • Prepare damage and loss survey reports.


  • Recommend the activation of the County EOC in an appropriate mode and maintain it on a 24-hour basis, as needed.
  • Develop contingency plans that provide for a rapid and coordinated response of emergency services and coordinate protective response operations.
  • Coordinate the disposition of emergency workers and resources.
  • Coordinate all initial and back-up warning and notification activities.
  • Serve as advisor to the Board of County Commissioners and provide situation reports and other information including any recommendations relative to the State on the activation of SERT.
  • Coordinate training of local emergency workers.
  • Coordinate support to the emergency workers in the field.
  • Provide and coordinate communications with the State and supporting elements.
  • Establish communications with the National Weather Service at Greer SC. to obtain meteorological information.
  • Develop priority and key alert lists.


  • Coordinate all necessary law enforcement and traffic control measures.
  • Provide necessary and timely support to the Gaston County Commissioners during initial onset of the emergency.
  • When necessary, establish and maintain communication links with the Duke Energy EOF and the County EOC and provide communications support to the County EOC.
  • Provide necessary traffic control measures in support of evacuation and effect security procedures of restricted areas.
  • Establish roadblocks to reroute traffic and prevent unauthorized entry into contaminated or restricted areas.
  • Maintain a log of all authorized/unauthorized persons and vehicles entering and leaving a designated secure zone subsequent to evacuation.
  • Direct contaminated persons and vehicles to designated decontamination stations and provide escorts, if required.
  • During incidents originating at the McGuire Nuclear Site, coordinate Stanley and Mount Holly Police support in evacuating the public, roadblocks and traffic control measures.
  • During a State of Disaster, declared by the Governor, provide the State Highway Patrol with local law enforcement resources and assistance.
  • Collaborate with outside agencies to accomplish waterway clearing.
  • McGuire Nuclear Station
    • NC Highways 273, 16, 27, and 275, I-85, US Highway 321. - 2,000 vehicles per hour. Secondary roads are shown on the operations map. 1,700 vehicles per hour.
  • Catawba Nuclear Station
    • N C Highways 273, 274, and 279. 1,500 vehicles per hour. Secondary roads are shown on the operations map. 1,200 vehicles per lane per hour.

Evacuation Sheltering

  • A list of designated locations to be used as evacuation shelters for McGuire and Catawba Nuclear Power Stations is maintained by the Gaston County Emergency Management office.
  • These shelters will be staffed by the Red Cross and Gaston County agencies that are trained to assist with shelter operations.
  • The required personnel for radiological monitoring and decontamination at these shelters will be furnished through the Gaston County Emergency Management Office using fire haz-mat and EMS/STAR personnel.
  • These shelter spaces are based on 40 square feet per shelteree. If more shelterees arrive than anticipated, this figure can be reduced without creating discomfort to the sheltered.
  • If evacuation is necessary during school hours, those children who reside inside the 10-mile evacuation area should remain at the school they attend, provided that school is outside the evacuated area.
  • If necessary, the EOC emergency shelter communication link will be supplemented by amateur radio support or by positioning a radio equipped law enforcement vehicle at each shelter.
  • N.C. Radiation Protection may provide more expert personnel to assist and consult in the event of major shelter contamination problems.
  1. Radiation specialists and health physicists from Duke Energy may be available, if needed, to provide support for decontamination at shelters.

Radiological Exposure Control

  • Prior to the assumption of command and control by the State, Gaston County Emergency Management and Duke Energy Company are the two primary organizations responsible for ensuring that radiation doses received by the public and emergency workers are below normally acceptable maximum levels.
  • EPA recommended Protective Action Guides (PAGs) will be used as the maximum acceptable levels of radiation for the public and emergency workers during an emergency. These levels are specified in State Plan - Part 1, Basic, Section VIII.
  • Wherever possible, emergency workers will be removed from the threatened area before any dose is received.
  • The Gaston County Board of Commissioners has the decision-making authority for all operations. A representative from Duke Energy Company is responsible for making recommendations to the commissioners concerning the use of the protective response options specified in State Plan - Part 1.
  • The Radiological Safety Officer Team (ROT) for the Gaston County Emergency Management will issue instruments to those fire and rescue workers who do not already have them. These emergency workers have been trained in the use of hand-held survey meters, self reading dosimeters, and dosimeter chargers.
  • In the event of an emergency, the ROT will distribute available dosimeters to all Gaston County personnel who may be subject to significant radiation exposure.
  • Distribution of TLDs to County personnel will be coordinated by Gaston County Emergency Management and North Carolina Emergency Management. NC RAD Protection is responsible for reading and analyzing TLDs. They will also monitor the dosage levels to make appropriate health and safety recommendations. (See State Plan, PART 1, Section IV.G.)
  • The County ROT and a representative from NC RAD Protection will assist in reading and analyzing the dosage levels shown on the TLDs and make appropriate recommendation concerning the health of the individuals concerned.
  • All dosimetry records will be made available to the involved personnel and employing organizations.
  • During the course of the emergency, radiation dose levels and other exposure records will be reviewed by the ROT, and the NC. Radiation Protection Section to formulate recommendations to the Gaston County Board of Commissioners and to assure that workers exposure remains below EPA recommended PAGs.
  • Communications will be maintained between the Gaston County ROT and the appropriate authority with SERT to assure that exposure levels of emergency workers moving on and off site are below recommended PAGs.
  • The policy under this plan is to prevent emergency workers from receiving a radiation dose in excess of the stated PAGs. If workers cannot be rotated and the activities involved are critical to public protection, the Gaston County ROT and representatives from NC RAD Protection may recommend to the Gaston County Board of Commissioners that emergency workers be allowed to exceed the PAGs.
  • The senior elected official has final approval authority to exceed PAGs. Exceeding 5 REM TEDE will be done on a voluntary basis only, volunteers must be fully informed of health risk prior to taking such missions.
  • The Gaston County fire departments and the Landfill Department have the responsibility for coordination of monitoring, decontamination, and waste disposal actions (with support from the NC. Radiation Protection Section).
  • When any monitoring station obtains radiation readings exceeding 300 count per minute (CPM), the monitoring station will take the following actions:
  • Notify the Gaston County EOC and/or the representative from SERT.
  • Be prepared to assist in decontamination and in the containment and disposal of wastes such as clothes, water, or materials resulting from decontamination.
  • Field monitoring data collected during the initial hours of an announced emergency will be transmitted or delivered to Gaston County EOC for analysis. Duke Energy Company will assist in the interpretation of this data.
  • When decontamination is to be conducted, a representative from SERT will be dispatched to the scene to supervise the decontamination and waste disposal activities, if possible.

Recovery, Reentry & Post Incident Operations

The problems involved in reentry and recovery operations are in direct proportion to the amount of radioactive contamination received and remaining. North Carolina Radiation Protection (RP) is the lead agency in the collection and analysis of monitoring reports and air, foliage, and water samples. RP will be assisted by qualified personnel from the Duke Energy.

Analysis findings will be submitted to the Chief of Radiation Protection, who will forward the findings with his recommendations to the SERT leader. This information will then be submitted to the highest elected official of the government concerned with a recommendation for reentry or for continued evacuation of the area.

Reentry authorization will be made by the senior elected official of the area concerned. Emergency service organizations will be immediately informed and the PIO/JIC will release the announcement to the news media with any additional instructions or information as appropriate.

  • Recovery and post-incident operations will continue as long as required after a reentry is authorized. These actions will include:
  • Decontamination of people, animals, property, food, and water.
  • Continued security of all public and private property, including unauthorized entry into contaminated areas.
  • Health and medical services for evacuees.
  • Continuous monitoring of people and property, including long-term monitoring.
  • Proper radioactive waste disposal.

The Gaston County EOC will coordinate Local Support during the reentry and recovery phase, utilizing the same resources used in the evacuation phase.