Emergency Communications

Provisions have been made for communications networks to support all emergency response organizations throughout the course of an emergency. These networks are formed using Duke Energy Dedicated Line, commercial telephone service, Duke Energy Company radio systems, local government emergency services two-way radio systems, facsimile machines, and State and Federal government communications.

To assure that an immediate level of alert and notification readiness is available, the following emergency response facilities are staffed 24 hours a day:

  • The McGuire and Catawba Nuclear Station control rooms.
  • The State Warning Point is located at the State Emergency Operations Center and Highway Patrol Communications Center in Raleigh, NC.
  • The Gaston County Warning Point is located at the County Communications Center.
  • The National Weather Service Forecast Office for North Carolina in Raleigh at North Carolina State University.
  • The National Weather Forecast Office in Greer, SC., serves Gaston County.

The following principal emergency response organizations are not staffed 24 hours a day but are required to have key personnel on call.

  • Gaston County Emergency Management.
  • The North Carolina Department of Emergency Management
  • The North Carolina Radiation Protection Section, Department of Environment and Natural Resources.

Communications Between Response Organizations

The Duke Energy Dedicated System is the primary means of communication between Mecklenburg, Lincoln, Iredell, Catawba, Cabarrus, and Gaston counties and the State of North Carolina (McGuire) and Mecklenburg, York, SC. counties, the States of North and South Carolina (Catawba). The State telephone conferencing system is the primary means of communication between the State and Federal response organizations.

  • The State Emergency Management radio network is the primary two-way radio communication link with contiguous local governments.
  • The Division of Criminal Information (DCI), with terminals located in the Gaston County 911 Center, in contiguous local governments, and in both North Carolina and South Carolina EOCs can be used for emergency communications between the two-state governments and can be used for emergency communications between these points and Gaston County.
  • The State Rescue radiofrequency can also be used for emergency communications with contiguous local governments.
  • The Duke's Dedicated System is used for the coordination of sirens and EAS, and protective actions.

Communications Between Duke Energy Company, the State & Gaston County

The primary means of communication between either the McGuire or Catawba Nuclear Station, State EOC (SERT), NCEM Western Branch Office, and the Gaston County EOC will be the Duke Dedicated System. (Facsimile capabilities are available for hard copy communications.)

Back-up communications between these points and SERT Headquarters will be commercial telephone, facsimile, and two-way radio systems. These systems will be provided by expanding the existing systems now operated by Duke Energy Company, the North Carolina EOC, and Gaston County Emergency Management. System expansion in all cases will include the addition of base stations, mobile units and hand-carried portable units, as required.

Medical Services Communications

Gaston County EMS (GEMS) and County rescue vehicles can communicate with each other and with contiguous counties and hospitals on the State Rescue radiofrequency.

Radiological Monitoring and Decontamination Communications

Information from the field will be transmitted via Gaston County Fire Department's frequency. The Gaston County Sheriff's Department frequency will be the secondary means for transmission.

Information on radiological monitoring from SERT will be transmitted via commercial telephone.

Periodic Communications Tests

Gaston County's emergency services radios are utilized constantly. Therefore, testing is a continuous process.

Communications with the State will be tested on a monthly basis.

Communications between the County EOC, State EOC, and field assessment teams may be tested annually.

See Part 1, State Plan, Section VI, for testing of State and Federal communications links.

Additional Back-up Communication

If requested and available, the North Carolina State Highway Patrol can position a radio-equipped patrol car at the County EOC to provide backup communications. In an extreme emergency, this patrol car may transport hard-copy messages.

If necessary, the EOC-emergency shelter communications link, commercial telephone, will be supplemented by amateur radio support or by positioning a radio-equipped law enforcement vehicle at each shelter.

Readiness Capabilities

The Gaston County Communications Center is the County Warning Point.

The Gaston County Communications Center radio system is the direction and control network and is capable of the following communications controls:

  • Notification and Warning
  • Traffic Control
  • Radiological Assessment

Shelter Communications

  • Commercial Telephone
  • Emergency Vehicles
  • Back-up communications by Amateur Radio.

Communications for Decontamination

  • The decontamination stations will be staffed by volunteer firefighters and sheriff deputies.
  • The Gaston County Fire Department's radio channel will be used to call in radiological assessment information to EOC.