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Yuma Desalting Plant to Conduct Shelter in Place Emergency Readiness Exercise

Thursday, December 1

YUMA, Arizona – The Bureau of Reclamation's Yuma Area Office (YAO) is conducting a "Shelter in Place" emergency readiness exercise on Thursday, December 1, at the Yuma Desalting Plant, located at 7301 Calle Agua Salada. The exercise will test the plant’s emergency readiness, evacuation and safety procedures in the event the facility experienced a chemical gas release. YAO conducts these exercises semi-annually to test the facilities’ and employees’ operational response readiness for reacting to worst-case emergency scenarios.

The Shelter in Place exercise will involve plant employees taking immediate shelter in predetermined locations throughout the facility and sealing off those locations from outside potential contaminants until first responders can arrive and stabilize the situation.

Beginning at 9:00 a.m., the Yuma Desalting Plant's Chemical Alarm Siren System will be activated for no more than 10 minutes to simulate an accidental chemical gas release from the facility. The alarm siren system is used to inform on-site personnel to shelter in place and notify the onsite Emergency Response Teams to muster and prepare to respond.

The Chemical Alarm Siren System can alert both on-site personnel as well as nearby residents that a potential emergency condition exists at the plant. The siren is very loud and can be heard several miles away. No action or response is necessary from residents or businesses located off-site of the plant during the emergency test procedure.

Shelter in Place emergency readiness exercises typically involve staying indoors and awaiting further instructions from first responders. During extreme circumstances, sheltering in place could include additional precautions such as turning off fans, air conditioners, and forced air heating systems to reduce any potential for air contamination from an incidental chemical gas release.

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