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Sirens to Sound as Part of Drill Around Onofre

Times Staff Writers

Community alert sirens will sound for several minutes this morning in communities surrounding the San Onofre Nuclear Generating Station as part of an emergency preparedness drill for area fire and law enforcement agencies.

The testing of sirens within a 10-mile radius of San Onofre is an annual exercise required by federal regulation, authorities said.

It coincides with a two-day simulated-disaster drill, one of many held each year to help train local agencies and emergency personnel to work together quickly and effectively in the event of a nuclear catastrophe at the San Onofre plant, Southern California Edison spokesman Dave Barron said.

On Wednesday, police and firefighters began the drill by setting up emergency stations and other activities that would be necessary in the event of a disaster.

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Sirens to Be Tested

Operations centers were established in Santa Ana, San Juan Capistrano and San Clemente, according to an Orange County Fire Department spokesman. In addition, warning sirens within 10 miles of the plant are slated to be tested between 10 and 11 a.m. today.

The drill, called one of the largest of its type in the history of San Onofre, is required by the Nuclear Regulatory Commission so that local law enforcement authorities are prepared to evacuate civilians should a life-threatening situation develop.

Orange County communications workers set up two emergency operations centers Wednesday, one in Santa Ana, the other in San Juan Capistrano.

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But the big test will be today.

“We escalate it tomorrow,” Orange County Fire Department dispatcher Art York said. Asked how the drill would be escalated, York responded, “We’re not getting the scenario--they’re testing us to watch our response.”

Agencies participating include Orange and San Diego County Fire and Sheriff’s departments, the cities of San Clemente and San Juan Capistrano, the state Department of Parks and Recreation and the U.S. Marine Corps.

Fifty sirens will be tested around San Onofre State Park, Camp Pendleton and the communities of Capistrano Beach, Dana Point, San Clemente and San Juan Capistrano.

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