Yesterday I had the opportunity to observe at the South Texas Project Nuclear Power plant and Matagorda County Emergency Operation Center perform a mock drill.
I have attended another mock drill with STP and the hospital district, which by the way was great. You can read my article on that by clicking HERE.
But yesterday was different, mostly because it had many participants playing different roles and it felt like a real drill, but at a slower pace.
During this drill, I was allowed to walk through every single room in the area – the media room and the Joint Information Center and the emergency operation center.
Why you ask?
I had a badge that allowed me to walk through the different sections of the drill. I was tagged as an “observer” so it was like I was not really there.
I wanted to skip along and sing, “I have a golden ticket! I have a golden ticket!” But I wanted to look and act professional; after all I was representing the actual media.
What was fascinating about the situation is that I knew what the scenario was before most people knew – how did I do that? Hey, I had the golden ticket remember?
I was actually in the mock Joint Information Center when a call had come in reporting, wait, let me just begin by saying - This is a drill – (something that everyone has to say before they report on anything) a safety system had failed to automatically shut down the reactor in Unit 1. An alert was then declared based on a small radiation leak detected in Unit 1. And to make things more interesting Unit 2 was in a refueling outage. - This is a drill -
The most exciting part for me was walking in to the media mock room.
I was per say, the only actual media person in the room and felt excited and thrilled. Here I was, an actual reporter and looking at everyone else “act” out the role of reporters, not to mention excited since I already knew what the scenario was and they didn’t.
But then I got a bit sad. Here was an opportunity that I had, to act out as media in a mock drill and I was not asked to be a part of it? I do believe that in situations like these, the actual media would benefit from practicing as well.
Before the media press conference I introduced myself as a reporter, but since they were playing the roll of media, they assumed I was not real media.
I watched as each actor took turns acting as if they were live, reporting what was going on in front of a video camera.
“Hi, this is Maggie with Fox News…” and she would report “live” what was going on.
Had I had an opportunity, I would have grabbed the mic and said, "Hi, this is Adriana with CNN news. I have my co-anchor here, Anderson Cooper..."
Some of the mock media actors were engineering interns and were discussing what to ask during the mock media conference. I quickly jumped in and began to tell them a few questions I would have asked, had I been part of the drill.
Once the press conference began, the actors began to ask questions and the spokespersons for each department began to answer them.
- This is a drill -
As I sat there and watched everyone work their roles, I couldn’t help but think that even though I was just an observer, I could practice my own reporting skills.
So I pulled out my reporter’s notebook and started writing notes. I even pulled out my camera and began to take pictures of the press conference. Sorry, reporting is in my blood.
But on a serious note, I know this is important for both the county and the nuclear power plant. Each person takes their role seriously, I learned so much and it was very educational.
- This is a drill -
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