Be prepared with potassium iodide
If you live within a 10-mile radius of one of Pennsylvania's five nuclear power plants, the Department of Health wants to help make sure you're protected in case of an emergency.
The department is offering free potassium iodide tablets to those people on Thursday, Aug. 4. The tablets are also called KI tablets, named for the atomic symbols of the elements.
“KI tablets are an important part of emergency preparedness plans and go kits for residents who live or work within 10 miles of a nuclear facility,” said Secretary of Health Dr. Karen Murphy in a news release. “KI can help protect the thyroid gland against harmful radioactive iodine when taken as directed during certain radiological emergencies. It’s important to remember that you should only take KI when told to do so by the governor or state health officials.”
Adults will receive four 65-milligram tablets. Children will be given smaller doses based on age. The tablets come with directions on when to take them and how to store them. Health department staff will be on site to answer questions.
Those near Peach Bottom Atomic Power Station can get tablets from 2-7 p.m. at Delta Cardiff Fire Department, 500 Main St., Delta, and at East Drumore Township Municipal Building, 925 Robert Fulton Highway in Quarryville, Lancaster County.
Tablets for those near Three Mile Island can be picked up from 2-7 p.m. at these locations:
- Fairview Township Fire Department, 340 Lewisberry Road, New Cumberland
- Goldsboro Municipal Building, 53 N. York St., Goldsboro
- Middletown Borough, Main Street Gym, 32 W. Main St., Middletown
- Hummelstown Fire Hall, 249 E. Main St., Hummelstown
- Masonic Villages – Salon 2, Freemasons Cultural Center, One Masonic Drive, Elizabethtown
Employers within that 10-mile radius can pick up tablets for their employees by contacting the health department at 1-877-724-3258. KI tablets are available throughout the year at county and municipal health departments or state health centers located within the 10-mile radius.
Schools within the 10-mile radius have the option of distributing KI tablets to their students. Schools can work directly with the health department to get a supply.
The tablets are safe for pregnant women and those who are breastfeeding, according to the department. People on thyroid medication, children and infants also can take the tablets. Some people may be allergic to the medication, so officials recommend talking to a health care provider about any questions.
For more information on KI tablets, visit health.pa.gov.
— Reach Katherine Ranzenberger at firstname.lastname@example.org or on Twitter at @YDKatherine.