(WBIR- Oak Ridge) Some of the most dangerous materials known to man are housed in our back yard.
While unlikely, there is the potential for chemicals and radiation to impact the public at the Department of Energy's Y-12 National Security Security Complex, Oak Ridge National Laboratory, and the East Tennessee Technology Park (former K-25 site).
The state's emergency management agency, TEMA, has redrawn the boundaries for the potential impact and updated their emergency plan.
The emergency zone covers four counties in about a five-mile radius around each of the three DOE sites. About 50,000 people live and work in the zone.
Officials have divided it into sections A-Y and assigned each section with a specific evacuation route and shelter. All of the shelters are at nearby schools.
Oak Ridge resident Beto Cumming said he has always known there was a possibility of an emergency at the sites, but didn't know what to do if it happens.
"They test the siren system every month. I've wondered about what you should do if you hear it. I assume you're supposed to turn on the TV or radio. But there really hasn't been a lot of details given to us over the years," Cummings said.
"We don't want a lot of people just leaving without guidance. We need people to listen and follow directions," said TEMA East Spokesperson Steve Oglesby.
The routes are featured in detail in an online booklet.
The guide suggests an emergency kit including:
• The booklet
• First aid kit
• Candles and matches
• Portable radio
• Extra batteries
• Food and water
The booklet also explains the rarity of a major emergency.
The agency says the information is important for everyone whether you live in one of the zones or not. The tips could also be helpful during severe weather.
"If you're prepared for the worst thing that could happen, then you're prepared for most things that could happen," said Oglesby.