Newspaper: The Evening Sentinel
Date: April 4, 1979
Title: Local Planners Deserve Praise
As the “good news” coming from Three Mile Island allays our worst fears, Cumberland County’s unsung heroes continue their work for what could be the ultimate test: evacuation.
Cumberland’s problem remains twofold-evacuate part of the county (mostly the West Shore area) while the eastern area serves as a host for those who would be fleeing from the immediate danger zone. Ever since the official warning was given, this planning has continued virtually nonstop in the basement of the courthouse.
Civil defense, county, and local officials have stood by their stations, continuing to fine tune these plans, even though they had to have great concern for their own families and themselves. It is unselfish dedication of the highest order, something that should not go unnoticed when Pennsylvania is clear of the crisis.
If there is a paradox of Three Mile Island-providing we do indeed escape a more serious development-it must be in the value of this emergency planning. Although the warning area was delayed by Metropolitan Edison’s stupendous disregard for public safety, the situation put county officials under extreme pressure to complete a plan that would work without creating panic or confusion.
No test, no number of “paper plans” can simulate what the planners have had to go through since last Tuesday. It shows that Cumberland County can react to an emergency and it will provide invaluable lessons and training for those who would have to implement such a plan.
In short, we will come out of this horrifying incident with a better sense of what to do, and how to do it, should we be faced with another possible-or real-catastrophy.