Watts Bar Emergency Preparedness
If you hear the sirens:
Check it out—it could be only a test. Siren tests occur for approximately three minutes in your area on the first Wednesday of each month at noon. If there is severe weather in the area at the time of a scheduled test, the sirens may not be tested.
Remember: Hearing a siren or tone-alert radio does not mean you should evacuate. It means turn on your radio or television and listen for instructions.
Tune to your local radio or television station and listen for details. WUSY-FM (100.7) in Chattanooga and WIVK-FM (107.7) in Knoxville are the primary and alternate EAS stations in the area and are monitored by other stations. A real warning could mean fire, tornado, chemical spill, nuclear incident or other emergency.
Most radio and television stations in the area participate in the EAS and will be making announcements. NOAA weather radio (162.55 MHz) will instruct listeners to tune to one of these stations.
Familiarize yourself with the Prompt Notification System. Click here to learn more.
Sign up for Nixle Emergency Information Service, an online messaging service adopted by the Tennessee Emergency Management Agency (TEMA) to provide information to instantly residents via cell phone. Click here to learn more.
Check on your neighbors.
Do not use the phone unless absolutely necessary. The phone lines need to be open for emergency workers. Do not call 911 for information if you hear the sirens.
If the warning involves an incident at Watts Bar, you might be advised to go indoors and close all windows, doors and other sources of outside air. You may be advised to monitor and prepare or you may be advised to leave (evacuate) your area. Click here for more information.
If you are advised to take shelter indoors
- Go indoors and stay there.
- Close all doors and windows.
- Shut off all systems that draw outside air into the house such as furnaces, air conditioners, fireplace vents and dampers.
- Stay tuned to your local EAS radio or television station. Emergency officials will be providing information and instructions over these stations.
- The primary and alternate EAS stations for the area are WUSY-FM (100.7) and WIVK-FM (107.7).
- Prepare to evacuate.
- If you must go outside, protect your breathing. Place a damp cloth or towel over your nose and mouth.
- If you are told that it is safe to go outside, try to check on your neighbors. They may not have heard the announcements.
- Do not use the phone unless you have a special emergency and need help. Leave the lines open for official business.
If you are advised to monitor and prepare
This is a precautionary action to advise the public within the Emergency Planning Zone (EPZ) that a serious emergency at the nuclear plant exists and you should monitor the situation and prepare for the possibility of evacuation, shelter in place or other protective actions.
If you are asked to leave (evacuate) the area
- Stay calm and do not rush. Evacuation can work properly and reduce your risk only if you act safely and calmly.
- Take a few items with you. Gather personal items you or your family might need, using the checklist this page.
- Turn off lights, appliances and water.
- As you leave, lock your house and tie a white cloth or white towel on your front door. This sign will let emergency workers know that everyone in your home has left the area.
- Please leave your pets at home with plenty of food and water. Pets will NOT be allowed in the public shelters.
- Use your own transportation or, if possible, make arrangements to ride with a neighbor. Keep car windows and air vents closed and listen to an EAS radio station.
- Use the map below to find the sector in which you live and the evacuation route you should follow.
- Follow the evacuation routes shown on the map. If you need a place to stay, shelter information points will be located along the controlled evacuation routes.
- Do not self-evacuate if you do not live or work in the designated evacuation sector(s).
- Go to the nearest reception center in your county and register as an evacuee.
If an evacuation is underway, members of the public who are NOT directed to evacuate should remain off the roadways to allow the evacuation to proceed.
In the event of an evacuation, first consideration is always given to the safety of children. Schools and childcare centers within the 10-mile Emergency Planning Zone will be paired with schools in safe areas for relocation. Click here for the full list of pairings.
While you are away
- Local police officers will secure the evacuated areas to protect homes and businesses.
- ONLY authorized persons will be allowed into the evacuated areas.
- Officials of the Tennessee Department of Radiological Health will monitor affected areas. You will be notified when it is safe to return home.
Evacuation zones, routes and map
If an evacuation is ordered, it is important that you follow the evacuation routes shown on the map below. The 10-mile Emergency Planning Zone (EPZ) is divided into sectors. For quick reference, locate the sector in which you live or work and write it in the space below.
Find the evacuation route for your zone. If an evacuation is ordered, locate the number for your sector and follow that route. Emergency workers will patrol these roads and will provide any aid or guidance you need.
NOTE: Individuals in doubt as to sector of residence or work should contact their local emergency management agency.
Tennessee Valley Authority
(inside local calling area)
(outside calling area)
McMinn County Emergency Management Agency
(423) 744-8105 or
Meigs County Emergency
Rhea County Emergency
Emergency Supplies Checklist
For the home
- First-aid kit
- Potassium iodide tablets*
- Portable radio, flashlight, extra batteries
For an evacuation
- Personal health products (shaving cream, toothbrush)
- Special diet food
- Blankets and pillows
- Cash, checkbook, credit cards
- Important papers
- Items for children (favorite toy, books, etc.)
- Change of clothing
- Potassium iodide tablets*
*Potassium iodide tablets—In cases where you may be exposed to certain types of radioactivity, the Tennessee Department of Health may direct you to take potassium iodide (KI) tablets. These tablets, when taken as directed, may reduce the amount of radioactive iodine absorbed by your body’s thyroid gland. Should an accidental release of radiation occur, KI will be available at all mass-care shelters. However, if you live within five miles of the plant and prefer to have
it on hand, you can pick up a supply at the following locations: Rhea County Health Department, 344 Eagle Lane, Evensville, Tenn. (423) 775-7819; or Meigs County Health Department, 389 River Road, Decatur, Tenn. (423) 334-5185.
Any questions concerning potassium iodide should be referred to the health departments listed above.