What happened with the Province of Ontario?
Just after 7 am Sunday morning the Ontario government sent out a mass alert to the resident of Ontario telling people that there was an “incident” at the Pickering Nuclear Generating Station. The alert also said, “There has been no abnormal release of radioactivity from the station and emergency staff are responding to the situation.”
Almost 2 hours later (shortly after 9 am) an update was issued stating, “There has been NO abnormal release of radioactivity from the station,” the alert read. “People near the Pickering Nuclear Generating Station DO NOT need to take any protective actions at this time.” Various staff within OPG have commented saying they knew quite quickly saying they new there was no problem, yet an official update took close to 2 hours to be issued.
People took to various media channels to get updates on the situation, but many felt actual panic and thought the worst. Two hashtags generated a ton of conversations – #pickeringnuclear and #PickeringNuclearStation as they continue trend.
Please see my statement in response to the Pickering Nuclear Generating Station emergency alert. There was no incident at the Pickering Nuclear Generating Station that should have triggered public notification. Nor was there ever any danger to the public or environment. pic.twitter.com/F9dnQCCWgD
— Sylvia Jones (@SylviaJonesMPP) January 12, 2020
Why did it happen with #pickeringnuclear?
An investigation is still taking place to get all the facts before the public will know the full cause. We do know that there was a human error somewhere within the entire process. What made matters worse is the 2 hour delay to provide an update from either the Ontario Government, or Ontario Power Generation, Pickering Power Plant.
What can you learn from #PickeringNuclearStation?
- Your organization should consider having a crisis communications plan
- Media training for executives is important
- Response times can make the difference on the size of a crisis