I’ve hidden under desks in duck-and-cover Tornado drills and evacuated buildings in a single file line in fire drills but never before had I seen people ask nurses and highway patrolmen questions in a mock Press Conference. That’s what I witnessed this week when I trucked it down to Irvine in the O.C. to cover drills being done at and about the San Onofre nuclear plant.

The 84-acre San Onofre plant, located on the Pacific Coast, generates a lot of power and though FEMA officials say there has never been a fatality at a any nuclear plant in the U.S. Thoughts of Three Mile Island, Chernobyl and the recent crisis at the Fukushima plant come to mind.

This week as the plant in Japan reached a Level 7 on the International Nuclear Event Scale (the highest level), white “smoke” was still observed coming from 3 of the Units. Japan’s Nuclear and Industrial Safety Agency reported that the Tokyo Electric Power Company had begun to install a backup line for providing fresh water to the Reactor Pressure Vessels. Overall, the situation at the Fukushima Daiichi nuclear power plant is still very serious, but there are signs of recovery in some functions, such as electrical power and instrumentation according to the International Atomic Energy Agency

California Emergency Management Agency officials urge the public to prepare a safety kit, which includes multiple bottles of water, batteries, flashlights and non-perishable food. They say to make sure you have a meet-up plan set up with your family and loved ones, so that everyone knows exactly where to meet up. More of their safety tips can be found on the Cal Emergency site.

Southern California Edison ensures that in the wake of a disaster, the San Onofre plant can withstand it. “We have a ton of backup generators,” says Steve Conroy of Edison.