PAGs, or Protective Action Guides, are radiation dose guidelines that would trigger public safety measures, such as evacuation or staying inside, to safeguard public health after a radiation emergency has occurred. These are doses that the EPA suggests should be avoided. Emergency response organizations use the PAGs to develop their own local plans to protect the public in a radiation emergency.
The PAGs are not federal standards or laws. The manual recommends precautions that state and local officials can take during an emergency, but the decision to use the recommendations in the PAG Manual must be made by the local or state governments planning for or responding to a radiological event.
Because of these things, the PAG Manual cover the entire incident—from the immediate emergency, to the initial response, to the long term recovery and remediation of an area affected by a radiological emergency. It is possible that some protective actions, such as food safety measures, could stay in place to protect public health until the area is cleaned up.
For more information on emergency response in case of a nuclear or radiological incident, visit Radiological Emergency Response on EPA.gov.
For more information about the PAG Manual, visit the PAGs page on EPA.gov.