Catastrophic tsunamis are rare, but we may have a tendency to get complacent and think that one will never happen while we’re at the beach. However, every coastline in the world is vulnerable to a tsunami. Although a tsunami cannot be prevented, you can diminish adverse impacts through community preparedness, timely warnings and effective response.
California’s Tsunami Preparedness Week is held in March. Cal OES, the California Geological Survey (CGS), and the NWS conduct a conference call with emergency managers from counties along the coast to test several aspects of the tsunami response, including the ability of the National Tsunami Warning Center (NTWC) to send and coast emergency organizations to receive specific tsunami alert messages.
During the conference call, representatives from the NTWC, Cal OES and CGS also test their ability to accurately calculate and verify information contained in draft Tsunami Evacuation Playbooks are used by local emergency to determine if an evacuation is necessary and how big of an area.
The test also allows emergency managers from coastal communities to confirm their ability to receive playbook-related information, test their ability to make decisions regarding evacuation, and as well as to test their abilities to communicate information to port and harbor officials, as well as to test their reverse notification and other warning systems reaching people in coastal hazard areas.
Other activities scheduled in coastal counties throughout the state during Tsunami Preparedness Week include tsunami evacuation walk drills, community meetings, workshops, presentations, outreach events, BBQ’s, festivals, 5k runs, and a host of other events.