Tsunami exercises planned for Northwest States
| 05.09.2006 | 06:25:59 | Views: 2877 | ID:
May 9 '06: The Federal Emergency Management Agency announced Tuesday that a three day, multi-state tsunami exercise will be held in the Pacific Northwest later in May. "Pacific Peril" will "consist of a 'training day' presenting earthquake and tsunami hazards and response plans, a full day Command Post Exercise (CPX) and a final table top review," the FEMA website read.
That the US is looking into greater state, local and tribal cooperation on tsunami and earthquake preparedness reflects a larger international effort to help communities around the Pacific Rim to understand and be able to detect seismic forces which could result in devastating tsunamis like the one which hit Indian Ocean countries last year.During the three day exercise, officials will simulate a "catastrophic seismic event" which will trigger a large tsunami "that devastates Pacific coastal communities from British Columbia to northern California," the FEMA site read. "The exercise is designed to challenge participants with a high consequence scenario in order to better assess the effectiveness of existing response plans." Recently, greater urgency has been placed on real-time warning systems stemming from fears that an earthquake could trigger a tsunami which could slam into a beach community in the Pacific without prior warning. A 7.8-magnitude temblor in the Pacific last week was feared to possibly trigger a tsunami but the island nation of Tonga was never notified. Experts have said that in the event of a large wave, there is little time, sometimes only minutes, to warn coastal communities. In the case of Tonga, Costa Synolakis, a researcher of tusnamis at the University of Southern California said, "Even if they had received the warning, it would have been too late - it takes 10 minutes at best to issue a warning from the onset of seismic recordings at the (Pacific Tsunami Warning Center) PTWC." Northwest Regional Director for FEMA John Pennington said, "In any disaster, coordination, planning and unity of response are the key [determinants] of success. Exercises like Pacific Peril help us validate, correct and improve our joint response capabilities."
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