The Importance of Tsunami Awareness Week for Public Safety
Every year, from March 24 to 30, America commemorates National Tsunami Awareness Week. This occasion aims to increase public awareness of this natural event’s impact, its causes, and ways to prepare one to reduce damages.
Although some are familiar with Hawaii and California tsunamis, others may not be aware that they can affect other areas in the U.S. Use this week to educate yourself, your co-workers, and community members that we can all remain safe in the event of a tsunami.
What are the chances North America will get a tsunami, and what happens when an early warning system is not in place? For National Tsunami Awareness week, this blog will discuss the history of tsunamis in the U.S., the importance of an early warning system and how an emergency alert system can help mitigate the damage of a tsunami.
History of tsunamis in the U.S.
Many Americans believe that tsunamis only affect other parts of the globe. But the largest recorded tsunami occurred in Lituya Bay, Alaska, in 1958. The tsunami caused waves of up to 1,720 feet. And the tsunami that caused the most economic loss also occurred in Alaska in 1946.
Looking at worldwide data, tsunamis frequently occur in the U.S. compared to other parts of the world. Unfortunately, since tsunamis occur less frequently than other natural disasters and can occur in any season, they often do not receive the respect and awareness they deserve.
The U.S. states that face the greatest tsunami risk are Alaska, California, Hawaii, and Washington. These states are all on the Pacific Coast, but the U.S. Caribbean Islands are also at a higher risk.
Importance of early warning systems
The importance of a tsunami advisory and early warning system can’t be understated. Early warning systems have proven effective in preparing and responding to natural disasters. Not only do early warning systems identify an impending tsunami, but they also alert and send important information to people and communities that will be affected by one, so they can take action.
For example, the Indian Ocean tsunami on December 24, 2004, which killed at least 225,000 people, grabbed the world’s attention to the importance of early emergency alert systems. In response, the UN advanced a study to identify the gaps in early warning systems worldwide and called for a global early warning system (GEWS) for all natural hazards.
What warning systems are currently in place?
The U.S. Tsunami Warning Center partners with the NOAA (National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration) to determine and issue tsunami warnings. Included in this are earthquakes with the potential of generating a tsunami, which are monitored and linked to the USGS Latest Earthquakes Map.
Local radio, television, marine radio, wireless emergency alerts, NOAA Weather Radio and NOAA websites are the existing emergency alert systems that send out these tsunami warnings. In addition, outdoor sirens, local officials, text message alerts and telephone notifications are common ways to alert the public of a tsunami. In addition, the national public warning system, Emergency Alert System (EAS), regularly sends out an EAS test and will send out an alert during a national emergency.
In response to the 2004 Indian Ocean tsunami, the National Weather Service (NWS) and the National Tsunami Hazard Mitigation Program (NTHMP-led by the NOAA in partnership with the Federal Emergency Management Agency, the U.S. Geological Survey and 28 U.S. states and territories) created the TsunamiReady program. This program promotes tsunami awareness in partnership with local management, emergency agencies and communities to prepare and respond to tsunamis.
What warning systems are available and should be used?
In a tsunami, people’s safety is the number one priority. Unfortunately, access to electricity and reliable cellular communication may not be possible during a tsunami or severe weather. In addition, people will have evacuated, which makes knowing the whereabouts of everyone and sending out important information challenging.
However, an emergency notification system allows you to quickly and effectively contact people and send out emergency alerts even when people are spread out and utility lines are down. An emergency notification system is a cloud-based communication platform that lets you stay in touch during critical events such as natural disasters.
The best and most reliable mass messaging systems are secure platforms that are more robust and reliable than phone calls or emails. Since 2006, Regroup Mass Notification has offered such a platform and is trusted by government and public services, healthcare, enterprises and more.
The Regroup system is a quick, reliable and efficient way of sending and receiving communications during an emergency and helps mitigate loss and damage to property and lives. Regroup provides a fast, robust message throughput of up to 80,000 text/SMS messages per minute.
With the Regroup system, a business or organization can activate its emergency management and communication plans so everyone is aware of the situation and can take the necessary steps to protect themselves. After the event, people use the mass communication system to report their status and respond to all-clear notices.
In addition, the Regroup Geofencing feature allows an organization to easily create virtual fences and target notifications to people within selected areas. This option enables users to add entry and exit messages for people traveling into and out of designated areas. This is especially useful when your team comprises first responders or other emergency personnel.
Regroup Mass Notification partners with the National Weather Service (NWS) and is recognized as a Weather-Ready Nation (WRN) Ambassador by the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA). The integration with the NOAA weather and NWS allows Regroup to send real-time, location-based watches, warnings and alerts to team members automatically in any location across multiple channels. In addition, Regroup was one of the first companies to be approved by FEMA’s national system for local alerting– the Integrated Public Alert & Warning System (IPAWS).
Regroup also partners with TX360, a leading threat intelligence provider, to offer 24/7 monitoring of relevant information regarding risks to a business or organization. Threat intelligence helps organizations stay ahead of those risks and maintain business continuity.
Having the appropriate tools to stay informed and communicate with your team is crucial in avoiding danger during a natural disaster like a tsunami. Among these, a reliable mass notification system can be the most helpful by providing essential information and updates during times of uncertainty caused by disasters.
Undoubtedly natural disasters pose a severe threat to the safety and well-being of those in affected areas. These events can cause extensive damage to homes and property and even result in loss of life. To ensure the safety of your organization, it’s crucial to have a well-planned strategy in place to follow during a natural disaster. This includes having a communication plan that can be practiced and refined.
A mass notification system can assist in safeguarding individuals and organizations during various emergencies, not just tsunamis. Reach out to us to understand how a mass notification system can be a lifesaving tool.
Ready to see more? You can schedule a no-obligation demo of Regroup’s powerful notification system here.