The threat of a tsunami from Japan in March revealed many holes in education and communication, holes that Oregon agencies are working actively to address. One of the major issues brought up was that two tsunami warning sirens in Tillamook county failed to activate. Yesterday, a tsunami drill in that county introduced a new possible system to make people aware of a tsunami.
In addition to fire sirens and the typical alerts, the drill tested using a plane from the Civil Air Patrol equipped with an airborne announcement system to blast messaging along 15 miles of Oregon’s coast. The plane flew at 1,000 feet and was able to be heard 1.5 to 3 miles away. The drill was put on by the Tsunami Outreach Oregon education and awareness program, and administered by the Oregon Department of Geology and Mineral Industries, and Oregon Emergency Management.
Experts do want people to know that in the worst case scenario, a shallow quake off the Oregon coast, people will only have 15 to 25 minutes to evacuate. There likely will be no sirens, planes, or other means of communication – only the earthquake shock. That is why it is incredibly important for those living on the coast to be prepared for a tsunami by knowing what to do.