Get Ready Cordova! The Tsunami siren is going to go off on March 23rd at ~9:45 a.m.! Your TV will alert you! And your radio broadcast will alert you! Your NOAA radio, if you have one, will alert you! It may seem as if there is something really happening! But, NO FEAR, this will only be a test.
The State of Alaska Division of Homeland Security and Emergency Management, in cooperation with the West Coast / Alaska Tsunami Warning Center, the National Weather Service and the Alaska Broadcasters Association will be conducting the test of the State’s Tsunami Warning System. This test is done in conjunction with the 47th anniversary of the 1964 Alaska earthquake and Governor Parnell’s declaration of the week March 22-26 as Tsunami Awareness Week. This week has also been designated as the national tsunami awareness week and the nation’s tsunami warning system will conduct a communications exercise on this Wednesday as well.
Alaska will use the exercise to conduct a “real code” test of the State’s emergency alert system. The State’s emergency broadcast system (every television and radio broadcast in the State) and NOAA Weather Radio system will deliver a test tsunami warning message. While the message will be a “test” message, the codes used to activate the system will be the real codes used in an actual tsunami warning. This allows Alaska to verify the warning and alert system is programmed correctly for a tsunami emergency.
It is the perfect time to test our local response procedures and many Cordovans will be participating. All children in the Cordova School district will be evacuating the schools, possibly toting the neon colored emergency backpacks that were distributed to the schools last year during the AK Shield 2010 exercise. Although the backpacks do not contain much now, they will eventually be filled with items like gloves, flashlights, and other emergency items. Additionally, City Hall employees will be practicing evacuation procedures, hauling with them the pre-positioned “Brown Boxes”, filled with the information they need to respond to disasters. And perhaps YOU can use this time to reflect upon what you would do during a tsunami warning. Where YOU would go. What YOU would take from your home or office if you need to evacuate.
During any community disaster, the city disaster webpage (if it is working after the event) is intended to give you detailed information. Please check the website out during the March 23rd tsunami drill. Go to www.cityofcordova.net . Follow the link that tells you where to go in the event of a disaster. Each family that does so will receive a small gift from Cordova Volunteer Fire Department…but more importantly, you will have educated yourselves.
Participate in the drill. If you are a business owner, practice evacuation with your employees. If you are an employee, ask your boss about their emergency plans. If you are a mother, prepare your evacuation To-Go kit. If you are a senior, make a plan. We can all do something to prepare. Be prudent. Be ready.