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Forum in Aberdeen focuses on tsunami safety


Forum in Aberdeen focuses on tsunami safety

Earthquake and tsunami specialists will discuss survival strategies and field public questions during a discussion on Aug 8.

The event is slated for 6 p.m. to 8 p.m., Wednesday, Aug. 8 at Aberdeen High School, 410 North G Street in Aberdeen. Among the issues to be discussed is if the community wants to pursue vertical evacuation structures and what other steps the community could pursue.

"We are going to talk about tsunami risks, evacuation options and support the community in figuring out what steps they might want to take next – whether that’s improvements to evacuation routes or tsunami vertical evacuation structures,” said Maximilian Dixon, earthquake program manager for the Washington State Emergency Management Division.

The series of speakers are national experts in their fields representing: Degenkolb Engineering, the Washington Geological Survey, the University of Washington, and the Washington State Emergency Management Division.

Dixon said he’s already been engaging in preparedness discussions with officials from the cities of Hoquiam and Cosmopolis, with Aberdeen Mayor Erik Larson and Aberdeen Schools Superintendent Alicia Henderson, who asked him to convene a panel for residents to attend and ask questions.

“Aberdeen led the nation some years ago by creating a Yellow Brick Road system -- a signage program to help lead residents to higher ground and safety during an earthquake and tsunami event,” said Chuck Wallace, the deputy director of emergency management for Grays Harbor County. “This is a system that has been adopted all over. I’m excited Aberdeen along with the cities of Hoquiam and Cosmopolis are once again taking the lead role on preparedness in our county and for all coastal communities.”

Beginning in March 2011, there were a series of meetings along coastal Grays Harbor to discuss the types and locations of tsunami vertical evacuation refuges. These efforts were referred to as Tsunami Project Safe Haven. Planning reports were assembled from this collaboration between Washington State Emergency Management Division and the University of Washington.

“We appreciate the support and information from the Washington State Emergency Management Division as we make preparations for earthquake and tsunami disasters,” said Dr. Alicia Henderson, Aberdeen School District Superintendent.

Later this year, the Washington State Emergency Management Division will be publishing a new Roadmap Manual. The manual will help coastal communities better plan for and build tsunami vertical evacuation refuges. This Aberdeen panel is part of the Roadmap project. In June, a similar discussion happened in Ocean Shores.

The National Tsunami Hazard Mitigation Program (NTHMP) is funding these efforts. NTHMP is also providing funding for tsunami inundation studies, improved signage and other projects related to tsunami planning and safety.

The meeting is hosted by the city of Aberdeen, the Aberdeen School District, the Washington State Emergency Management Division, Grays Harbor Emergency Management and the University of Washington Institute for Hazard Mitigation Planning and Research.

More information about the Washington coast tsunami risk and vertical evacuation can be found at