For Immediate ReleaseMarch 16, 2016
Preparedness workshop scheduled for March 29 in Stinson Beach
San Rafael, CA – Five years after the devastating Tohuku Tsunami that struck the east coast of Japan, Marin County is more tsunami-ready because of vigorous education and awareness efforts.
On March 15, the Marin County Board of Supervisors proclaimed the week of March 20-26 as Tsunami Preparedness Week, and the Marin County Sheriff’s Office of Emergency Services (OES) remains resolute in making Marin residents as prepared as they can be for a sudden and potentially deadly rogue waves and tides. OES is coordinating a Tsunami Preparedness Community Workshop on March 29 at the Stinson Beach Community Center.
“Tsunamis are among Earth’s most infrequent hazards, but the threat exists here because we can’t predict where, when, or how destructive the next one will be,” said Ursula Hanks, an OES coordinator. “There is no such thing as tsunami season such as there is with tornados or hurricanes. Just as with earthquake preparedness, we have to be ready all the time. It’s a lifestyle commitment we must make for living in this beautiful place.”
Twelve hours after the earthquake struck near Sendai, Japan, in March 2011, subdued but large tsunami waves arrived on Marin’s Pacific coastline and wrapped themselves around San Francisco Bay as far as San Rafael’s Loch Lomond Marina. Although financial damage was minimal, it was a spectacular reminder about the need for 24-7 disaster preparedness.
Strong earthquakes occurring elsewhere on the Pacific “Ring of Fire,” especially Alaska, give Marin little warning of the overwhelming waves that move up to 500 mph. A massive earthquake in the central Aleutian Islands of Alaska could send 30-foot waves to the Marin coast within about five hours. Japan is still reeling from a disaster that left about 22,000 dead, hundreds of thousands of residents homeless, and cost about $300 billion.
“While remaining calm, you must get yourself and your family to higher ground immediately and stay there until informed by official sources that it is safe to go back,” Hanks said. “The tsunami is not the largest wave, and its duration can be many hours. We have worked hard to install warning signage at our coast, promote speedy mass notifications, encourage training, conduct first-responder exercises, and not let up on community outreach. It takes all that to maintain tsunami-ready status.”
OES recommends the following steps:
Ursula HanksCoordinatorOffice of Emergency Services
Emergency Operations Facility1600 Los Gamos DriveSuite 200San Rafael, CA 94903(415) 473-6584Email: Ursula HanksOES website