By Brooks Baehr - bio | email
EWA BEACH (HawaiiNewsNow) – The more than 250 people who attended an emergency preparedness meeting in Ewa Beach Tuesday night were told Hawaii does not face the same kind of tsunami threat as Japan and that people here should have confidence in the state's published tsunami evacuation zones.
"My concern is about the inundation zones that are listed on the phone books," said Ewa Beach resident Shannon Vrechek. "After seeing the videos from Japan and what seemed like water going in for miles, and the Ewa Plain being a plain of flat land … it does concern me. Are those maps truly accurate? Really. Are we safe a block and a half in?" she asked.
"We don't face the same level of hazard as the places around the Pacific Rim that have a great subduction zone right off their coast. Certainly we can have big earthquakes and have had on the Big Island that can produce a significant tsunami, but our hazard is not at the same level," said Chip McCreary, director of the Pacific Tsunami Warning Center.
Ed Teixeira, vice director of State Civil Defense, told the crowd the evacuation zones listed in phone books (yellow pages) are based on 100 years of historical data and the evidence suggests they are accurate. He conceded that if he lived just outside an evacuation zone and a tsunami warning had been issued, he would probably take the extra precaution and head for higher ground.
Residents were urged to make disaster plans and organize disaster supply kits.
The meeting was organized by state Representative Kymberly Pine and held at Ewa Makai Middle School.