April designated Tsunami Awareness Month in Hawaii - Hawaii News Now - KGMB and KHNL

April designated Tsunami Awareness Month in Hawaii

New tsunami evacuation sign installed on Kauai New tsunami evacuation sign installed on Kauai
New tsunami evacuation sign installed on Kauai New tsunami evacuation sign installed on Kauai
LIHUE, KAUAI (HawaiiNewsNow) -

In an effort to encourage residents and visitors to become informed about tsunami hazards and what to do in the event of a tsunami, April has been designated as Tsunami Awareness Month in Hawaii.

“We are all very much aware of the devastation a tsunami can cause,” said Mayor Bernard Carvalho, Jr. “I would like to encourage everyone to learn all that they can about tsunamis and be prepared to evacuate if necessary.”

The mayor noted that while most tsunami threats would come with hours of advanced warning, a tsunami generated from a Big Island earthquake could reach Kauai's shores roughly 45 minutes following the quake.

“A locally generated tsunami would give us little time to notify the public and clear people out of the tsunami evacuation zone,” said Elton Ushio, Kauai Civil Defense manager. “If a tsunami warning is issued for a locally generated event, anyone within the tsunami evacuation zone should immediately evacuate to higher ground.”

The Kauai Civil Defense Agency has taken a proactive approach to help Kauai residents prepare for severe weather threats, and is designated a TsunamiReady and StormReady community by the National Weather Service.

Last year, KCDA completed an update of Kauai's tsunami evacuation zone maps, which replaced maps from the 1990s.

The updated maps are based on the latest technology, which utilizes bathymetric/ocean-floor mapping and computer modeling done by the University of Hawai‘i at Manoa.

The maps are available on the county website, www.kauai.gov/civildefense, the National Weather Service website, http://tsunami.csc.noaa.gov/map.html, as well as in the latest editions of local phone directories.

“Among the most frequent calls that we get during tsunami warnings are questions from businesses, residents and visitors asking if they are in a tsunami evacuation zone,” said Mark Marshall, KCDA emergency management administrative officer. “So I strongly encourage residents and visitors alike to review the evacuation maps in the phone books as part of their personal, family or organizational preparedness.”

A recent initiative completed by KCDA is a signage project that directs people along evacuation routes and safely guides them out of evacuation zones.

In addition to directional signs, other signs read “Entering Tsunami Hazard” or “Leaving Tsunami Hazard Zone”.

A total of 128 signs were placed along county and state roadways around the island.

KCDA also created a tsunami awareness brochure that is available at the KCDA office located Lihu‘e at 3990 Ka‘ana Street, Suite 100 or on KCDA's website.

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