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Tsunami Messaging Project


Participants on this webinar are listed at the bottom of this page.

These are notes following the webinar-enabled discussion held July 24, 2014, about tsunami safety – safety zones and evacuation.

Flag choice of which words you use tend to be from where you are. Very location specific.

If you are…(location) and (experience what?) then do this:

If you are on the beach and…
… feel an (long rolling) earthquake …
… then: protect yourself from the earthquake (DCHO) then move (walk/run/not boat) off the beach, go to high ground, and get (obtain) more information.

“Go” vs. “Get to” – language issue

We see these 3 phrases:

  • Go to high ground or inland away from the water
  • Go to higher ground
  • Go inland and to high ground

Social science informs us that people respond better to the word “go” than the words “get to”. That may have to do with one's first language where the word “go” is less ambiguous that “get” which can mean “move” or “take” or “obtain.”

In case of earthquake: signs on the beach in CA say “go to high ground or inland”.

alt: “go to a safe place or inland.” Know where your safe high ground is.

East Coast prefers: “Go inland” first THEN to “high ground.”

RCTWG brochures say “tsunami zone” and “safe area”

Tsunami Zone

…is defined during outreach. Pictures in brochures show yellow tsunami zone moving to a white safe area.

“zone” is synonymous with “area” (CA)

What about “you need to respond no matter what size earthquake you feel?”

That depends on what form the earthquake takes.

Evacuation – what to do, where to go, and how far?

  • Every event is an opportunity to practice evacuation route and plan.
  • If you understand where your zone is, the more prepared you will be to evacuate properly.
  • Entering and leaving signs are an indication that you've gone far enough. Evacuation routes and end points are a method to achieve “proper” evacuation.
  • Maps provide more specific information … how high and how far is specific to a location.
  • Feet levels may be older information.
  • “The biggest tsunami ever (here) was as high as…” helps to recast their understanding.

So what do we do in the circumstance where there are not maps?

If there are no maps or signs, here are general guidelines:

  • listen to local media (TV, radio)
  • ask a local resident
  • lead the way with a group of people
  • go to high ground or inland – an area 100 feet above sea level or two miles inland.

Use these as general guidelines (that err on the side of safety) when you have no other information, maps, or signs to guide you.

07/24/2014 webinar participants

Amanda Admire Arcata CA Humboldt State University
Rocky Lopes Silver Spring MD NWS HQ Tsunami Program
Royal McCarthy Eureka CA CalTrans/RCTWG
Kevin Miller San Franscisco CA California OES
Sue Perry Pasadena CA U.S. Geological Survey
Christa Rabenold Silver Spring MD NWS HQ Tsunami Program
Walt Zaleski Forth Worth TX NWS Southern Region

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messagenotes07242014.txt · Last modified: 2014/08/04 12:50 by rocky