Saturday, April 06, 2013

Successful Caribbean test demonstrates progress in regional tsunami readiness

Over 44,000 people from 30 Members States and 15 of the territories* in the Caribbean and Adjacent Regions participated in the second full scale regional tsunami exercise held on March 20, 2013. The goal was to test the Tsunami and other Coastal Hazards Warning System for the Caribbean and Adjacent Regions (CARIBE EWS), which was established in 2005 by the countries of the region in collaboration with UNESCO’s Intergovernmental Oceanographic Commission (IOC), ensuring that the national focal points responsible for the dissemination of the alert and first responders receive timely warning.

The exercise was initiated with a first dummy message issued by the Pacific Tsunami Warning Center (PTWC) and the West Coast and Alaska Tsunami Warning Center (WC/ATWC), at 13:02 UTC (9:02 AST) and disseminated over its standard broadcast channels to all its stakeholders and focal points. The message was issued according to schedule to the official Tsunami Warning Focal Points, and none of the institutions have reported issues with the reception of the message from the Tsunami Warning Center.
The Puerto Rico Seismic Network and other national and regional organizations also issued messages for its areas of responsibility. Sirens, emails, emergency alert systems, text messages, media outlets, NOAA weather radio, and social media were used by many focal points to further disseminate the messages. In addition to the communication tests, exercises were conducted at various additional levels of magnitudes and sophistication and included seminars, table top exercises, video/web conferencing and drills.   

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