The week of March 26th is Tsunami Preparedness Week which aims to educated residents and visitors of what to do if a tsunami threatens the coastal jurisdictions. A tsunami is a series of waves typically caused by earthquakes or undersea volcanos and as tsunami waves travel towards the shore the height of the waves increases as the depth of the ocean decreases. When the National Tsunami Warning Center sends out an alert to local and state officials it comes in three levels:
- Watch (lowest level, monitoring)
- Advisory (mid-level, threat of a potential tsunami)
- Warning (highest level, threat is imminent).
During tsunami alerts the protective action communicated is always to “seek higher ground” and leave low lying areas and beaches immediately. North of Aster, south of Legion, and north of Forest/Broadway (for downtown) and out of the Aliso Beach and Victoria Beach areas (for south Laguna) is deemed out of the inundation zone. Mass notification system such as AlertOC (www.alertoc.com), Nixle (text 92561 to 888-777), and possibly the Wireless Emergency Alerts (Amber Alerts) would be activated to make notification to the public.
Recently, the City of Laguna Beach has taken increased steps for tsunami preparedness by placing clearly marked signage along our tsunami evacuation route and installing a new downtown and Main Beach siren/speaker system called an LRAD. The LRAD would be used to alert the downtown and Main Beach area of an emergency where the public needs to take immediate action; we plan on testing the system soon.
While tsunamis are a threat to Laguna Beach our shoreside cliffs and the direction our beaches face keep us more protected then the other Orange County coastal jurisdictions.
Laguna Beach is taking steps to become the “Most Prepared City in Orange County” by having residents take a pledge to make an emergency kit and a plan. To join the effort, go to www.lagunabeachcity.net/getprepared and make the pledge.