Get Ready for a Tsunami

MARCH 27, 2014

Is Your Community Tsunami Ready?

If you live on the shore and in low coastal areas, you are at risk for tsunamis. The most destructive tsunamis have occurred along the coasts of California, Oregon, Washington, Alaska and Hawaii. Schools, playgrounds, hospitals and homes are often built in areas vulnerable to tsunamis. That’s why the National Weather Service developed the TsunamiReady Program. This program helps cities in coastal areas prepare for potential tsunami-related consequences and minimize loss. 

Is your community TsunamiReady? View the TsunamiReady Communities map to find out!  If your area is not on the list, join the more than 150 communities that are. To be recognized as a TsunamiReady community, here are some of the requirements that must be met: 

  • Establish a 24-hour warning point and emergency operations center;
  • Have more than one way to receive tsunami warnings and to alert public; and
  • Develop a formal tsunami plan, which includes holding emergency exercises.

For a full list of criteria and to download an application, visit the TsunamiReady website.

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America’s PrepareAthon Webinar Today

FEMA’s Individual and Community Preparedness Division invites the FEMA Regions and State, local, territorial, and tribal program managers and coordinators to participate in today’s webinar to learn about the America’s PrepareAthon! campaign and how to get involved.  The details are below. Please note that you must register in order to access the webinar.  If you cannot make it to the live presentation, the webinar will be recorded and available to view at a later time. 

Date:  March 27, 2014

Time: 2:00 – 3:00 PM EST

Webinar Registration Link (please register prior to the webinar):   

America’s PrepareAthon! events and activities will be held across the country twice a year to organize community days of action and encourage individuals to discuss, practice, and train for relevant hazards.  The two national days of action will be held in the spring and fall each year. The first America’s PrepareAthon! national day of action is April 30, 2014, and will focus on preparing organizations and individuals for tornadoes, hurricanes, flooding, and wild fires. The second national day of action this year will be September 30, 2014. 

America’s PrepareAthon! will leverage the resources of the Ready Campaign and the experience of members of the National Preparedness Community to continue to increase awareness of disasters and to encourage members of the public to know the corresponding protective actions. With your help, we can collectively move communities and individuals to act and become more prepared by participating in America’s PrepareAthon!. 

We hope that you can join us for the webinar.  For questions, please contact

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Survive the Waves

Preparation is vital in advance of any natural disaster. In honor of Tsunami Preparedness Week, take time to familiarize yourself with important tsunami terminology as well as the early warning signs of these giant waves which include:  

  • A strong earthquake lasting 20 seconds or more near a coastal area;
  • A sudden unexpected rise or fall of the ocean tide or height; and
  • A loud, roaring sound coming from the ocean.

In addition to having an emergency supply kit and family communications plan, the following are things you can do to prepare and protect yourself, your family and property from the effects of a tsunami:

  • Learn your communities warning systems and disaster plans including evacuation routes;
  • Know the tsunami history and flooding elevation of the area where you live, work or visit; and
  • Find out the location of the nearest tsunami shelter or safe area.

If a tsunami warning has been issued for your area, move inland to higher ground immediately and stay away from the beach. Follow evacuation orders issued by authorities. Take your pets with you and remember to check on neighbors who may require special assistance.

For more information about tsunami awareness and safety, download this factsheet and take your preparedness efforts to the next level. 

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Preparedness with Mrs. Virginia International

Mrs. Virginia International, Cheryl Nelson, who recently was a featured member on the National Preparedness Community for her strong platform of Natural Disaster Preparedness, is a role model in Virginia and the nation for her strong belief that everyone should be prepared. She has spent countless hours attending events and traveling the country spreading the FEMA message of, “Make a Plan, Build a Kit, Be Informed, Get Involved.” In support of Women’s History Month, Cheryl spoke with the Region III’s Individual and Community Preparedness Division to share her thoughts on preparedness and the role of women in Emergency Management.

Here are a few of Cheryl’s thoughts on the topic and the resources she suggest when engaging the community. You can read Cheryl’s full interview here!

What are four ways you would suggest to to help women increase their basic disaster preparedness?

1.      Know your risk. Learn about your region and region-specific natural disasters. FEMA has some excellent brochures with preparedness information you can download here. Plus, you can visit to get a breakdown of disasters by state.

2.      Carry a kit.  Most of us carry a purse and I never leave the house without my water bottle, cell phone, small first aid kit, hand sanitizer and umbrella. I keep other important items such as a flashlight, blanket, granola bars, ice scraper/snow brush and windshield washer fluid in my car. 

3.      Start a conversation with your family, neighbors and employer. Does your family have a plan?  Do you have a neighborhood meeting place in case your family gets separated?  What about your pets?  Does your business have a disaster plan?

4.      Take an American Red Cross CPR/First Aid/AED course to learn life-saving skills! I recently renewed my certification. 

Many times we see women dominate the voluntary roles in a disaster, but not the more traditional roles, such as fire, Emergency Medical Services (EMS) or police. What are some ways you would encourage women to consider this type of career path?

Exploring these types of career paths should begin at a young age. Women in these professions are role models and should take an active role in the community and attend school career days to educate young girls that they can be a police officer, firefighter or EMS professional.  Titles such as "policeman" and "fireman" are outdated.  

To continue the dialogue about women in preparedness in honor of Women’s History Month start your own discussion on the National Preparedness Community.

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FY 2014 SAFECOM Guidance Now Available

The Department of Homeland Security (DHS) Office of Emergency Communications (OEC) is pleased to announce the FY 2014 SAFECOM Guidance on Emergency Communications Grants is now available on the SAFECOM website. SAFECOM is a stakeholder driven program established to coordinate the emergency response interoperability initiatives across Federal agencies.

Updated annually, the SAFECOM Guidance provides the most current information on:

  • Emergency communication policies and technical standards;
  • Eligible costs; and
  • Best practices for State, territorial, tribal and local grantees investing in Federal funds for emergency communications projects.

The guidance is a great resource for Citizen Corps Councils and program partners and affiliates across the country to use as they plan and coordinate their budgets to see what is eligible to be covered under relevant communications grants, particularly as they support goals outlined in Presidential Policy Directive 8 – National Preparedness and supporting efforts to prepare for deployment of the Nationwide Public Safety Broadband Network (NPSBN).

Grantees are encouraged to review the Guidance document before developing and submitting projects for funding under FY 2014 grants.

Compliance with the FY 2014 SAFECOM Guidance will not only strengthen project proposals, but will also help to ensure that emergency communications are coordinated, compatible and interoperable.

For questions or additional information on the FY 2014 SAFECOM Guidance, please email OEC at: 

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Dates for Your Calendar!

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Disclaimer: The reader recognizes that the federal government provides links and informational data on various disaster preparedness resources and events and does not endorse any non-federal events, entities, organizations, services or products. Please let us know about other events and services for individual and community preparedness that could be included in future newsletters by contacting

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