SitNews - Stories in the News - Ketchikan, Alaska




March 25, 2009

A test of the Alaska Tsunami Warning System was conducted this morning by the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration's (NOAA) National Weather Service, and the Alaska Division of Homeland Security and Emergency Management, in cooperation with local emergency management offices and the Alaska Broadcasters Association. At approximately 9:45 a.m. Alaska Standard Time a live tsunami test code was distributed by the Alaska Emergency Alert System. People listening to radio or television broadcasts should have heard the test if the system is working properly.

Through a proclamation signed by Governor Palin, March 22 through March 28, 2009 has been declared Tsunami Awareness Week. The week coincides with the anniversary of the Great Alaskan Earthquake...a devastating 9.2 magnitude earthquake that triggered deadly tsunamis in Alaska 45 years ago on Good Friday. The focal point for this awareness week is the test of the Alaska Tsunami Warning System.

The communications test involved NOAA Weather Radio, the Emergency Alert System (EAS), and other state and local communication links. The radio and television test included the familiar alerting tone followed by an audio message describing the test, similar to the routine monthly tests of the EAS. Many television systems are programmed to scroll a standard emergency alert text message and in some cases, the message may not contain the word "TEST." An audio message will say that the warning is a test, but if the volume is turned down or otherwise unheard, viewers may not realize the warning is a test. Communities with tsunami sirens may have sounded those sirens during the test.

Members of the public that have heard the test are encouraged to log onto , and fill out a brief survey. Officials will evaluate the success of the test and correct any problems that are uncovered. Most importantly, people in coastal areas who DID NOT receive the test through commercial radio or weather radio should fill out the online survey and inform their local NWS office.

Regular testing of the Emergency Alert System has been essential in maintaining the readiness of the system. On December 19, 2007 a 7.3 magnitude earthquake occurred of the southern coast of the Aleutian Islands. The West Coast and Alaska Tsunami Warning Center issued a tsunami warning that was successfully distributed throughout Alaska. This event showed that the Tsunami Warning System is ready to issue an alert whenever a tsunami threatens Alaskans.


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Ketchikan, Alaska