SitNews - Stories in the News - Ketchikan, Alaska




March 22, 2010
Monday PM

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 Daylight Time, a live tsunami test code was distributed by the Alaska Emergency Alert System (EAS).

"Testing of the Tsunami Warning System ensures that the system will work as designed during an actual emergency," said Brig. General Thomas H. Katkus, commissioner of the Department of Military and Veterans Affairs. "As communication systems across the state are constantly changing and being improved, each test helps up keep up with those changes."

Through a proclamation signed by Governor Sean Parnell, March 21 - 27, 2010 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.

"Testing this state-wide system is truly a team effort," said John Madden, director of the Division of Homeland Security and Emergency Management. "NOAA, the Alaska Broadcasters Association and Alaska's emergency managers are able to increase the state's level of preparedness through these annual tests."

Members of the public who 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 National Weather Service office.

Regular testing of the Emergency Alert System has been essential in maintaining the readiness of the system. On Dec. 19, 2007 a 7.3 magnitude earthquake struck 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.


On the Web:

Answers to frequently asked tsunami-related questions


Source of News:

Alaska Division of Homeland Security and Emergency Management


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Ketchikan, Alaska