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NOAA Attends USCG Pacific Area-led California Tsunami Workshop

MARCH 4, 2024 — On February 22, OR&R’s Emergency Response Division’s Scientific Support Coordinator Jordan Stout and Marine Debris Program’s California Regional Coordinator Christy Kehoe participated in a United States Coast Guard (USCG) Pacific Area’s tsunami preparation workshop in California. 

Tsunami Danger sign in California Beach.
Tsunami Danger sign in California Beach. (Image Credit: iStock)

The California Tsunami Program and USCG Pacific Area were responsible for planning the workshop and facilitating a tabletop discussion to review tsunami threats, hazards, alerts, and communication in California. This workshop included a discussion-based exercise to facilitate input from USCG participants regarding time-critical tactics before, during, and after a destructive tsunami event. Tsunamis have occurred throughout history and will continue to occur. Though tsunamis are thought of as “low probability events”, they can be devastating to coastal communities. Attendees discussed the challenges of preparing and responding at the local level when there may be very little lead time before such a disaster strikes (e.g., minutes to hours). The workshop facilitated a better understanding of both federal and state partner roles for a tsunami event and a stronger sense of coordination in tsunami response efforts.

The NOAA Marine Debris Program's monitoring program was set up to prepare the United States after the tsunami that struck Japan in 2011. Following the tsunami, NOAA worked closely with the impacted states and local partners to monitor and respond to tsunami debris found on U.S. shorelines. NOAA led efforts with federal, state, and local partners to collect data, assess the debris, and reduce possible impacts on our natural resources and coastal communities.

This workshop was geared toward increasing professional knowledge and skills, collaborating as a cohesive USCG team, and ensuring the highest state of readiness for quick and effective assistance if a tsunami strikes. The speakers at the event were members of the California Office of Emergency Services, who are a part of the National Tsunami Hazard Mitigation Program. Training topics included a high-level overview of tsunami hazards (evacuation & maritime), a discussion of the state’s response to tsunamis from both local and distant source events, and a facilitated tsunami table-top discussion. 

Last updated Friday, March 8, 2024 11:29am PST