Matanuska-Susitna Borough

Tsunami test airs Wednesday

Mat-Su | Patty Sullivan | Thursday, June 29, 2006

Emergency Services Director Dennis Brodigan would like to inform residents in the Matanuska-Susitna Borough of a statewide test of the tsunami warning system this Wednesday. The following press release came from the National Weather Service:The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration's (NOAA) National Weather Service and Alaska's Division of Homeland Security and Emergency Management, in cooperation with local emergency management offices and the Alaska Broadcasters Association, will conduct a tsunami warning communications test on March 29 at approximately 9:45 a.m. Alaska Standard Time. People listening to radio or television broadcasts should hear the test if the system is working properly. Through a proclamation signed by Governor Murkowski, March 26 through April 1, 2006, has been declared as 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 42 years ago on Good Friday. The focal point for this awareness week is the test of the Alaska Tsunami Warning System. The communications test will involve NOAA Weather Radio, the Emergency Alert System (EAS), and other state and local communication links. Live tsunami warning codes will be used during this test, rather than the usual test code, in order to fully test the system. Radio listeners should hear the familiar alerting tone followed by an audio message describing the test, similar to the routine monthly tests of the EAS. Television viewers, however, may see something different. Some communication systems will exhibit a "Tsunami Warning" rather than a "Test." Some automated systems, such as for cable TV, are programmed to scroll a standard, pre-composed message based upon the emergency code received. Because a live tsunami warning code will be used, the message television viewers will see may not contain the word "TEST." Instead, it may appear to be an actual Tsunami Warning. The audio message accompanying the crawler will explain it is a test, but if the volume is turned down or otherwise inaudible, viewers may not realize a test is occurring and could become alarmed. The public can participate in the test by monitoring their NOAA Weather Radio All-Hazards receiver, or commercial radio, cable TV, or local television for the EAS message. Local emergency management may use the test to help raise awareness of the tsunami hazard. Officials will evaluate the success of the test and correct any problems that are uncovered. To assist them in this process, they are asking people in coastal areas to monitor their normal media sources for the test, and report afterwards via an Internet web address given in the test message. Most importantly, people monitoring the test in coastal areas who DO NOT receive the test through commercial radio or weather radio should inform their local NWS office. Note: If there is excessive seismic activity on the day the test is scheduled, the test will be cancelled.