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USCG Needs to Do More Tsunami Planning

A GAO report on the topic.

The Coast Guard has a tough job ahead of it. Planning for the tsunami evacuation of their uniformed staff, civilian staff and their dependents in case of an earthquake in the Cascadia Subduction Zone.

The Government Accountability Office (GAO) looked at the above planning for the Pacific Northwest. The title of the report is Additional Actions Needed to Improve Tsunami Emergency Planning in the Pacific Northwest.

Basically, there is great risk, due to Coast Guard facilities being so close to the water’s edge and not enough planning or exercising of plans.

If you want a great example of the challenge, see page 25 of the report and the description of the Port Angeles Coast Guard Station in Washington state. Not a good situation when it comes to tsunami waves — basically they are at sea level already. The other item of note is that the Pacific Northwest has a deficit of helicopters so losing the helicopters stationed there would drastically cut into any search and rescue activities in the immediate aftermath of a tsunami.
Eric Holdeman is a contributing writer for Emergency Management magazine and is the former director of the King County, Wash., Office of Emergency Management.