HSU Hosts Quake Preparedness Gathering March 28 - Humboldt State Now

HSU Hosts Quake Preparedness Gathering March 28

Humboldt State University President Rollin Richmond and faculty colleagues will host a joint leadership session March 28 of the Redwood Coast Tsunami Work Group (RCTWG) and the statewide Earthquake Country Alliance (ECA) to help bolster regional awareness and preparedness.

In addition to Richmond, leaders will include Humboldt State seismologist and international mitigation expert Lori Dengler; Mark Benthien, director for communication, education and outreach at the Southern California Earthquake Center at USC; Dan Larkin, director of Humboldt County’s Office of Emergency Services; Kathy Moley, a specialist in tsunami mitigation at Pacific Watershed Associates, McKinleyville; and Troy Nicolini from NOAA’s National Weather Service, Eureka, who is also NOAA’s tsunami program leader for northwestern California.

The public is invited to the first hour of the joint earthquake/tsunami preparedness meeting on Thursday, March 28, at 9 a.m. in HSU’s Nelson Hall East, Room 113. Nicolini will open the meeting with a presentation on the importance of drills to expand and maintain public readiness.

Thursday’s meeting will be the culmination of the two-day, joint leadership session of the RCTWG and ECA, March 26-28.

Concurrently, on Tuesday, March 26 at 6:30 p.m., Manila will hold a preparedness meeting at its community center at 1611 Peninsula Drive for the local tsunami evacuation drill that is scheduled for Saturday, April 13, at 10 a.m. Dengler, Nicolini and other RCTWG officials will discuss tsunami risks and readiness at that public gathering.

The next day, Wednesday, March 27, the North Coast will conduct a tsunami warning test between 11 a.m. and noon. Television and radio broadcasts will be interrupted, NOAA weather radios will be activated and sirens will sound in some areas.

“We’ve done this test almost every year starting in 2008, but it’s still important to get the word out so folks don’t confuse the test for a real tsunami emergency,” Nicolini says. “We’re still the only region in the nation that does this test.”

The RCTWG comprises local, state and federal agencies, tribes, relief and service groups, land managers and businesses from Del Norte, Humboldt and Mendocino Counties. The group promotes a coordinated, consistent mitigation program for all coastal areas.

The ECA is the organizer of the annual earthquake preparedness drill, “The Great California ShakeOut.” The 2013 exercise is scheduled for Oct. 17 at 10:17 a.m.

Last year, ShakeOut drills worldwide drew more than 19 million registrants. The drill enables the public to practice Drop, Cover and Hold On, the general guidelines for surviving an earthquake. Drop means dropping to the ground as tremors begin; cover means getting under a sturdy desk or table or something comparable for protection; hold on refers to gripping the cover until the shaking has fully stopped.

Details about the joint RCTWG/ECA meetings are available from Kathleen Fairchild at kaf19@humboldt.edu.