Photos by Angela Truong.
City officials held the second annual Tsunami Preparedness Walk and Resource Fair at Will Rogers Mini Park last Saturday as part of Tsunami Awareness Week, meant to educate residents on how to prepare for and respond to natural disasters.
Booths from Long Beach Disaster Preparedness and Emergency Communications (LBC DPEC), Long Beach Community Emergency Response Team (CERT), California Governor’s Office of Emergency Services (Cal OES) and Veterans Long Beach Amateur Radio Club offered information on emergency preparedness in the case of an earthquake or tsunami. Tote bags imprinted with an emergency kit checklist were handed out along with a mini flashlight, first-aid kit and a small bag for pet owners to hold their pet’s food.
“We’re getting more people informed about what tsunamis are, what their potential threat is and what to do if there is one and things they could do ahead of time to prepare themselves,” said Cal OES Tsunami Planning Coordinator Yvette LaDuke.
SCEC Communications Manager Jason Ballmann says a tsunami is a series of waves and the first one may not be the biggest, but the second or third might actually be the biggest wave. He advised that people should go inland two miles or 100 feet up in a steady structure in case of a tsunami. Ballmann also says the type of inundation Long Beach could expect could be a matter of a few feet.
“Five feet of wave doesn’t really sound like a lot, but you must consider that these are miles-long waves that are coming in at such force and it’s like a flood,” said Ballmann. “Five feet is about the height of an average human being.”
Councilwoman Suzie Price encouraged residents to sign up for AlertLongBeach, which in case of an emergency sends notifications to residents’ phones. She encouraged the community to take advantage of opportunities to learn how to better prepare themselves if there is an emergency.
“From my perspective, it’s about education and information and that’s what I’m here to do,” said Long Beach Fire Department spokesman Jake Heflin.
Heflin told the community to go out and volunteer, get educated, stay informed and join CERT, a program he leads that educates people about disaster preparedness and offers hands-on training. The CERT Program and Disaster Preparedness efforts in the community won a national award in 2017.
Volunteers guided residents on a half-mile evacuation walk from Will Rogers Mini Park to the Recreation Park Center where residents could ask emergency experts more questions.
“We’re simulating a distance source-generated tsunami,” said Ballmann. “That means that a big earthquake or some geological event happened thousands of miles away from here and that means we would have hours to evacuate.”
California Tsunami Preparedness Week will be held at Aquarium of the Pacific through March 26 to 30. The event will provide resources and emergency management experts to help the community learn how to survive and recover from tsunamis.
For more information on disaster preparedness or to sign up for AlertLongBeach, visit the link here.