Our Northwest Water
12:00 am
Fri November 13, 2009

Tsunami Warning Siren Hodgepodge in Oregon To Be Standardized

Oregon is pushing its coastal counties to standardize the sound of tsunami warning sirens. Washington state has already done so. Correspondent Tom Banse reports.

Oregon's Emergency Management Office uses the words “mish mash” to describe the current array of tsunami warning sounds. Seaside, Oregon for example has used a steady siren wail during evacuation drills.

Althea Turner: “The goal is to have one signal up and down the coast so that anybody from Cannon Beach who knows their signal there, if they hear a siren in Seaside – or anywhere else on the coast -- they know what it means.”

Oregon Emergency Management's Althea Turner says a draft state regulation gives coastal counties five years to standardize to an oscillating up-and-down signal. It would presumably sound like the uniform alert programmed into the 46 loudspeaker towers along Washington's beaches.

Both Washington and Oregon say these sirens primarily serve to warn of a tsunami generated far away. If there's a near-shore earthquake, the shaking is your warning to run to higher ground. I'm Tom Banse reporting.

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