Tsunami Warning Sirens Phased Out In Coastal Oregon County

Dec 28, 2012

Most of the tsunami warning sirens in one Oregon coastal county will go silent in the New Year. Communities up and down the West Coast are phasing in more modern forms of emergency alerts. Correspondent Tom Banse reports.

A tsunami warning sign in Seaside, Oregon.
Credit Photo by Tom Banse / Northwest News Network

After much debate, Tillamook County leaders decided they could not justify the expense of modernizing and maintaining an aging network of 30 tsunami warning sirens. County emergency management director Gordon McCraw says there are many other pathways for people to hear about incoming danger.

McCraw: "There's Facebook. There's Twitter. There's NOAA weather radio. They can subscribe directly to the same earthquake notification people that I do."

Also, reverse 9-1-1 calls and Civil Air Patrol overflights with a loudspeaker. Some county residents fought hard to save the familiar warning sirens. In a small victory, the towns of Garibaldi and Rockaway Beach will keep their warning sirens and activate them locally as necessary. Tsunami warning sirens remain in favor elsewhere. In the new year, the southwest Washington towns of Raymond and South Bend are using federal grant money to add one new siren each.

Copyright 2012 Northwest Public Radio