Kodiak Daily Mirror - Responders test tsunami readiness with drill
  
Responders test tsunami readiness with drill
by Nicole Klauss / nklauss@kodiakdailymirror.com
Oct 22, 2013 | 146 views | 0 0 comments | 15 15 recommendations | email to a friend | print
The logistics section, which includes the city's financial staff and engineer, talks about its first steps during the mock distant tsunami threat, on Oct. 21. (Nicole Klauss photo)
The logistics section, which includes the city's financial staff and engineer, talks about its first steps during the mock distant tsunami threat, on Oct. 21. (Nicole Klauss photo)
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Members of the incident management team complete a table top exercise to prepare for a distant tsunami threat for Kodiak Island, at the Kodiak Police Station, on Oct. 21. (Nicole Klauss photo)
Members of the incident management team complete a table top exercise to prepare for a distant tsunami threat for Kodiak Island, at the Kodiak Police Station, on Oct. 21. (Nicole Klauss photo)
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Borough code enforcement officer Jack Maker writes the first steps the planning team would take during a distant tsunami threat, on a board at the Kodiak Police Station, on Oct. 21. (Nicole Klauss photo)
Borough code enforcement officer Jack Maker writes the first steps the planning team would take during a distant tsunami threat, on a board at the Kodiak Police Station, on Oct. 21. (Nicole Klauss photo)
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If an earthquake strikes the far side of the Pacific Ocean, Kodiak’s emergency responders are prepared for the tsunami threat.

On Monday, the Kodiak City and Kodiak Island Borough incident management team met in the Emergency Operations Center at the Kodiak Police Department to practice a disaster scenario. The scenario focused on the response for a distant tsunami warning threat to Kodiak Island.

“We’ll go through the scenario and there will be response plans,” exercise moderator Kodiak Fire chief Rome Kamai told the group.

The goal of the tabletop exercise was to discuss the emergency operations response and recovery actions, and to determine how the staff could support the objectives identified and approved by the incident commander. Borough manager Bud Cassidy filled in as incident commander, in place of city manager Aimée Kniaziowski.

“The goal is to discuss the emergency operations plan,” Kamai said. “That includes answering questions about how the incident management team would respond and recover.”

The incident management team split into logistics, operations, planning and finance teams, and each team developed responses as to what their course of action would look like.

In the made-up scenario, a magnitude 9.0 earthquake struck 95 miles west of Eugene, Ore. and 150 miles southwest of Portland, Ore. at a depth of 25 miles. The earthquake generated a distant tsunami risk that headed toward British Columbia and the Alaska coast. The West Coast Alaska Tsunami Warning Center issued a tsunami watch for Kodiak and the Aleutian Chain.

The incident management team had to go through the process of deciding how to monitor the situation, when to alert the public, and other steps.

The first steps identified by the incident management team were to confirm that the information was accurate, check for wave size information and then find out how quickly the waves would be in Kodiak.

“Our job is to determine the priorities in the community and know how to respond to that,” Kamai told the team.

The team then came up with next steps, such as alerting the public through the tsunami warning system, contacting media to get the word out to the public and identifying special groups.

Some of the groups identified that would require notification and possibly additional help included the Kodiak Senior Center, the Providence Kodiak Island Medical Center, schools, shopping centers, and non-English speakers. The incident team also noted that establishing shelters was a key step in the early part of the process.

Kamai said it is necessary to make sure everyone on the incident management team is trained at a basic level to ensure people can fill in where needed, since everyone on the team might not be able to get to the Emergency Operations Center in a real incident.

The incident management team regularly completes training for emergency situations like tsunamis, earthquakes, mud slides and hazardous material spills.

The tabletop exercise was required preparation for the statewide Alaska Shield 2014 exercise on March 28.

Contact Mirror writer Nicole Klauss at nklauss@kodiakdailymirror.com.

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