Evacuation education

A recent initiative completed by the Kauai Civil Defense Agency is a signage project that directs people along evacuation routes and guides them safely out of evacuation zones. Along island roads, 128 tsunami advisory signs were placed.

“Among the most frequent calls the Civil Defense receives during tsunami warnings are questions from businesses, residents and visitors asking if they are in a tsunami evacuation zone,” said Mark Marshall, KCDA emergency management administrative officer. “I strongly encourage residents and visitors to review the evacuation maps in the telephone directories as part of their personal, family, or organizational preparedness.”

April has been designated Tsunami Awareness Month in Hawaii, encouraged by the April 1, 1946, tsunami that killed 159 people in Hawaii generated by an earthquake in the Aleutian Islands.

Last year, the KCDA completed an update of Kauai’s tsunami evacuation zone maps that replaced ones from the 1990s and are based on the latest technology, which uses bathymetric/ocean floor mapping and computer modeling done by the University of Hawaii at Manoa.

“A locally generated tsunami would give us little time to notify the public and clear people out of the tsunami evacuation zone,” said KCDA manager Elton Ushio. “If a tsunami warning is issued for a locally generated event, anyone within the tsunami evacuation zone should immediately evacuate to higher ground.”

Mayor Bernard Carvalho Jr. noted that although most tsunami threats have hours of advanced warning, a tsunami generated from a Big Island earthquake could reach Kauai’s shores in 45 minutes.

The KCDA created a tsunami awareness brochure available at its office, 3990 Kaana Street, Suite 100, or at wwww.kauai.gov/civildefense.

KCDA will host Tsunami Awareness presentations at Elsie Wilcox Elementary School on April 10 and 14. It will also have tsunami information available at the emergency preparedness booth during the Contractors of Kauai Home Show April 17-18 at the Kauai War Memorial Convention Hall.

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