At 10:15 am on October 15, 2020, millions of people in Washington State will participate in the largest earthquake drill ever: ShakeOut! Why? Earthquakes can happen anywhere, so everyone should know how to protect themselves when an earthquake occurs. Coastal earthquakes can be followed by tsunamis – which is why the Great Washington ShakeOut includes a tsunami drill.
Washington’s network of coastal tsunami sirens will be tested around 10:15 am on October 15 using the wailing sound of a tsunami warning, not the Westminster Chimes that are used during the monthly tests. PLEASE DO NOT CALL 911.
The wailing sound will be followed by this message in English and Spanish: “This is a test of the siren alert system. If you are in a low coastal area, test your evacuation route. If this had been a real emergency, you should follow evacuation routes, move to higher ground inland, now. Do not delay. Do not return until directed to do so. Tune into your local media sources for further instructions. This was only a test.”
Know Your Tsunami Warning Signs
If you hear the siren wailing sound outside of the Great Washington ShakeOut, immediately follow the closest tsunami evacuation route inland or to high ground. This is your warning that a tsunami is approaching, and you need to evacuate the inundation zone as soon as possible.
If you are on the coast and you feel ground shaking, drop, cover, and hold on to protect yourself. When the shaking stops, immediately follow the closest tsunami evacuation route inland or to high ground. Do not wait to hear a tsunami siren or to receive an official tsunami alert – the shaking is your warning that a tsunami may be on its way.
More Sirens To Be Installed
Thanks to funding allocated by the Washington State Legislature for 2020 and 2021, over the next year the Washington Military Department will be installing approximately 50 tsunami sirens across the state’s inner and outer coasts. These sirens will fill critical gaps in the current tsunami warning infrastructure to complete the siren network. This life-saving project brings together state agencies, tribal, county, and city emergency management, and other important stakeholders to ensure Washington’s coastal communities can be alerted in the event of a tsunami warning.
Be a Part of ShakeOut!
Register at www.ShakeOut.org/Washington to practice and improve your level of earthquake and tsunami safety. Everyone everywhere can participate! Individuals, families, businesses, schools, government agencies, and organizations are all invited to join in at 10:15 am on 10/15. Learn more about Washington’s tsunami hazard at www.mil.wa.gov/tsunamis.