Tuesday, May 7, 2013

Tsunami - Beach holidays, don't just pack your togs!

Its well known that Kiwis love the beach and with 119.44km being the furthest point you can be from the coast in NZ (well that's what the internet says) its not hard to see why. But when packing and loading up your car with everything you may need for your beach adventure do you think about tsunami risk? 

After a fair amount of public education on being prepared at home 'Get Ready Get Thru', which has been great, lots of kiwis are now aware of the risks around them and have supplies at home to get through a disaster. But what about when you are on holiday?

Evacuation route signage
Last month i went to my favorite beach (Castlepoint, in the Wairarapa) for my birthday, i took my getaway kit with me and also the thought that we were at risk (as is New Zealand's entire coastline). Castlepoint beach has tsunami warning signs on the main road pointing out the evacuation routes to higher ground, and the batch we stayed at had information on the fridge as well as emergency kits / torches etc. which was fantastic!

Information on the fridge
But not all beaches, batches or hotels will have this information pointed out for you, so next time you are heading off to enjoy the beach don't forget to pack emergency supplies and do a little homework on the tsunami threat, warning signs, evacuation routes/higher ground etc.  It may just save your life one day.

You can find this information at local councils, the Greater Wellington tsunami evacuation zone maps are here

The Ministry of Civil Defence and Emergency Management (MCDEM) is responsible for official tsunami notifications in New Zealand. You can read more on what to do before / during / after a Tsunami from MCDEM here. They also have some good info on what to put in your emergency survival and getaway kits here.

GeoNet has tsunami gauge network around NZ which consists of pressure sensors with the capability to measure rapid sea level changes, either confirming or ruling out the passage of a tsunami.  You can see their output here 
Our seismograph network includes long-period seismic sensors which are able to detect potential tsunami-generating earthquakes occurring off the New Zealand coast. Analysis of the seismic waves can determine whether the event is likely to have disturbed the sea floor and caused a tsunami, allowing warnings to be issued by civil agencies. Such warnings will frequently come too late for people on the affected coast, but they will still be timely alerts for the initiation of any emergency response.  So its important to know the warning signs and get yourself to higherground!


Historical tsunami

Tsunami FAQ

Worldwide Tsunami Monitoring PTWC
The beautiful Castlepoint beach

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