The City of Hoquiam is now a “TsunamiReady” city, a classification awarded to communities nationwide by the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA).
“With our community location adjacent to the waterways of Grays Harbor, Hoquiam is proud to be recognized as a TsunamiReady city,” said Hoquiam Mayor Jack Durney. “Through this designation we have taken steps to prepare our citizens and the city to be ready should a devastating event occur.”
Ted Buehner, a warning coordination meteorologist with NOAA, presented the award to Durney and Hoquiam Police Chief Jeff Myers at Monday night’s Hoquiam City Council meeting. Brynne Walker, tsunami program coordinator for Washington State Emergency Management, also attended the meeting.
Buehner said Hoquiam is the 164th community nationwide to be deemed TsunamiReady. Ocean Shores was the first community to receive the designation in 2001.
While he said no community is ever “tsunami proof,” every measure of preparation helps. In order to become TsunamiReady, communities must establish a center capable of receiving National Weather Center warnings around the clock, have more than one way to alert the public about tsunami and severe weather warnings, establish a formal tsunami plan and educate the public.
“Preparedness is an ongoing process,” Buehner said. “It is never over, and it never will be. Remember, when you’re prepared, you’re not scared.”
Buehner also presented city officials with two TsunamiReady road signs that will be posted within city limits.
“We’ll have to protect these from metal thieves,” Durney joked.