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Did 2011 Japan Tsunami Change Preparedness On Northwest Coast?

Oregon Emergency Management Division

The March 2011 earthquake and tsunami in Japan served as a wake up call for coastal residents and visitors on our shores. But two years later, it is hard to measure how much that disaster has changed tsunami readiness on the Pacific Northwest coast.

Althea Rizzo is the geologic hazards program coordinator for Oregon Emergency Management. She says she's certain tsunami awareness has increased.

"There have been a number of academic studies over the last 10 to 15 years that have shown that people are becoming much more aware about the earthquake and tsunami hazard here."

But what Rizzo really wants to see is people converting awareness into action. She's encouraged by evolving plans to move some vulnerable coastal schools to higher ground. But by another measuring stick, she says there's backsliding. The federal government provides most of the money for tsunami education and preparation. President Obama's proposed 2014 budget zeroes out the main program.

On the Web:

Upcoming tsunami preparedness presentations - Oregon Emergency Management Division 

"Let's Talk Tsunamis" presentations - Pacific County (Wash.) Emergency Management Agency 

Copyright 2013 Northwest News Network

Correspondent Tom Banse is an Olympia-based reporter with more than three decades of experience covering Washington and Oregon state government, public policy, business and breaking news stories. Most of his career was spent with public radio's Northwest News Network, but now in semi-retirement his work is appearing on other outlets.
Tom Banse
Tom Banse covers national news, business, science, public policy, Olympic sports and human interest stories from across the Northwest. He reports from well known and out–of–the–way places in the region where important, amusing, touching, or outrageous events are unfolding. Tom's stories can be found online and heard on-air during "Morning Edition" and "All Things Considered" on NPR stations in Washington, Oregon, and Idaho.