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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 

Now semi-retired, Tom Banse covered national news, business, science, public policy, Olympic sports and human interest stories from across the Northwest. He reported from well known and out–of–the–way places in the region where important, amusing, touching, or outrageous events unfolded. Tom's stories can be found online and were heard on-air during "Morning Edition" and "All Things Considered" on NPR stations in Washington, Oregon, and Idaho.