Coast Guard Tsunami Exercise Begins May 23

Thursday, May 18, 2006
The U.S. Department of Transportation in cooperation with Federal, State, local, and Canadian partners will host PACIFIC PERIL 06 from May 23-23 at Camp Rilea on the NW Oregon Coast. The three-day event will consist of a "training day" presenting earthquake and tsunami hazards and response plans, a full day Command Post Exercise (CPX) and a final table top review. The exercise play postulates a catastrophic seismic event that triggers a massive tsunami that devastates Pacific coastal communities from British Columbia to northern California. The Government of Canada, including the Province of British Columbia and the City of Vancouver, are also engaged in exercise play. "Experts agree that the likelihood of a massive earthquake and tsunami wave is very real, and speak in terms of not if , but when, " according to Federal Aviation Administration Regional Administrator and Regional Emergency Transportation Coordinator (RETCO) Douglas R. Murphy. "The exercise is designed to challenge participants with a high consequence scenario in order to better assess the effectiveness of existing response plans. Our critical infrastructure is vulnerable, and advance preparation is the key to a successful response." U.S. Department of Homeland Security FEMA Regional Director John Pennington agrees. "Emergency incidents are handled on a daily basis at the local level, but the challenges of responding to truly catastrophic disasters rapidly exceed the capabilities of any one community or state," said Pennington. "In any disaster, coordination, planning, and unity of response are the key determinates of success. Exercises like PACIFIC PERIL help us validate, correct and improve our joint response capabilities."

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