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Racing a tsunami using your cell phone…

Cell phone app will tell you whether your safely ahead of the tsunami...or not...

Cell phone app will tell you whether you’re safely ahead of the tsunami…or not…
HMSC photo, Maryann Bozza

If you’re “test racing” a tsunami after an earthquake, like these people were doing recently headed up Safe Haven Hill in Newport, you obviously want to know just how far ahead of the tsunami you are in the race or how far behind you might be.

A group of OSU Sea Grant researchers are putting together a smart phone app that determines where you live, where your nearest evacuation assembly area is and how long it takes you to get there – COMPARED TO – how fast a tsunami is bearing down on you. While you’re enroute, the app will tell you where the tsunami is over your shoulder and how you’re doing at staying ahead of it.

You can do the drill any time, day or night, using your cell phone.

Once you have tested your specific evacuation route(s), you can forward your notes to the researchers, letting them know how the app worked for you and what you learned while going through the drills. Was there a better route? Are time of day/night factors important? How much time after the quake did you consume gathering “personal possessions” before you actually started your trek. These and other observations or suggestions can be passed along to the app developers.

The developers are also interested in ways that the elderly or handicapped can be helped to reach their assembly area. The developers also want to compare information gleaned from those taking the evacuation test with their cell phones – information that can be shared between cities up and down the coast to determine each community’s degree of disaster readiness and how to raise the “survival bar” for everyone.

The Sea Grant funded app is not quite ready, but when it is, NewsLincolnCounty.com will be quick to tell you how to get it.

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