The City of Yachats successfully completed its community tsunami evacuation exercise on Saturday, June 23 between 10:00 am and 11:00 am. Safety monitors observed 153 community members evacuate to high ground, with many of them bringing their pets and prepared “go bags”. The drill is part of a continuing commitment by the city to provide residents and visitors with relevant information and options for a variety of natural disasters – not just tsunamis, but earthquakes, wildfire and infrastructure failures.
The Lincoln County Sheriff’s Office emergency notification system (Lincoln Alerts) provided an electronic notice 15 minutes prior to the exercise to community members who are signed up with the system. There was no siren, and traffic was not stopped, but ODOT reader boards and LCSO warning signs were placed on both ends of the small town. Local news media and community Facebook pages also carried important information.
Several public safety organizations assisted with the exercise: Lincoln County Sheriff’s Office Patrol and Emergency Management, South Lincoln Community Emergency Response Team (CERT), City of Yachats Emergency Preparedness Committee volunteers, Yachats Rural Fire Protection District, Oregon Department of Transportation and City of Yachats staff.
A commemorative sticker was produced by Waldport High School for this year’s event and given to participants when they reached the 100-foot elevation mark. It is the City’s goal to make this exercise an annual activity to help community members and visitors to be “tsunami-ready” and well-informed.
The City received their NOAA “National Weather Service Tsunami-Ready City” status in 2012 and is required to conduct periodic exercises and community outreach. The Yachats Emergency Preparedness Committee will be presenting their findings and recommendations for planning improvements to Yachats City Council at a later date.
Tsunami public evacuation maps and routes can be found at www.oregontsunami.org, or stop by any city hall or public safety agency for printed maps of that area. If you wish to sign up for Lincoln Alerts (or if you are signed up and you did not get an alert for this exercise), please go to www.co.lincoln.or.us/alerts