In their presentation last year on Nov. 26, the Associated Student Body students encouraged Seaside leaders to work with state and federal partners to secure funding for new, prevalent tsunami evacuation “leaving” markers that have been placed, and are continuing to be placed, in Seaside and other coastal communities.
On Wednesday, Sept. 18, students from Seaside High School as well as Seaside Mayor Jay Barber, Seaside City Councilor Tom Horning, Matt Marheine, Deputy Director of the Office of Emergency Management, Jonathan Allan of the state’s Department of Geology and Mineral Industries, and about 20 others gathered at Seltzer Park to follow the new street markers designed to assist people out of the inundation zone in the event of an earthquake. The walk and talk called, “Don’t Catch This Wave,” is part of a tsunami awareness project spearheaded by members of the Seaside High School Associated Student Body originally presented last fall to the Seaside City Council.
The project was funded under an award by the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration through the National Tsunami Hazard Mitigation Program. OEM and DOGAMI have worked with a variety of coastal communities to provide the markers.
“The signs provide a reinforcement tool for local residents to familiarize themselves with evacuation routes,” said Anne McBride, Seaside’s emergency preparedness coordinator. “Improving evacuation signage will save lives in the event of a tsunami by helping people efficiently reach the safety of high ground,” she said. “We feel street surface markers will be an ongoing reminder that encourages people to plan their evacuation routes before they need to use them. The success of this project was made possible by many groups working together.”
The national hazards mitigation program includes NOAA, the Federal Emergency Management Agency, the U.S. Geological Survey, and 28 U.S. states and territories. This strong and active partnership connects states with the federal agencies responsible for the nation’s tsunami warning system and brings together the expertise and experiences of all the partners.
Gracie Rhodes, a student at Seaside High School and ASB’s social media coordinator, said one of her jobs is keeping students on top of the “Don’t Catch This Wave” project through the school’s Instagram and SnapChat accounts.
“This project has been a priority for us for multiple years,” Rhodes said.
Meanwhile 51 street markers have been placed around town. Their purpose is to increase visibility for tsunami evacuation routes.
“A lot of people want to know, ‘When can I stop running?’” said Anne McBride.
The signs tell you when.