Coasties in PNW unwell ready within the occasion of a tsunami, report says

Solely 19 of the 39 Coast Guard models primarily based within the Pacific Northwest have developed tsunami evacuation plans, regardless of the area being vulnerable to such risks, a latest authorities watchdog report discovered. And with no normal in place, even models with written protocols confirmed vital inconsistencies in what evacuating Coast Guard personnel and households would entail.

The report, launched Sept. 7 by the Authorities Accountability Workplace, addresses these planning gaps whereas pushing the Coast Guard to raised safeguard its personnel in opposition to maritime emergencies.

Starting in Might 2021, the GAO visited 10 Coast Guard models in District 13 — which spans the coasts of Oregon and Washington — of which eight had written tsunami evacuation plans.

In response to the report, a serious earthquake within the space might result in tsunami waves that attain as much as 80 ft and crash into the shoreline as shortly as 10 to half-hour later, considerably impacting the roughly 3,000 troops and repair workers stationed within the area.

A serious fault line off the coast of the Pacific Northwestern states — the Cascadia subduction zone — has drawn even larger concern from the Federal Emergency Administration Company, which estimates there’s practically a 40% probability {that a} magnitude seven earthquake or larger will happen there within the subsequent 50 years.

“In response to FEMA planning paperwork, subduction zones produce a few of the world’s largest earthquakes,” the report mentioned.

The specter of such devastation attracts reminders of the destruction dropped at Haiti in 2021. Earthquakes of comparable magnitude additionally struck close to Joint Base Elmendorf-Richardson in Alaska in 2018 and Naval Air Weapons Station China Lake in 2019.

The GAO concluded its report with suggestions that Coast Guard management guarantee coastal models within the Pacific Northwest develop location-specific evacuation plans, present steerage to these models on protocols and put the aforementioned plans to follow.

The Division of Homeland Safety concurred with the suggestions.

“The Coast Guard is dedicated to creating continuous enhancements to reinforce the protection and safety of all personnel and dependents ought to a tsunami occasion happen within the Pacific Northwest area of the US,” Homeland Safety’s Jim Crumpacker mentioned in an August letter to the GAO.

Crumpacker’s letter, nonetheless, famous that the Coast Guard doesn’t anticipate offering steerage or having its District 13 models develop written plans till at the very least 2025. In flip, coaching primarily based on these plans can be unlikely till 2026.

The Coast Guard’s thirteenth District Public Affairs crew couldn’t be instantly reached for remark.

Jonathan is a workers author and editor of the Early Fowl Temporary publication for Army Instances. Observe him on Twitter @lehrfeld_media

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