State gets $700,000-plus in NOAA tsunami preparedness grants

Sen.Maria Cantwell announced last week that Washington state received $725,822 in grants from the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration for the Washington State Tsunami Program for tsunami warning infrastructure, signage, outreach and education.

“Thousands of people in Washington state live in tsunami danger zones. Our communities work hard to prepare for emergencies, but they can’t do it all on their own,” said Cantwell. “These grants will help us protect coastal communities by boosting our emergency warning infrastructure, helping fund emergency management, and determining which areas need more preparation.”

The grants awarded to the tsunami program at the Washington State Military Department will support:

• Tsunami warning infrastructure and signage

• Outreach and education

• Training on tsunami operations at the National Tsunami Warning Center, located in Palmer, Alaska

• Pedestrian evacuation modeling

Last year, Cantwell, a senior Democrat on the Senate Commerce Committee, authored tsunami detection and warning legislation that increased grants through the National Tsunami Hazard Mitigation Program. The legislation, which was signed into law in April of 2017, also strengthened NOAA’s tsunami warning system and advanced new research related to improving tsunami detection, forecasting, notification, and emergency response.

Washington’s Division of Emergency Management has received numerous grants to help expedite tsunami preparedness, increase educational outreach efforts, and improve tsunami evacuation routes. For example, one grant helped purchase and install five tsunami sirens in Grays Harbor, Pacific and Whatcom Counties.