Anguilla Warning System and evacuation procedures tested in CaribWave 2013 Tsunami Exercise

The Valley, Anguilla, March 21, 2013 (Department of Disaster Management) - The CaribWave 2013 Tsunami Exercise was held on the 20th March 2013 and focused on the potential impacts of a short impact tsunami wave. The principal aims of the exercise were the evaluation of the abilities of the Anguilla Warning System and the evacuation procedures developed by exercise participants for a short impact tsunami event.

The principal participants were the Government Primary Schools, all of whom received the alert message via the Anguilla Warning System. The Anguilla Warning System delivered the alert messages via email, Weather Radio, Bambox and the Blackberry app, thereby enabling the schools to receive the notifications via any number of available methods.

Upon receipt of the tsunami alert the two schools which were already in the safe zone performed evacuations from the classrooms to assembly sites on the compound. The remaining four schools performed full or partial evacuations of their student body and staff to the tsunami assembly points or to the nearest tsunami safe area.

Schools were evaluated by volunteers to ascertain the speediness and effectiveness of their evacuations and their ability to evacuate to safe areas in an extremely short time.

All schools involved performed exceedingly well and by the exercise “cut off” time of 9:45 a.m. (giving each school a maximum of 35 minutes from initial notification) each school was able to report that their student bodies were able to reach tsunami safe zones.

Exercise evaluators praised the schools for the speed and effectiveness of their evacuations a fact which indicates that the plans which the schools recently developed for this exercise were both well conceived and well executed.

The Department therefore wishes to thank the staff of the Primary Schools who were actively involved in the production of these plans and who took ownership and responsibility for their execution and therefore ensured the high level of success achieved.

The Department also wishes to thank those members of the public who assisted us in the form of evaluators as well as the Royal Anguilla Police Force who were instrumental in directing traffic and ensuring the safety of the children as they were evacuating along the main roads.

The success of this exercise lays the foundation for the Primary Schools to continue in their efforts to implement School Safety Plans and therefore inspire confidence in the minds of the Anguilla public in the schools’ ability to ensure the safety of the children in their care in the event of a rapid onset tsunami threat to Anguilla.

CDEMA Caribbean Disaster Emergency Management Agency. Resilience Way, Lower Estate, St. Michael Tel: (246) 434-4880, Fax: (246) 271-3660
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