Note: This post was provided by Mike Blood, Division Chief/Fire Marshal
The City of Coronado Emergency Operations Plan provides a comprehensive emergency management system for the effective management of emergency incidents. Addressed in the plan under Attachment "A - Specific Hazards", the City has identified a number of hazards to which we are most vulnerable. While local Tsunami events are rare, and to date damage in San Diego has been limited to its harbors, we recognize the city's vulnerability based on its low elevation level and proximity to the Coronado Bank Fault. The coastline adjacent to the City of Coronado has a very shallow and large ocean floor. This type of underwater terrain would greatly diminish the speed and impact of any tsunami that might affect the City.
Two types of Tsunami could affect the coastal area of California. The first is considered a Local-Source Tsunami. A Local-Source Tsunami stems from the effects of a large earthquake in close proximity to our coastal waters. This type of Tsunami offers limited time for authorities to issue a warning. People on the beach or in other low lying areas identified on our local inundation map should move immediately to areas of higher ground as soon as possible and stay there until they are told by officials that the event has passed. In Coronado higher ground or safe refuge is achieved by moving inland away from the immediate coastline or above the ground floor in a high-rise or multi-story building constructed of reinforced concrete. The second type of Tsunami is considered a Distant-Source Tsunami. While these waves may also be generated by large earthquakes, they come from other areas of the Pacific Ocean reaching our coastline many hours after the earthquake has occurred. This type of Tsunami offers the local authorities some time to communicate such an event to our citizens.
The City maintains two distinct methods of emergency incident communication or notification systems. The first method is provided through the County of San Diego. Telephone notifications are sent to residents and businesses impacted by, or in danger of being impacted by, an emergency or disaster. This system, called Alert San Diego, will be used by emergency response personnel to notify those homes and businesses at risk with information on the event and/or actions (such as evacuation) we are asking them to take. The system utilizes the region's 9-1-1 database, provided by the local telephone companies, and thus is able to contact land-line telephones whether listed or unlisted. If you have a Voice over IP (VoIP) or cellular telephone and would like to be notified over that device, or if you would like an email notification, you must register those telephone numbers and/or email address for use by the system. You may register your information by signing up here or contacting firstname.lastname@example.org. The second method of notification is provided through our Emergency Siren System. The City of Coronado has three sirens to alert the community in the event of a pending disaster. The sirens are located at the Headquarters Fire Station on Sixth Street, Glorietta Bay Park, and at the Cays Fire Station at Coronado Cays Boulevard and Grand Caribe Causeway. Coronado's Emergency Siren System was designed to alert the community in the event of a disaster or potential disaster. In that situation, residents can tune into the San Diego County Emergency Alerting System (AM 600 KOGO radio). Residents would receive accurate and timely information on what steps they should take during the emergency through these two vital systems.
There are three levels specific to Tsunamis and the level of severity associated with them. The terms used to describe the level of threat are a Warning, a Watch, and an Advisory. The highest level of Tsunami alert is termed as a Tsunami Warning. A Tsunami Warning indicates a dangerous tsunami may have been generated and could be close to your area. Warnings are issued when an earthquake is detected that meets the location and magnitude criteria for the generation of a tsunami. The warning includes predicted tsunami arrival times at selected coastal communities within the geographic area defined by the maximum distance the tsunami could travel in a few hours. A Tsunami Watch means a dangerous tsunami has not yet been verified but could exist and may be as little as an hour away. A watch—issued along with a tsunami warning—predicts additional tsunami arrival times for a geographic area defined by the distance the tsunami could travel in more than a few hours. Advisories are issued to coastal populations within areas not currently in either warning or watch status when a tsunami warning has been issued for another region of the same ocean.
In conclusion, the City of Coronado does have an Emergency Operations Plan in place. We do not provide an evacuation plan that directs our citizens through low lying areas of concern or rely on the bridge as our sole evacuation route. We do recognize the importance of communication and believe that safe refuge in conjunction with limited evacuations provide a prudent and reasonable solution.
Mike Blood, Division Chief/Fire Marshal
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