NBC San Diego – Tsunami News Story


Okay, so are you ready for the big one? The big one as in the tsunami tidal wave that could hit San Diego following a major earthquake at sea. Well, Jack Gates with our media partner Channel 4 San Diego is here with details about a new tsunami warning campaign that’s out there. Well, you don’t think about it so you need it, obviously. The last time a tsunami caused any damage in San Diego was in 1964. A tsunami wave from an Alaskan earthquake that did cause twelve deaths in California, but there was also a tsunami warning for San Diego in 2006 and with climate change offshore earthquakes could increase. When you mention tsunami, most people remember the 2004 tragedy in Thailand and Southeast Asia. The tidal waves from a major Indian Ocean earthquake claimed tens of thousand of lives. A tsunami is not the number one emergency thought of most San Diegans. I don’t think San Diegans should worry about a tsunami, but they should know that one is possible and know what to do. And knowing what to do brought county emergency experts to Del Mar Heights Elementary School today. With a thirty-thousand dollar federal grant, the county has put together a video ‘Tsunamis: Know What to Do!’ The video is aimed at school children. And that’s where they pick up habits that they’ll use the rest of their lives so if you teach a fourth grader what to do in case of a tsunami, they’ll know that the rest of their lives. Students with ‘Don’t Be Scared, Be Prepared’ t-shirts watch the premier of the video featuring animated crabs. For today’s science lesson, we’re going to learn about tsunamis. The video explains what a tsunami is, how tragic they can be and how to look for tsunami warning signs like receding water of the ocean or feeling a very strong earthquake. “We’re talking about an earthquake that knocks people off their feet or where you can count shaking for twenty seconds or longer. If either one of these happens, you want to evacuate inland to higher ground right away.” And like all good messages to children, the information was reinforced with a song and dance – ‘The Tsunami Slide.’ ♪ Tsunamis, tsunamis, go away from the ocean blue ♪ The third graders from Mrs. Wildman’s class got the tsunami message. You should never stay and watch a tsunami. Why? Because it could be dangerous. You should always head to higher ground or get away from the beach when you hear that one’s coming. If there’s an earthquake, you should go run away. Also by reaching children, emergency experts hope they’ll spread the word to parents. Even if a catastrophic tsunami in San Diego might not happen but once every several thousand years. It’s not something to lose sleep over, but when is that two thousand years up? It might have been up today. It might have been tomorrow and you just need to know that if you feel that shaking when you’re down near the shoreline, get elevation right away. Now, an amazing illustration of tsunami education was demonstrated by a ten-year-old British girl Tilly Smith, who was vacationing with her family in Thailand in 2004. She recognized the ocean’s warning signs from a geography lesson and was able to warn her family and at least a hundred people on the beach to evacuate before the deadly tsunami waves came ashore. So, obviously, education really is the key. Sure is. How and where will this tsunami video be used? It’ll be distributed to the six hundred schools in San Diego County and then to all the counties in California and also nationwide. So, Del Mar obviously is not too far from the water for these kids, but what about people that live more inland. I mean, do they still have to be educated on this? Yeah. A student in Omaha, Nebraska – why would they care about a tsunami? You know, they may come out here to vacation with their parents in California like the British girl that was in Thailand. So, you know knowing a little bit about a tsunami could save lives. Got it. Thanks, Jack. I like that Tsunami Slide. Thanks, Jack.

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