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Tsunami warning test conducted along North Coast

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The Tsunami Warning Test for Humboldt and Del Norte Counties this year was on Wednesday, a day before the 50th anniversary of the Great Tsunami of 1964 that killed 12 people in Del Norte County.

The sirens sounded at 115 decibels from 100 feet away on Wednesday morning, signifying the beginning of the 2014 Tsunami Warning Test.

"These tests are important because they tell us what worked so we can build on those things. They also tell us what didn't work," said Greg Renick, the Information Officer with the California Office of Emergency Services.

Thanks to the test, National Weather Service officials know that two sirens in Humboldt County did not work and that 10 did.  But they say the test is also something for the public to take advantage of.

"They are also an opportunity for the public to test their knowledge of the system, become familiar with it, put in place the things that they should do," Renick said.

Officials say the public should know whether or not they are in a tsunami zone as well, and that you should have an evacuation plan in place if you live in a tsunami zone.

They also say to make sure you know how you can get to higher ground and to practice your evacuation route, you develop an emergency kit you can take with you, and you make sure you have an out of town contact. 

"By knowing and practicing what to do, you have a much better chance of protecting your lives and those of your loved ones," said Renick.

"We really have this guiding philosophy that this entire region could survive the next tsunami emergency, whether the earthquake is just off the coast and people respond to the natural warning, or if the earthquake is in Alaska or Japan and they respond to an official warning,” said Troy Nicolini, the Warning Coordination Meteorologist for the National Weather Service Eureka Office.

Officials say in a real emergency, there will be seven warning systems used to make sure everyone is made aware of a tsunami emergency.   However, they say to evacuate immediately if you are in a tsunami zone and observe natural warnings, like an earthquake lasting at least 20 seconds or the ocean receding.

If you want to find out if you live in a tsunami zone, visithttp://www.humboldt.edu/rctwg/images/uploads/TsunamiBrochures_HumboldtCounty_March2012_reduced.pdf

Also, to give feedback on today’s tsunami warning test, you can visit weather.gov/test