TsunamiReady® Frequently Asked Questions
What is TsunamiReady?
TsunamiReady is a voluntary community recognition program that promotes tsunami hazard preparedness as an active collaboration among federal, state/territorial and local emergency management agencies, community leaders and the public. The main goal of the program is to improve public safety before, during and after tsunami emergencies. It aims to do this by establishing guidelines for a standard level of capability to mitigate, prepare for and respond to tsunamis and working with communities to help them meet the guidelines and ultimately become recognized as TsunamiReady by the National Weather Service (NWS).
Modeled on the NWS's successful StormReady® program, TsunamiReady helps communities minimize the risk posed by tsunamis through better risk assessment, planning, education and warning communications. It was established in 2001 by the NWS in coordination with the National Tsunami Hazard Mitigation Program (a partnership led by NOAA that today includes the Federal Emergency Management Agency, the U.S. Geological Survey and 28 U.S. states and territories).
Why do we need a TsunamiReady program?
The 2004 Indian Ocean tsunami, the 2009 Samoa tsunami, the 2010 Chile tsunami, the 2011 Tohoku, Japan tsunami: In less than 10 years, these four events focused the world's attention on the rare but very real threat of tsunamis. Major tsunamis do not happen often, but when they do, they can have a significant impact on life and property. Even small tsunamis, which are more frequent, can cause loss of life, injuries and considerable damage. The TsunamiReady program helps to increase our Nation's tsunami preparedness by:
- Establishing guidelines for a standard level of preparedness
- Recognizing communities that meet this standard level of capability
- Encouraging consistency in educational materials and response among communities and states
- Increasing public awareness and understanding of the tsunami hazard
- Improving community pre-planning for tsunami emergencies
What are the benefits of becoming TsunamiReady?
The primary benefit of becoming TsunamiReady is improved public safety and reduced losses from tsunamis. Other incentives to becoming TsunamiReady include:
- Access to technical support from the National Weather Service and National Tsunami Hazard Mitigation Program partners
- Eligibility for credit points from the Federal Emergency Management Agency's Community Rating System, which provides discounts on flood insurance in participating communities
- Justification for costs associated with tsunami preparedness
- Improved positioning to receive state/territorial and federal financial support
- Improved preparedness for other hazards
What is TsunamiReady: Tier Two?
Recognizing that some communities are at greater risk for major tsunami impacts than others, the TsunamiReady program has developed an additional set of guidelines to help communities further increase their tsunami resilience. TsunamiReady: Tier Two
includes more difficult mitigation elements, including the physical elements of mitigation that typically cannot be done without significant external funding (e.g., bonds and/or FEMA grants). It also incorporates recovery, which may be more difficult, take longer to accomplish and also require funding to support. Activities associated with the Tier Two Guidelines are NOT
required for TsunamiReady recognition.
What is a community?
For the purposes of the TsunamiReady program, “community” is defined as a local government entity, an Indian tribal government, or a facility that has the authority and ability to implement the TsunamiReady Guidelines.
What does a community have to do to become TsunamiReady?
In order for the National Weather Service to recognize a community as TsunamiReady, the community must have implemented the activities established in the TsunamiReady Guidelines. These activities include:
- Defining tsunami inundation areas, producing evacuation maps and installing evacuation route signs
- Supporting ongoing, sustained tsunami public education and outreach, including to schools in tsunami inundation zones
- Establishing a 24-hour warning point and supporting emergency operations center operations
- Having more than one way to receive tsunami warnings and to alert the public
- Developing a formal tsunami operations plan and holding annual exercises
How can I learn more about the guidelines and how to use them to become TsunamiReady or renew my community's TsunamiReady recognition?
Can a community become TsunamiReady without being StormReady?
Yes, while the National Weather Service strongly encourages a community to ensure its residents and visitors safety by applying for recognition in both programs, it is not required that a community be recognized as StormReady in order to be recognized as TsunamiReady.
Is funding available to help communities become TsunamiReady?
There are no direct funds available for individual communities from the National Weather Service. However, state/territorial National Tsunami Hazard Mitigation Program (NTHMP) partners may be able to provide direct or in-kind support through NTHMP grant funds that they apply for and receive on an annual basis. For example, purchase of educational materials or installation of siren systems have been done in some areas when the NTHMP partner included those activities in an NTHMP grant request, and the request was funded. Funds may also be available from other government and/or private sector partners to help you meet TsunamiReady Guidelines.
Who decides if a community is TsunamiReady?
Recognition is determined by TsunamiReady Boards in coordination with local National Weather Service Weather Forecast Offices.
What do TsunamiReady Communities get upon recognition?
Once recognized, communities receive:
- A formal notification letter from the National Weather Service
- Two TsunamiReady signs (as funding supports)
- Authorization to use the TsunamiReady logo on websites, preparedness materials, stationary, etc.
- Information about eligibility for credit points from the Federal Emergency Management Agency's Community Rating System, which provides discounts on flood insurance in participating communities
- Recognition on the national TsunamiReady website
If interested, local National Weather Service Weather Forecast Office representatives will also work with communities to issue an optional news release and/or conduct a recognition ceremony.
How long does TsunamiReady recognition last?
TsunamiReady recognition lasts for three years. After three years, in order to maintain recognition, communities must verify their continued eligibility. After six years from recognition, communities must go through the formal application process again. The pattern of continued eligibility verification (after three years) and re-application (after six years) continues after the first six years.
What communities are TsunamiReady?
TsunamiReady Communities are displayed on a map and listed by state on the TsunamiReady Communities web page.
What is a TsunamiReady Supporter?
A TsunamiReady Supporter is an organization, business, facility or local government entity that is actively engaged in tsunami planning and preparedness but does not have the ability to meet all of the formal recognition guidelines. Potential TsunamiReady Supporters include, but are not limited to, businesses, schools, churches, hospitals, shopping centers, malls, utilities, museums, aquariums, villages, small communities, state parks, beaches, harbors and broadcasters/broadcast stations.
How can my entity be designated a TsunamiReady Supporter?
Does my community have to be recognized as a TsunamiReady Community for my entity to be designated as a TsunamiReady Supporter?
No, your community does not have to be recognized as a TsunamiReady Community in order for your organization to be designated as a TsunamiReady Supporter.
Who is responsible for designating TsunamiReady Supporters?
TsunamiReady Supporter eligibility and designation is determined by local National Weather Service Weather Forecast Offices (consistent criteria is in development).
What do TsunamiReady Supporters get upon designation?
Once designated, TsunamiReady Supporters receive a certificate from the National Weather Service, authorization to use the TsunamiReady logo and inclusion on the TsunamiReady website.
How long does TsunamiReady Supporter designation last?
TsunamiReady Supporter designation lasts for five years. After five years, supporters must verify that they still meet TsunamiReady Supporter requirements.