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Bermuda to engage in regional tsunami drill

Bermuda will take part in a tsunami warning exercise with other Caribbean countries on Thursday.

A spokeswoman for the national security ministry said: “The purpose of this exercise is to evaluate local tsunami response plans, increase tsunami preparedness, and improve coordination throughout the region.”

She added: “The 2018 exercise will simulate an earthquake along the Caribbean coast of Barbados (Southern Caribbean).

“The resulting exercise tsunami wave will affect Bermuda, as well as other jurisdictions in the Atlantic and Caribbean.”

The spokeswoman explained that the Pacific Tsunami Warning Center will alert the Bermuda Weather Service, which will contact the Emergency Measures Organisation.

She added: “These watches/warnings will be conveyed to the Bermuda community at large via all the usual media channels used by the Bermuda Weather Service.”

“Residents should not be alarmed to note the exercise watches and warnings posted via the Bermuda Weather Channel on CableVision and WOW, the weather telephone recordings (977, 9771, 9772, and 9773), www.weather.bm, BWS Facebook page or broadcast via VHF Radio (via Bermuda Radio).

“Residents and local agencies should, however, note the relevant information contained within the exercise warnings and take the opportunity to think about their state of readiness and actions, should such an actual event occur, as this exercise offers the opportunity to exercise their communications procedures.”

The spokeswoman explained that Bermuda was hit by a tsunami in November 1929.

She added: “Many people are surprised to hear that Bermuda has in fact experienced a tsunami.

“Bermuda has changed considerably since then, and waterfront properties, shipping industry, ocean activities (beach or mariners) and moored vessels have all come into existence or increased considerably.

“Any coastline is at risk of tsunami impact and there is much confusion on this topic locally.

“The low frequency of these events is disarming, but the potentially devastating effects warrant at least a basic action plan that involves knowing factual tsunami basics for our area, the signs that a tsunami may be approaching, where to go for current information and what to do in a Tsunami Watch or Warning situation, including knowing the defined differences between a watch and a warning.”

The spokeswoman added that if a real tsunami threat happened during the exercise, the exercise would be terminated.