The city unveiled Thursday a new set of Extreme Tsunami Evacuation Zone (XTEZ) maps, which outline refuge areas and routes in high-impact, worst-case scenarios.
The zones do not replace current tsunami zones, but rather add a second zone should an extremely large (9M+) earthquake occur in the Aleutian Islands, generating an especially destructive tsunami in Hawaii.
“Should the worst occur, should we have an extreme tsunami with major damage, at that point, we’ll immediately go into shelters, working with the Red Cross, working with the military, guards, to put up sites where people can go should their home be damaged,” said Honolulu Mayor Kirk Caldwell.
The maps were developed by the city Department of Emergency Management (DEM) in concert with the Hawaii Emergency Management Agency and the University of Hawaii. They do not affect or change FEMA Flood Insurance Rate Maps.
Officials also introduced a free disaster preparedness smartphone app called Ready Hawaii.
It was designed to enable residents and visitors to develop family disaster plans, learn about hazards and disasters in Hawaii, and help increase personal disaster awareness and preparedness.
The app was developed by the DEM with funding by the University of Hawaii Sea Grant College Program.
If you feel an earthquake, a tsunami may be coming. Officials say you should:
- Drop, cover, hold until the earthquake is over.
- Move immediately inland to high ground and away from low-lying coastal areas.
- Do not wait for an official warning.
- Go on foot if at all possible.
- Do not pack or delay.
- Do not return to the beach. Large waves may continue to come onshore for several hours.
- Wait for an “all-clear” from local emergency officials before returning to low-lying areas.