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On December 20, 2007, NOAA recognized the city of Samoa on California’s northern coast as the nation’s 50th TsunamiReady community. The city took an innovative approach and partnered with AmeriCorps to launch a door-to-door education campaign, which led to enormous success. This major effort focused on preparing community members to respond quickly to a tsunami. In addition, the city established evacuation routes and a local warning plan. In an unprecedented event, Samoa conducted California’s first tsunami evacuation drill, which included 90 percent of the community.
NOAA also recognized the city of Orick, located 30 miles north of Samoa, as a TsunamiReady community. Samoa and Orick are the first TsunamiReady communities in Humboldt County, California. The tsunami threat along the Northern California Coast is very real and ever-present due to the Cascadia Subduction Zone, a large fault that lies just offshore. If this fault were to produce an earthquake, a tsunami could reach the coast in less than thirty minutes.
Due to this short reaction time, residents cannot wait for a warning – they must know what to do and act immediately. The TsunamiReady program plays an important role in educating community officials and residents about how to prepare for tsunamis and keep themselves safe should one occur.