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Posted on April 2, 2014 | 9:59 a.m.

NOAA Declares Santa Barbara County StormReady and TsunamiReady

Source: Lael Wageneck for Santa Barbara County

Santa Barbara County was recognized Tuesday by the NOAA’s National Weather Service as both StormReady and TsunamiReady.

To become StormReady and TsunamiReady, Santa Barbara County met stringent criteria focusing on both internal and external communication, alert systems, reception and understanding of hazardous weather alerts, community outreach and a comprehensive natural disaster plan.

The nationwide voluntary community preparedness programs use a grassroots approach to help communities and counties develop plans to prepare and warn citizens about severe weather, flooding and tsunami threats.

"Tsunamis, though infrequent, are one of the most devastating natural disasters that can impact a coastal community. For these reasons and more, the County of Santa Barbara is fully supportive of the NOAA’s National Weather Service TsunamiReady Program,” said Ryan Rockabrand, director of the Office of Emergency Management. “The tsunami preparedness process, aimed at the general public and local officials alike, is an invaluable tool in helping the community survive a tsunami event through sustained planning, education and awareness. The County of Santa Barbara is honored to be receiving the TsunamiReady designation and recognition as part of this valuable program.”

Mark Jackson, meteorologist-in-charge of the National Weather Service forecast office in Oxnard, presented county officials with recognition letters and StormReady and TsunamiReady signs at a ceremony during Tuesday's Board of Supervisors meeting.

“Like all areas along the West Coast, a tsunami could strike Santa Barbara County at any time,” Jackson said. “Preparing for disaster is everyone's responsibility. Develop your own emergency response plan, keep a disaster supply kit on hand and learn the tsunami warning signs.”

The StormReady and TsunamiReady programs are a part of NOAA National Weather Service's working partnership with the International Association of Emergency Managers, the National Emergency Management Association and the National Tsunami Hazard Mitigation Program. The StormReady and TsunamiReady designation must be renewed after three years.

Click here for more information on how your family can be prepared for a tsunami or other natural disaster.

 — Lael Wageneck is a public engagement coordinator for Santa Barbara County's CEO Office.

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