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Public Safety

San Diego County Issues Tsunami-Response Playbooks

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In an effort to limit hazards associated with mass evacuations, authorities prepared tsunami-response "playbooks" specific for San Diego County's coastal cities and military installations, county officials announced Friday.

The tsunami response plans detail evacuations based on population, topography and flood zones.

Representatives from 10 areas worked with the county's Office of Emergency Services to tailor a response plan specific to a given area.

"Advanced modeling gives us the ability to more accurately predict who may be impacted by an approaching tsunami," county Office of Emergency Services Director Holly Crawford said. "The playbooks are actionable plans that will reduce the potential for an over-evacuation of communities, which can lead to additional hazards."

The playbooks replaced the county's previous plan that applied to coastal communities across the board. County officials said they only had two options before — either to evacuate just the beaches or to clear out the around 33,000 homes and businesses in the region's tsunami evacuation zone.

In cases of a tsunami caused by a far away earthquake, local officials can now refer to the plans as they await the surge.

San Diego was one of five counties in the state picked to create the plans as part of a pilot program through the California Governor's Office of Emergency Services and the California Geological Survey.

"These playbooks will allow us to perform more focused evacuations based on the unique characteristics of the impacted areas and more accurate information about the expected tsunami," Office of Emergency Services Senior Emergency Services Coordinator Mike Davis said.

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