FIRST PUERTO RICO SHAKEOUT: SUCCESS AND EFFECTIVENESS OF PARTNERSHIPS AND COLLABORATIVE WORK WITH MEDIA ORGANIZATIONS AND STATE AND FEDERAL AGENCIES
Methods currently used by PRSN and the Alert Focal Points (NWS and PREMA) to disseminate earthquake and tsunami information were also tested as part of the Great Puerto Rico ShakeOut. Having reliable, fast and redundant dissemination methods is of the utmost importance since theoretical tsunami models show that tsunamis generated by offshore earthquakes in the Puerto Rico-Virgin Islands region can reach our coasts in as little as three (3) minutes after the event. The Federal Communications Commission (FCC) authorized the use of a “live” event code for the Emergency Alert System (EAS) test that was used to inform the beginning of the drill. The EAS Earthquake Warning (EQW) code was used for the first time in our jurisdiction thus prompting radio, TV cable stations to verify the appropriate configuration of this code on their EAS decoders. Dissemination tools routinely used as part of PRSN earthquake and tsunami protocols, such as PRSNDANIS Broadcast, Ring Down, Ham Radio, RSS, SMS, fax and email service lists, were also tested. Emergency Management and First Response Agencies were asked to report the times the messages were received, thus allowing us to better assess the effectiveness of our dissemination methods and to establish a baseline for next year ShakeOut. We will be presenting the results of our communication tests.