Southeastern Section - 62nd Annual Meeting (20-21 March 2013)

Paper No. 3
Presentation Time: 8:45 AM


SOTO-CORDERO, Lillian1, HUÉRFANO-MORENO, Víctor1, GÓMEZ, Glorymar1, GIMÉNEZ-PORRATA, Alfonso2, RAMOS, Wilfredo3 and COLÓN-DALECCIO, Norma2, (1)Puerto Rico Seismic Network - Department of Geology, University of Puerto Rico at Mayaguez, Call Box 9000, Mayaguez, PR 00681, (2)Puerto Rico State Emergency Communications Committee, Ponce, PR 00732, (3)Puerto Rico Emergency Management Agency, San Juan, PR 00917,

With over 750,000 registered participants and extensive media coverage the first Puerto Rico ShakeOut, an Island-wide earthquake drill, was considered a great success by the general public and government agencies. We explore how the Puerto Rico Seismic Network (PRSN) overcame diverse challenges for the promotion of this earthquake drill: limited economic resources, being on the peak-period of the hurricane season and the exercise taking place two (2) weeks prior to the Island’s general election. An effective partnership with the Puerto Rico Radiobroadcaster Association and our ongoing collaborative work with local TV weather reporters allowed for an intense media campaign based on public service announcements. The extensive media coverage prompted the discussion of other related topics such as tsunami preparedness and earthquake insurance. A clear correlation was observed between areas of less participation and PREMA zones where media (radio) promotion was more limited.

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.

  • ShakeOut_GSA.pdf (2.4 MB)