U.S. Geological Survey
SAFRR - Science Application for Risk Reduction
Recent scientific study reveals that certain large earthquakes in the Aleutian Islands can produce much greater tsunami inundation than Hawaii typically experiences. This higher level of tsunami inundation necessitates changes to current tsunami safety instructions - but only for this Aleutian event. For other tsunamis, the current procedures remain the ones to follow. Immediately upon learning of the new scientific study, Kevin Richards, Earthquake and Tsunami Planner, State of Hawaii Civil Defense, recognized that preparing Hawaii for both kinds of tsunamis had to be handled carefully, to maintain the public's trust, uphold scientific and official credibility, and raise awareness while avoiding confusion.
Hawaii's current situation - a change in safety procedures because of improvements in scientific understanding - has important implications for other hazards in other places. Thus SAFRR scientist Sue Perry assembled ten SAFRR partners in the social and behavioral sciences, marketing, and design, to talk with Richards now and perhaps to eventually help to implement and evaluate the Hawaiian approach to making changes.
Perry and Richards are now writing a white paper about the group's discussions, for Richards to circulate among his colleagues and raise awareness about these issues.