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Oregon State University holding tsunami drill at South Beach State Park May 11

April 24, 2017

Newport, OR -- The Oregon Parks and Recreation Department (OPRD) along with Oregon State University (OSU) engineers and sociologists is seeking volunteers for a tsunami evacuation drill starting 10 am May 11 at South Beach State Park, two miles south of Newport.

OSU is developing computer models that show how people's decisions during a tsunami affect their ability to survive the event. The computer models will analyze decisions such as how quickly people decide to move, and what route they take.

South Beach State Park is the first location for the pilot project and gives OPRD and researchers a chance to see how the public uses tsunami evacuation signs and routes. Organizers need about 100 volunteers with smart phones to participate in the evacuation. Campers and other visitors can register by going to http://bit.ly/2ovL1hB.

Coordinators will give instructions at 10 am at the South Beach meeting hall. The exercise begins at 10:30 am. The drill gives visitors five minutes to prepare, and 25 minutes to make it to a safe area. The evacuation is expected to last until noon, followed by a question and answer session at the meeting hall.

Researchers estimate a massive earthquake and tsunami will hit the Oregon coast in the next 50 years. Computer models predict that South Beach would be covered in a tsunami wave within 30 minutes.

OSU is one of 10 institutions leading an initiative called the Community Resilience Center of Excellence. Based at Colorado State University, the five-year, $20-million dollar program develops computer programs designed to help communities better prepare for natural disasters, lessen their impact and recover more quickly. The National Science Foundation and Oregon Sea Grant provided funding for this tsunami drill.