Tsunami exercises and drills are excellent ways in which to increase tsunami preparedness and awareness of coastal communities. Regular exercises are essential to maintain the operational readiness of response agencies for the real event, and especially important because of the infrequent occurrence of tsunamis.
Exercises evaluate one’s ability to respond to a local, regional, or ocean-wide tsunamis. Exercises test communications, review agency standard operating procedures, and promote emergency preparedness.
At the local level, stakeholder agencies, community organizations, and citizens groups can work together to organize and conduct drills for the evacuation of low-lying areas after a tsunami warning is issued by local authorities. Tsunami drills by schools are effective ways to educate school children on tsunamis so that they know tsunamis natural warning signs and know what to do when a tsunami warning occurs. When media are invited to cover and participate in drills, tsunami awareness of communities is increased as a whole.
There are many types of exercise and drills. They can exercise parts of the response, or simulate an entire end-to-end warning and evacuation scenario. Similarly, exercises can be conducted only within departments or organizations, or involve entire communities, states, provinces, a country, or internationally, many countries comprising an entire ocean basin.
Finally, exercises can be conducted as simply orientation workshops that inform on what to expect, as slow discussion simulations between responders, or as fully involved, real-time exercises.