Town of North Topsail Beach. Onslow County. Tsunami Plan

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1 Town of North Topsail Beach & Onslow County Tsunami Plan

2 PRIMARY AGENCY County Emergency Services Department North Topsail Beach - Town Manager SUPPORT AGENCIES All Organizations North Topsail Beach - All Departments RESPONSIBLE POSITION Emergency Services Director North Topsail Beach - Emergency Manager RESPONSIBLE POSITION All Employees North Topsail Beach - All Employees PURPOSE This plan is subordinate to the Onslow County emergency Operations Plan and is to be used in conjunction with each relative section of the Emergency Operations Plan. This plan provides guidance in developing, conducting, and maintaining a program for tsunami readiness and emergency operations in North Topsail Beach and Onslow County. A Tsunami Warning System has been established to help minimize the loss of life and property. The NOAA Tsunami Warning Center in Palmer, Alaska monitors for earthquakes and subsequent tsunami events in both the Pacific and the Atlantic basins. If a tsunami is generated, the Tsunami Warning Center will issue tsunami watches and warnings, as well as tsunami information bulletins for both the U.S. west coast and east coast, which includes the North Carolina coast. SITUATION AND ASSUMPTIONS A. Situation 1. Onslow County has a very slight risk for tsunami impact. Tsunamis are sea waves produced by an undersea earthquake, below or above water landslide causing water disruption, or volcanic activity in or around the Atlantic Basin. 2. Currently all information regarding potential impacts is purely hypothetical. Some models predict an earthquake of a 9.0 magnitude originating in the Puerto Rican Trench as taking over 5 hours to reach Onslow County. Other models have predicted that a landslide off the continental shelf could generate a tsunami and be our most likely scenario. Approach times for these models are determined by the actual location of the landslide. 3. The Onslow County population increases during summer months due in part to the beaches of North Topsail and military families visiting the Camp Lejeune beaches. These increases will be primarily in the at-risk areas. 4. The areas at greatest risk in Onslow County during a tsunami are the coastlines. During summer months the North Topsail Beach population can increase to over 20,000 people and the year-round residency is around 1,000 people. 1

3 5. Other areas at risk of impact from Tsunamis are those areas bordering the tidal rivers of White Oak River and New River due to inundation from the tsunami surge. 6. An evacuation zone has been established for the coastline. People in the at-risk areas will need to evacuate at a minimum 300 feet inland to achieve a 15 foot vertical elevation increase at a minimum prior to the arrival of any tsunami waves. These zones may be modified based on the exact characteristics of an approaching tsunami. *ALL OF NORTH TOPSAIL BEACH WILL BE EVACUATED. See Evacuation Map p Prompt and effective evacuation of high-risk areas will require coordination between Onslow County and local municipalities including North Topsail Beach, Swansboro, Jacksonville and officials from Marine Corps Base Camp Lejeune. This coordination will also have to involve utility providers in the high-risk areas. Onslow County Emergency Management will assist the municipalities with coordinating this effort. B. Assumptions 1. An emergency situation may strike without warning and the public information system may not respond rapidly enough to properly alert and inform the public of the hazard. 2. It is important that prior to an emergency occurring, that every reasonable action is taken to ensure that the public is informed of potential hazards and the protective measures that can be taken through a public awareness program. 3. Augmentation of the public information system may be required to meet the information demand from the general public during an emergency situation. 4. Special care groups or persons residing in assisted living quarters, such as senior citizens' or nursing homes, group homes, or those identified by the Special Needs Registry may require individual notification. CONCEPT OF OPERATIONS A. General 1. All response and coordination will be in accordance with the Onslow County Emergency Operations Plan. 2. Coordination of protective actions to include evacuation recommendations and notification dissemination will be handled through Onslow County Emergency Management, Onslow County E-911, NWS Offices in both Wilmington and Morehead City, Onslow County Public Information Office, and local municipal governments to include North Topsail Beach, Swansboro, Jacksonville and Marine Corps Base Camp Lejeune. 2

4 3. Coordination for State and federal partners will be handled through the Onslow County Emergency Operations Center. 4. The following terms are considered vital information should a tsunami threaten Onslow County: a. Tsunami Warning - The highest level of tsunami alert. Warnings are issued due to the imminent threat of a tsunami from a large undersea earthquake or following confirmation that a potentially destructive tsunami is underway. They may initially be based only on seismic information as a means of providing the earliest possible alert. Warnings tell appropriate actions be taken in response to the tsunami threat. Such actions could include the evacuation of low-lying coastal areas and the movement of boats and ships out of harbors to deep water. Warnings are updated at least hourly or as conditions warrant to continue, expand, restrict, or end the warning. b. Tsunami Watch - The second highest level of tsunami alert. Watches are issued based on seismic information without confirmation that a destructive tsunami is underway. It is issued as a means of providing an advance alert to areas that could be impacted by destructive tsunami waves. Watches are updated at least hourly to continue them, expand their coverage, upgrade them to a Warning, or end the alert. A Watch for a particular area may be included in the text of the message that disseminates a Warning for another area. c. Tsunami Advisory - The third highest level of tsunami alert. Advisories are issued to coastal populations within areas not currently in either warning or watch status when a tsunami warning has been issued for another region of the same ocean. An Advisory indicates that an area is either outside the current warning and watch regions or that the tsunami poses no danger to that area. The Tsunami Warning Center issuing the 'Advisory' will continue to monitor the event, issuing updates at least hourly. As conditions warrant, the Advisory will either be continued, upgraded to a watch or warning, or ended. d. Tsunami Information Bulletin/Statement - This is issued to inform that an earthquake has occurred and to advise regarding its potential to generate a tsunami. In most cases, a Tsunami Information Bulletin indicates there is no threat of a destructive tsunami, and are used to prevent unnecessary evacuations as the earthquake may have been felt in coastal areas. A Tsunami Information Bulletin may, in appropriate situations, caution about the possibility of a destructive local tsunami. A supplemental Tsunami 3

5 Information Bulletin may be issued if important additional information is received such as a sea level reading showing a tsunami signal. A Tsunami Information Bulletin may also be upgraded to a watch or warning if appropriate. B. Operational Issues 1. If a tsunami warning is issued for the region by the NOAA Tsunami Warning Center, the NWS in Morehead City will activate the Emergency Alert System providing details of the approaching tsunami. This EAS will activate NOAA weather radios within the warning area. 2. The Onslow County E-911 policies are to immediately notify Emergency Management personnel and the mass broadcast the warning across all primary frequencies for emergency response agencies within the County. The message will also be relayed to the Jacksonville E-911 center. Once notification is received by Emergency Management personnel EOC activation will follow normal procedures as described in the Emergency Operations Plan. 3. The Onslow County E-911 supervisor or the Division Head will begin activation of Connect-CTY, the reverse 911 system utilized by Onslow County. Evacuation information will be tailored for the characteristics of the approaching tsunami. 4. The Onslow County Emergency Management Office will begin making contact with the County PIO and Municipal Officials to ensure they have received the warning and to begin coordination of evacuations. Contact will also be established with the NC Emergency Management Area IV Liaison or the Eastern Branch Office and the local NWS in Morehead City. 5. The Onslow County Sherriff s Department will lead evacuation operations in unincorporated areas and Municipal Fire/Law Enforcement will lead evacuations operations inside their jurisdictions. Onslow County Emergency Management will coordinate requests for additional resources to aid in the evacuations. 6. The Onslow County Emergency Management Office can, if determined to be necessary, contact the State EOC 24 hour Operations Center in Raleigh and request activation of the EAS based on specific information of the event and what actions the public needs to take. 7. In the event that a physical observation, such as severe water drawback, of an impending tsunami event is spotted prior to NWS notification the emergency responder who identifies the situation should contact the Onslow County E-911 Center immediately. The Onslow County E-911 Center will then contact the local NWS in Morehead City to make the determination of whether to activate the Emergency Alert System. 8. If evacuation becomes necessary the Onslow County PIO will begin broadcasting warning and evacuation instructions through the local media outlets. 4

6 9. All sheltering will be coordinated through the Onslow County EOC and will follow standard Shelter Activation plans identified in the Onslow County Emergency Operations Plan. Sheltering is coordinated with the American Red Cross. ASSIGNMENT OF RESPONSIBILITIES A. General Organization Responsibilities 1. All County Departments, Division Heads, and Special Staff, and organizations supporting emergency operations in the County, or the surrounding municipalities will provide EPI to the County or City/ Town PIO, as appropriate, and will clear all media releases with their respective PIO, or the JIC, if activated. 2. All organizations that support this plan are responsible for developing their respective SOG/Ps for supporting emergency operations in the County, or the surrounding municipalities. 3. All organizations that support this plan in the County, or surrounding municipalities, are responsible for coordinating with other organizations from which they require local support to develop letters of understanding or mutual aid agreements for that support. 4. All organizations supporting this plan in the County, or the surrounding municipalities, will coordinate their plans and operations with the County ESD. 5. Any organization supporting this plan that requires additional resources or outside assistance is required to forward their request to the OC EOC, when activated, for processing and prioritization. B. Specific Key Position Responsibilities Primary Agency 1. Emergency Services Director Be the primary coordinating agency for this plan in matters pertaining to the overall coordination of all organizations providing or supporting evacuation functions within, out of, or into the County. Identify potential areas at risk to safety in accordance with the Onslow County Multi-Jurisdictional Hazard Mitigation Plan. Develop and implement protocols for timely notification and information dissemination of emergency public information as it relates to a tsunami hazard. 5

7 DIRECTION AND CONTROL Prepare or assist in the preparation of plans and SOG/Ps in support of operations and provide for coordination with other emergency services (e.g., fire, law enforcement, hospital, etc.) including private support groups. Assist the County Sheriff in developing evacuation procedures out of potential areas at risk. In coordination with the County Social Services Director, and the County Transportation Coordinator develop estimated emergency transportation requirements for selected areas at risk in the County for evacuation. Maintain close liaison with the Assistant Chief of Staff, Installation Safety and Security, Marine Corps Base, Camp Lejeune, NC (AC/S ISS, MCB CLNC) regarding availability of personnel and equipment resources from local military facilities to assist with an evacuation; or to open shelters on local military facilities to temporarily receive evacuees. Assist all organizations supporting this plan in the County, and the surrounding municipalities, in obtaining required outside assistance and resources, as necessary. Coordinate opening reception areas and shelters with the County Social Services Director, the County Health Director, the Superintendent of Onslow County Schools, and the American Red Cross Director. Coordinate opening reception areas and shelters with host county emergency managers, as required. The County Emergency Services Director, under the direction and control of the County Manager, is responsible for all County level Tsunami awareness programs and the dissemination of Tsunami hazard information. CONTINUITY OF GOVERNMENT A. Line of Succession Tsunami Specific Hazard 1. County Emergency Services Director (for emergency management only) 2. County Emergency Services Deputy Director (for emergency management only) 3. Assistant County Manager B. Line of Succession Other Organizations Supporting this ESF Lines of Succession for other organizations that support this ESF are in accordance with that organization's established policy. 6

8 PLAN DEVELOPMENT, MAINTENANCE, SUPPORT, AND TRAINING A. Plan Development and Maintenance 1. The primary responsibility for coordinating the development and maintenance of the Tsunami Plan rests with the County Emergency Services Director. 2. Support agencies to this plan will assist the County ESD in developing and maintaining this plan. 3. A periodic review will be conducted of this plan for revalidation and necessary changes. Appropriate signatures and approval dates will identify revisions to this plan. The revision process will include incorporation of changes based upon periodic tests, drills and exercises, as appropriate. B. Plan Support - Organization SOG/ SOPs All organizations that support this plan will develop and maintain their own organization s updated Standard Operating Guides (SOG)/ Standard Operating Procedures (SOP), and mutual aid agreements. This information will be coordinated with and provided to the County ESD, as necessary. C. Plan and SOG/ SOP Training and Exercises 1. The County ESD will train to and exercise this plan periodically, as necessary. 2. The County ESD in coordination with other County emergency organizations will schedule and conduct required training activities to ensure understanding of this plan. 3. Training to and exercise of individual organization s SOG/ SOPs that support this plan are the responsibility of each respective organization. AUTHORITIES AND REFERENCES None 7

9 An evacuation zone has been established for the coastline. People in the at-risk areas will need to evacuate at a minimum 300 feet inland to achieve a 15 foot vertical elevation* increase at a minimum prior to the arrival of any tsunami waves. These zones may be modified based on the exact characteristics of an approaching tsunami. *ALL OF NORTH TOPSAIL BEACH WILL BE EVACUATED. North Topsail Beach Tsunami Evacuation Map Town of North Topsail Beach & Onslow County Tsunami Plan 8

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