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HomeNewsLocal newsTsunami Warning, Alert Systems to Be Tested During Thursday's 'Great ShakeOut' Drill

Tsunami Warning, Alert Systems to Be Tested During Thursday’s ‘Great ShakeOut’ Drill

During the drill, VITEMA will be testing its tsunami warning system territory-wide and will send out alerts once the ShakeOut starts on its Alert VI mass notification system, along with its Integrated Public Alert and Warning System (IPAWS), that the drill is occurring. (Source file photo)

The annual V.I. Great ShakeOut drill is scheduled for 10:20 a.m. on Thursday and is a coordinated global effort to raise awareness of earthquake safety and procedures, according to the V.I. Territorial Emergency Management Agency.

During the drill, which is held annually during the third Thursday in October, VITEMA will also be testing it tsunami warning system territory-wide and will send out alerts once the ShakeOut starts on its Alert VI mass notification system, along with its Integrated Public Alert and Warning System (IPAWS), that the drill is occurring. The word “test” will be included in both sets of messages, the agency said.

Once the alerts are sent, drill participants are asked to stop what they are doing to “drop, cover and hold on,” as if an actual earthquake were occurring. Once they have stayed in position for one minute, participants should then evacuate from their location to the nearest designated safe zone, according to VITEMA.

The Virgin Islands is located at an active tectonic plate boundary between the North American plate and the northeast corner of the Caribbean plate. Major plate movements have and can cause large magnitude earthquakes which then can result in devastating tsunamis. Earthquakes are usually caused when tectonic plates suddenly break and there is rapid motion along a fault. This sudden release of energy causes the seismic waves that make the ground shake.

So far, nearly 14,500 residents have registered to participate in this year’s drill. To learn more about how to “Drop, Cover and Hold On,” visit www.shakeout.org/usvi.

VITEMA also has informational videos posted on its social media accounts to describe the drill and demonstrate the steps. To register for the drill, go to www.shakeout.org/usvi, to fill out the quick registration form.

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