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If you hear tsunami sirens Thursday, don’t be alarmed

A sign directs traffic to an evacuation route in the event of a tsunami on the Quileute Indian reservation in La Push, Washington. Tsunami sirens in Whatcom County will be tested Thursday morning.
A sign directs traffic to an evacuation route in the event of a tsunami on the Quileute Indian reservation in La Push, Washington. Tsunami sirens in Whatcom County will be tested Thursday morning. AP

Whatcom County residents will hear tsunami sirens Thursday morning as part of the annual Great ShakeOut Exercise, according to a news release from the Whatcom County Sheriff’s Office.

The Whatcom County sirens will be tested at 10:19 a.m. The wailing sound, rather than the Westminster Chimes typically used during monthly tests, will play, the release said. The sirens will be activated across coastal communities, except for Sandy Point which opted out of the test.

National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration radios set to receive the required monthly test of the sirens will also activate during the exercise.

The drill will include a voice announcement stating it’s a test, a reminder for people to test their evacuation routes, and will be followed by a 90-second wailing sound and a repeat of the previous voice announcement, the release stated.

The Semiahmoo First Nation in White Rock, British Columbia is participating in the Great British Columbia ShakeOut exercise and will also set off its sirens (Westminster Chimes ) Thursday at 10:19 a.m. The chimes will be audible in Blaine and Peace Arch Park, the release said.

The Semiahmoo First Nation is also conducting an emergency evacuation drill starting at 10:23 a.m. The siren will announce that it’s a test, then it will instruct people that “an incident has occurred in your area. You are advised to leave this area. Do not return until directed to do so. Follow evacuation routes,” according to a Semiahmoo First Nation news release.

The siren will then repeat it’s only a test and will be followed by telling people to evacuate to the Muster Point at the Pacific Inn Hotel on King George Boulevard.

Semiahmoo First Nation partner agencies, BNSF Railway and Whatcom County Community Emergency Response Teams will be sent out to locations in Ferndale, Bellingham, Blaine, Birch Bay, Semiahmoo, Peace Arch Park parking lot and Surrey to simulate damage assessment and reporting.

Denver Pratt: 360-715-2236, @DenverPratt

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