The Local Tsunami Alert System [``SLAT'']: A Computational Tool for the Integral Management of a Tsunami Emergency
Source: Natural Hazards, Volume 31, Number 1, January 2004 , pp. 129-142(14)
Abstract:During a tsunami emergency numerous local authorities responsible for the security of local persons and businesses which function in the coastal zone are required to make critical decisions within a very short time frame. It is known that the consequences of the situation will depend on the quality and quantity of decisions which they make or allow to occur at the critical time. Based on this concept, the Local System of Tsunami Alert (SLAT; Spanish) was developed. This is a computational tool designed for the automatic implementation of integral management for an emergency of this type.
The System is able to immediately evaluate possible risks and determine the type of alert represented (Red, Yellow, Green, Blue, and Celeste) if relevant data such as coordinates of the epicenter, magnitude, date, and origin of the earthquake (>6.5° on the Richter scale) threatening the Pacific are known. Other relevant data include location of the coastal or marine epicentre and the superficial hypocenter. The relevant data may now be obtained from the internet from international seismological services, and fed into the program to give the most probable time for arrival of the first wave train at a given point of interest, whether this be a port, bathing area, generating plant, or coastal city. The program also gives the time required for the first wave train to arrive at a given coast, and displays a menu of previously planned actions to be taken according to the type of alert. It also permits dissemination of a bulletin with critical data and action plans by fax or e-mail to scattered users as well as for storage on the computer disc. The system is designed in a way that the user always confirms with authorities that an event has in fact been generated. On a local scale, the user is required to prepare an operative emergency plan of action to be followed by his company, community, or municipality, to be followed for each type of alert.
The System permits carrying out test exercises with the users, as well as simulation of past events. Knowledge concerning past events permits understanding correct design of emergency action plans for mitigation of potential present and future events. This software is specifically designed for the Pacific Coast of South America, and is prepared in Spanish, with the intention of improving responses of inhabitants of coastal areas to the potential threat from tsunamis.
Document Type: Research Article
Publication date: January 1, 2004