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Media Release

International tsunami exercise involving Western Australia
Wednesday 7 September 2016 – 9:30 AM

The Department of Fire and Emergency Services (DFES) is taking part in an international tsunami exercise today to test emergency services’ communications and response capabilities. 

The Indian Ocean Wave exercise will involve 20 other countries surrounding the Indian Ocean, with all Australian States and Territories taking part.

DFES Hazard Planning Acting Assistant Commissioner Stephen Johnston said although the tsunami threat to Western Australia is low, tsunamis are possible due to our proximity to the Java Trench, an active earthquake zone.

While its unlikely Western Australia would experience a catastrophic tsunami incident, we have seen minor land inundation and dangerous rips and currents caused by tsunamis,” A/Assistant Commissioner Johnston said.

If there is a tsunami threat, people should stay away from the coastline and head to higher ground - if they are swimming or in a boat in shallow water they should leave the water.

A/Assistant Commissioner Johnston said the exercise was a valuable part of DFES’ training and preparation activities.

“We don’t know when or where the next emergency will strike, and it’s essential that emergency services are prepared for the worst case scenario.

“The Indian Ocean Wave exercise will test the current tsunami procedures that are in place and identify what we need to do to enhance our planning and preparation.”

Following the exercise, a review and evaluation will be conducted by all participating countries and agencies.

For information about the Indian Ocean Wave exercise visit www.ioc-unesco.org/IOWave16 

For more information about tsunami safety visit www.dfes.wa.gov.au.  

Media Contact: DFES Media and Corporate Communications 9225 5955


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