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Tsunami In Maine? Follow Emergency Evacuation Route Signs

While traveling the Downeast coast you’ve seen the blue and white “Evacuation Route” signs, which would be the route to follow in the event of a natural disaster, mainly a tsunami/tidal wave or some other intense coastal storm.

Think a tsunami couldn’t happen in our area?  Then think again.

In 2008, one was suspected to have occurred in Boothbay Harbor.  This past summer one probably happened off the Jersey shore.

According to an article in today’s Bangor Daily News, emergency management officials in this state are reviewing how we would respond to a tsunami.  How authorities would inform people of pending disaster and how those people could be moved to safety.

MDOT website photo

Back in 2011 the Maine Department of Transportation began installing Emergency Evacuation signs in the coastal areas of the state.  According to the MDOT website the signs would “help people move safely way away from coastal areas when a severe storm threatens”.  In an evacuation situation, manned traffic control points would be also set up at critical intersections along major routes such as Route 1 and I-295 to further assist travelers. However, having the signs clearly marking the smaller feeder routes will reduce the number of responders that would need to be assigned to direct traffic”.

The design of the evacuation route sign is a standard design that is used up and down the east coast of the country, so that it is instantly recognizable by motorists from just about anywhere.  Approximately 130 signs were installed.

Maine Emergency Management officials believe that under many scenarios, emergency managers would have five to six hours to clear people away from harms way.

The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration has a website that is up to the minute constantly monitoring what is happening in the Atlantic Ocean.

NOAA site photo



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