Alarms will sound around 10 a.m. today, signalling residents to hurry uphill during the annual Caribe Wave regional earthquake and tsunami exercise.

The Department of Disaster Management, which will use the drill to test territorial response plans, is encouraging all residents to take part.

DDM Director Jasen Penn warned that 2021 tsunamis in New Zealand and Tonga were recent reminders of the importance of preparation.

“Worldwide, there is an urgent need to be more prepared for such events,” Mr. Penn said, adding, “This year, we will be testing internal response plans, activating components of the National Early Warning Multi-hazard Alert System, and encouraging schools and businesses to test their tsunami evacuation procedures along with us.”

The exercise today will include public notification via the early warning sirens, the National Emergency Broadcast System, the DDM Alert mobile app and VHF radio. All public officers are expected to participate, and businesses and individuals are urged to join as well.

Each year, the DDM also partners with the Pacific Tsunami Warning Centre for a regional emergency communications test as part of the exercise.

The scenario

This year’s exercise scenario is a magnitude 8.7 earthquake in the Puerto Rico Trench at approximately 10 a.m., followed by a tsunami.

The scenario is based on the 1787 Boricua Earthquake, which caused extensive damage in Puerto Rico.

Once the exercise starts, participants are asked to begin by practising the earthquake safety response of drop, cover and hold for 60 seconds before proceeding to a tsunami assembly area at a safe location.

To sign up, residents can complete a brief survey at

‘Tsunami Ready’

The territory has participated in the annual tsunami exercises since 2009, and in 2014 it was recognised by UNESCO and the Intergovernmental Oceanographic Commission as “Tsunami Ready.”

Caribe Wave is coordinated locally by DDM.

Partners in the region

Regionally, it is sponsored by the UNESCO/IOC Intergovernmental Coordination Group for Tsunami and Other Coastal Hazards Warning System for the Caribbean and Adjacent Regions in coordination with the Caribbean Disaster Emergency Management Agency, the Centro de Coordinación para la Prevención de los Desastres Naturales en América Central, EMIZA Antilles, and the US National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, according to government.