28 Sep 2011

New American Samoa tsunami warning system ready

7:14 pm on 28 September 2011

American Samoa's tsunami warning system will be officially commissioned the day after tomorrow, coinciding with the second anniversary of the 2009 disaster that claimed 34 lives in the territory.

On September 29th 2009, a magnitude 8.1 earthquake spawned the tsunami which killed 184 people in American Samoa, Samoa and Tonga.

The deputy director of the American Samoa Department of Homeland Security, Jacinta Brown, says the 46 siren network will be tested at noon and will include messages in both English and Samoan.

She says according to protocols for use of the system in a real event, a button would be pushed for an earthquake of magnitude 7.5 or greater.

Ms Brown says September is a nationwide disaster preparedness month and most people will know this is a test run.

"There is audible messages already scripted into the system. Hence that's what this test is all about to familiarise the folks on the differences in the tones and to test the clarity of the audible messages that are transmitted just to see how clear they are received from various distances."

Jacinta Brown says if the test is successful the commissioning will be complete and the system handed over to the local government.