New tsunami education resource raises awareness


Computer operator in front of bank of computer screens.

Geoscience Australia Duty
Seismologist Emma Mathews in
the Operations Hub of the Joint
Australian Tsunami Warning Centre.

A valuable new online resource has been produced by Surf Life Saving Australia and partner agencies to raise community awareness of what to do in the event of a tsunami impacting on Australia's coastline.

The online information package, Tsunami: The Ultimate Guide, is designed to raise awareness that Australia does experience tsunami events on average every two to four years. And, while most are small and present little threat of land inundation to coastal communities, the abnormal waves, tides and currents caused by even relatively small tsunami can be dangerous to swimmers and mariners.

The Co-Director of the Joint Australian Tsunami Warning Centre, Mr Daniel Jaksa, said this is an important resource that builds community awareness of the tsunami threat to Australia and our region.

The easy to use information package has been developed for use by individuals, communities, media, teachers, local councils, volunteer organisations and emergency managers, to help Australians better understand how tsunami are formed, the signs of potential tsunami inundation, and what to do if there is a tsunami.

The package has clear educational benefits by aligning with the geography content of the Australian curriculum, with a particular focus on content for years 5 and 6 students.

"In the Indian Ocean Tsunami of 2004 and the Japanese Tsunami of 2011, we have heard many stories of children who learnt about tsunami at school and who used this knowledge to help save lives in their communities," Mr Jaksa said.

As well as essential information about tsunami and how they are generated, there are interviews with staff from Geoscience Australia, the Australian Bureau of Meteorology and emergency managers on the workings of the Australian Tsunami Warning System, as well as case studies and video of marine threats and land impacts.

The Joint Australian Tsunami Warning Centre is operated by scientific experts from Geoscience Australia and the Bureau of Meteorology, with seismic and sea level monitoring equipment used to provide a 24-hour, seven days a week tsunami warning service.

The project was undertaken under the auspices of the National Tsunami Community Education Strategy and funded by the National Emergency Management Projects and Disaster Resilient Australia campaign. These projects provide resources to help build Australia's capacity to prepare for, and recover from, emergencies and disasters.

Tsunami: the Ultimate Guide can be accessed via the Australian Emergency Management Knowledge Hub.