WARRENTON - The city will test its tsunami warning siren monthly beginning Monday.

Interim city manager Jim Hough announced that the tests should hopefully keep residents acquainted with the siren and remind them what to do when they hear it.

"In a real event, hearing the siren would be notification to the public to turn on their radios and listen for specific advice from public safety officials," he said.

At noon, the first Monday of every month, the siren will go through the full three-minute cycle for tsunami warnings.

In the event of a real alert, public announcements would tell city residents to leave the city following the blue evacuation signs.

Fire Chief Ted Ames said the siren can be used for other emergencies such as flooding and dike failures.

"If people hear the warning siren, the important thing to remember is to turn on local radio or television stations for further information," he said.

Because tsunamis would most likely be created by a distant event such as an earthquake in Japan or near Alaska, officials would have some time, possibly hours, to decide if evacuation is needed.

Earthquakes occurring near the coast, however, could generate a devastating tsunami with almost no warning, so Ames said if people feel strong shaking they should head for higher ground as soon as possible.

"If we experience extremely severe ground shaking locally along low lying coastal areas, people should immediately begin heading for higher ground," he said. "Especially people in the immediate coastal area."

For more information on the testing contact the Warrenton Fire Department at 861-2494 or City Hall at 861-2233.

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