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Emergency Evacuation Simulations in Puerto Vallarta

September 19, 2018

Public and private sectors in Puerto Vallarta will participate in city-wide evacuation simulations, with a hypothesis of a tsunami caused by an earthquake, on Wednesday, September 19 at 11 am and 5 pm.

Puerto Vallarta, Mexico - Don't be alarmed if you hear sirens going off and see hordes of people heading for higher ground today. The City of Puerto Vallarta will be conducting large-scale earthquake and tsunami evacuation simulations at 11:00 am and 5:00 pm, as part of the National Civil Protection Day observances.

According to the deputy director of the Civil Protection and Fire Department, Adrian Bobadilla García, various business and neighborhood associations, as well as all three branches of government have held meetings to coordinate the September 19th macro-simulations with the goal of fostering a culture of prevention.

The purpose of the macro-simulation is intended, among other things, to teach emergency evacuation procedures to people who live or work on or near the beaches of Puerto Vallarta, so they will know what to do if an earthquake or tsunami strikes the city.

The drill's hypothesis is that of a 7.6 magnitude offshore earthquake, with a depth of 12 kilometers and an epicentral location 76 kilometers southwest of Barra de Navidad, in Cihuatlán, and the subsequent tsunami warning for a wave of 7.5 meters high that could reach the coastline of Puerto Vallarta within 11 and 14 minutes, which would require those in the "danger" areas to not only evacuate buildings, but also to move quickly and safely to higher ground.

To do this, Bobadilla Garcia said, the city will be divided into four sectors: the North Hotel Zone, the South Hotel Zone, El Centro and Olas Altas. Drills in these last two areas will be coordinated by members of the Civil Protection and Municipal Fire Department, who will explain emergency evacuation procedures and provide information to participants.

Bobadilla García stressed that the macro-simulations will take place at 11 in the morning and again at 5 in the afternoon, so students enrolled in evening classes can participate.

"We want to encourage a culture of prevention. We do not know if or when there may be an earthquake in the region that causes a tsunami warning, and we need to know what to do," said the deputy. "We invite families to participate in the evacuation simulation by going outside to a point they deem safe, and to remain there for at least 10 minutes before re-entering their homes."

Municipal Bulletin translated and edited by Ricardo Acerco for