Tsunami Vertical Evacuation Structures (TVES)


  • Activity
  • Appendix B - Tsunami Evacuation Signs
  • Appendix D - Learner Handout (15 mins)
  • Appendix E - Learner Handout (30 mins)
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Bringing High Ground to a Location Near You!

This activity explores how Tsunami Vertical Evacuation Structures (TVES) can provide a viable option to escape a rising tsunami surge when high ground is not available. A 5-minute activity allows learners to discover why TVES are important and learn about North America’s first TVES in Westport, Washington. In the 15- to 20-minute activity, learners build a simple model TVES tower. The 45-minute activity allows learners to apply basic tsunami structural engineering design principles to construct a model TVES with specific design criteria. 

Why is it important to learn about earthquakes and their effects, like tsunamis? People who live along or visit the Pacific Northwest and Northern California coastal areas could be affected by a major tsunami. Earthquake hazard mitigation strategies improve the preparedness of communities prior to an earthquake event. The ShakeAlert® Earthquake Early Warning system for the West Coast of the U.S. aims to complement earthquake mitigation and preparedness efforts. ShakeAlert detects significant earthquakes quickly so that alerts can be delivered to people and automated systems.


Learners will be able to:

  • Explain risks for people in a tsunami inundation zone.
  • Identify different types of tsunami evacuation structures and their advantages.
  • Design and build a model TVES using basic tsunami engineering concepts and emergency preparedness needs.

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