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FFAS exposed to TEMCO’s tsunami preparedness program

Even FFAS’ very own Maintenance Manager Paepae Soia Su lived to tell the tale of being swept up by the tidal wave that killed a total of 34 in American Samoa, including five in Pago Pago.
Thanks to the local Department of Homeland Security’s Territorial Emergency Management Coordinating Office (TEMCO), their preparedness program presented recently to FFAS club presidents made them aware of preparing for any future natural disasters
FFAS’ facilities lie in a tsunami hazard zone, making this workshop a vital source of information.
TEMCO’s Faletoa Ulufale and the Emergency Operations Center’s Meaalofa Kerisiano conducted the one-hour workshop on August 6, 2012 at the FFAS headquarters in Pago Pago with the majority of the association’s club presidents in attendance.
The workshop is timely in that the FFAS’ 2012 men and women’s National Leagues kickoff on August 11 and the information will be useful should a natural disaster similar to the 2009 one occur during the match days.
What is the highest point near the field and where must you go after an earthquake? How do you get to it? Must you climb a fence or is there a way to get there?
These are the questions asked and answered by Ulufale during his presentation.
“For your information, the road next to the Pago Pago Catholic Church is the highest point and the place to go to that is closest to your facilities,” Ulufale pointed out.
Luckily, there is a gate along the FFAS security fence facing the church that is about 30 yards away.
“In every game, no matter what game it is, there is a game plan,” Ulufale said. “The same thing goes for a the evacuation, you must have a plan in place and be ready to implement it.”
The duo also covered what to do in case of a strong earthquake and other important information such as steps to take when preparing for disasters.
“This was extremely useful workshop due to the fact that our facilities lie in a coastal area because everybody should hurry to higher ground immediately after an earthquake until told by the proper officials that it is okay to return,” said FFAS President Iuli Alex Godinet.
Ulufale compounded this point by saying that it took the tsunami wave to reach the shores of American Samoa in only 12 minutes from Tonga.
“The FFAS executive committee, our staff and I will work on an evacuation plan because that will ultimately save lives especially if something occurs during our game days,” Iuli said. “We cannot thank Homeland Security and TEMCO enough for providing us with this information.”

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