What to Do Before a Tsunami Occurs – Prepare

What to Do Before a Tsunami

As we all know by now, tsunami’s are very deadly. When they hit, they usually hit hard and quick. You might ask “What can I do before a tsunami occurs?”. Here are some things you can do NOW to help prepare yourself for a tsunami.

Prepare an Emergency Kit

Earthquake Kit

Just like for any disaster, preparing an emergency kit is vital. You should ensure the kit has enough food and water to last at least 72 hours per person. It should have basic things like a first aid kit, blankets, hand powered radio, and hand powered flashlight. For a more detailed list, check out the Earthquake Category Checklist.

Know the Height of Your Street Above Sea Level

You should know the height of your street above sea level and the distance from the coast so you’ll know whether you’ll be in danger in the event a tsunami strikes. Here’s a neat interactive map that shows you if where you live will be impacted based on the height of the flooding. If your home is in danger, be prepared to move to higher ground.

Evacuation Plan


Evacuation Plan


Plan evacuation routes for your home, school, workplaces, and other areas you might think are at risk. Create and practice it with your family to make everyone familiar with what to do. You never know when a tsunami will strike, it can be day or night so make sure you’re able to reach your safe location in any instance and in any weather. You should be able to reach the safe location on foot within 15 minutes and if possible 100 feet (30 meters) above sea level.

Important Documents

Keep important documents at higher levels, don’t store them in the basement where they can easily get damaged by a flood. You should put them in a seal tight zip-lock bag to ensure water doesn’t get in. It’s a huge headache trying to get new identification or trying to make a claim without your insurance documents.

Listen for Warnings

If an earthquake occurs, listen for warnings on the radio or TV for tsunami warnings if you are in a coastal area. There may also be warning sirens around the city.


Tsunami Alerts


You should also understand what the different types of alerts mean.

  • Warning – this means that widespread flooding is imminent or expected. This alerts officials to take action and evacuate low-lying coastal areas and repositioning ships to deep waters if it is safe to do so.
  • Advisory – this means that strong currents are likely and that you should stay away from the shore. Beaches may be closed and harbors evacuated.
  • Watch – this means that the danger level is not yet known and that people should stay alert for more information but officials and the public should prepare to take action.
  • Information Statement – this means that there is a possibility of minor waves at most and no evacuation is needed.
  • Cancellation – this means that tidal gauges show no wave activity and confirms the safety of local areas

Do keep in mind that these alerts may be upgraded or downgraded at anytime so knowing what they mean can be beneficial.



  1. Craig Higgins

    brilliant info, i know i don’t need this in the uk but I’m traveling all the time and will be sure to check it out, any info on hurricanes in the Caribbean would be appreciated too.
    Best Craig

    1. Andy (Post author)

      Yes, tsunamis along with other disasters like earthquakes and hurricanes can happen in vacation destination as well so it’s always good to know what to do just in case.
      The hurricane idea is a great idea! I will definitely be posting articles about that in the future.
      Thanks for your comment!

  2. Jaron

    This is useful information to have. Even though I don’t live in a tsunami area, I do travel. This will be helpful if I’m ever in one of those areas.

  3. Maggie

    What an interesting read. As someone who lives in a coastal region where earthquake activity is very active this article was a real eye opener. Thanks for providing a link to that interactive map so that I could check if the area where I live would be effected in the event of a tsunami.

    1. Andy (Post author)

      I live in Vancouver so I would be impacted if a large earthquake occurred near me. Although I live pretty close to a large river, that map indicated that I would be safe because I live up on a hill which gave me some relief. Good to know.

  4. Bob

    Thanks. I live in Seattle and we’ve been talking about that Cascadia fault, ever since the earthquakes and tsunamis in Indonesia and Japan. Good idea to think about and talk about what to do before it happens, so we’ll be prepared. It not so much if it will happen as when it will happen. It could be next week or 100,000 years from now.

    1. Andy (Post author)

      I live pretty close to you, in Vancouver, and there’s always talk about “The Big One” as well which inspired me to create this site.
      Just hoping to spread more awareness and educate others so they know what to do.

  5. Suzanne

    Thanks for the information, it is relevant to me even though I don’t live in a threat area as I do travel.



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