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
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.
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.
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.
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.