Make sure you know what to do in the sad event of a tsunami if you reside in an area where they are a threat. This is a list of things to do in case you find yourself in the line of a tsunami: prepare, react, and survive.
Table of Contents
What to Do Before During and After a Tsunami
Let’s look at what you can do before, during and after tsunami
3 Things to Do in Before a Tsunami
Wondering what to do before a tsunami? Well, get ready so you can defend yourself and the people around you.
- Recognize Your Risk
- Make Plans to Stay Safe
- Understand Tsunami Alerts and the Natural Signs of a Tsunami
1. Recognize Your Risk
Although tsunamis can hit any shore, communities with coastlines in the Pacific and Caribbean are most at risk.
The most vulnerable locations are those near rivers and streams that flow into the ocean, as well as coastal areas including beaches, bays, lagoons, harbors, and river mouths.
If you live near the coast, find out if you are in an area where tsunamis are a possibility.
2. Make Plans to Stay Safe
Find out what your town’s tsunami evacuation strategy is. Maps depicting evacuation routes and zones are available in some areas. Recognize and use these paths in the locations where you spend time.
Find a safe location at least 100 feet (30 meters) above sea level or at least one mile (1.6 km) inland if your municipality does not have a tsunami evacuation plan.
Be prepared to head inland or to higher terrain fast. A formal alert should not be delayed.
Living near the coast increases your risk of experiencing a tsunami after an earthquake. As soon as the shaking stops, quickly head inland and away from the coast. Do not wait for an official notification.
3. Understand Tsunami Alerts and the Natural Signs of a Tsunami
A natural sign of a tsunami or an official tsunami alarm are the two ways you could be alerted. Both hold equal significance. Maybe you won’t get both.
A natural tsunami warning sign could be your first, best, or only indicator that a tsunami is approaching. An earthquake, a loud roar from the sea, or unexpected oceanic activity, like a sudden surge or wall of water or a fast retreat of the water, revealing the ocean floor, are examples of natural indicators.
Should you notice any of these indicators, there may be an impending tsunami. Move inland or to higher terrain as soon as possible to avoid the seashore. Avoid waiting for a formal alarm.
Local television, radio, weather radios, and radio broadcasts all broadcast tsunami alerts. Recognize the various notifications and know what to do if you receive one.
10 Things to Do During a Tsunami
Wondering what to do during a tsunami? We have got a list of things to do during a tsunami.
- Evacuate on foot if possible
- Get to high ground
- Climb to the top of a building if you’re trapped
- Proceed as far inland as you can
- If you’re in the water, grab hold of something that’s floating
- Go out to sea if you’re in a boat
- Take at least eight hours to remain in your secure area
- Watch the ocean for warning signs
- Listen to emergency alerts and information
- Avoid downed power lines
1. Evacuate on foot if possible
Following an earthquake, highways and bridges may sustain damage or become blocked
Start walking on foot as soon as possible, regardless of whether there is an official tsunami warning in effect or you live in a tsunami hazard zone and there was merely an earthquake.
To prevent getting stranded in an automobile in a dangerous place, run or walk towards safety.
Keep clear of any potentially collapsing buildings, bridges, or damaged roads. To spend as much time as possible outside, try to walk on wide terrain. Observe the signpost designating the tsunami evacuation route.
Signs directing people to safety are typically seen in tsunami-dangerous areas
Look for signs that state “tsunami evacuation route” or anything similar in white and blue. Utilize them to direct you inland, away from the danger area and toward safety.
Alongside these signs are frequently displayed arrows that indicate which way to proceed. If not, simply follow the signs until you come across one indicating that you are no longer within the tsunami evacuation area.
2. Get to high ground
During a tsunami, high ground is the safest location to be. Do not wait for an official tsunami warning if there is an earthquake and you reside in a tsunami-hazard area! When the shaking stops and it’s safe to move, head as fast as you can to the closest high ground to escape danger.
You are not required to flee to high ground following an earthquake if you do not reside in a tsunami hazard zone. Unless emergency personnel give you all the clearance to evacuate the area, stay put.
3. Climb to the top of a building if you’re trapped
You might not always have enough time to flee. If you are in a sturdy building, ascend to the third floor or above if you do not have time to flee and reach high ground.
Better still, attempt to climb onto the roof of the tallest, most sturdy structure you can locate. Any of these choices is preferable to doing nothing.
If you’re directly on the coast, a towering tsunami evacuation tower may be close by. Follow the signs indicating the evacuation route to the tower and ascend to the top.
As a last resort, climb a tall, robust tree if you are unable to reach any other form of high ground.
4. Proceed as far inland as you can
You are at less risk the farther you are from the coast. Pick a section of elevated terrain that is as far inland from the coast as is feasible. Simply head as far inland as you can if there isn’t any high ground.
In certain situations, tsunamis can move up to 10 miles (16 km) inland. How far they can extend is, however, limited by the shoreline’s shape and slope.
5. If you’re in the water, grab hold of something that’s floating
If the waves of a tsunami get you, this can help keep you safe. Seek out a substantial object such as a door, tree, or life raft. Snatch the object and cling on hard as the waves carry you away.
Even though it might be difficult at this moment, do your best not to swallow any of the water. Tsunamis have the potential to carry hazardous materials and chemicals that could endanger human health.
6. Go out to sea if you’re in a boat
If you’re on the sea during a tsunami, it’s safer to move farther away from land. As you move your boat out as far as you can, face the waves and steer it toward the open sea. If there is a tsunami warning in the region, never go back to port.
Tsunami activity produces dangerous currents and water levels along the shoreline, which have the ability to capsize your boat.
If you’ve already anchored in a harbor, exit your vessel as soon as you can and get inland for safety.
7. Take at least eight hours to remain in your secure area
The duration of a tsunami’s activity can reach eight hours or more. To be safe, avoid going near the coast and stay on high ground during this time.
Pay attention to what officials say, and only move when they declare it safe to do so. They are the most knowledgeable!
Even though you could be anxious and stressed out about your loved ones, you need to stay put and try to keep your cool. Avoid endangering your life in an attempt to meet someone in a different location.
8. Watch the ocean for warning signs
The water will sometimes naturally warn of impending tsunamis. Keep an ear out for the sound of the ocean roaring.
A tsunami draws coastal water southward; be aware of unusually high water levels as well as abnormally far-reaching water receding from the shoreline.
These events typically follow a powerful earthquake, but if the epicenter is far out at sea, you might not feel it. If you live near the ocean and in a tsunami-dangerous area, it’s best to be vigilant about your surroundings at all times!
For surfers, it’s also critical to be aware of the warning indicators of an impending tsunami.
If you happen to be surfing close to the coast and you notice any of these warnings, paddle as quickly as you can to shore and begin your evacuation.
When surfing in deep water, try to paddle as far out to sea as you can.
9. Listen to emergency alerts and information
Local emergency managers offer safety advice on tsunamis. Enroll in any local emergency alert programs to get information about tsunamis and other emergencies straight to your phone.
To find out if there is a chance of a tsunami following an earthquake, tune in to your local radio station and watch the local news.
If you have any questions concerning local emergency alert systems, don’t hesitate to contact your local government’s office or the local police’s non-emergency phone line.
In the event of a tsunami, always heed the advice of the local emergency managers. For safety, they are your best option.
After a tsunami, local emergency announcements inform you of when it is safe to go back home.
10. Avoid downed power lines
Water can become electrically charged due to damaged power cables. When you’re walking home or to a shelter after a tsunami, watch out for downed power lines or any other damaged electrical equipment.
To be extra cautious, avoid wading in any water that they are touching and give the equipment a wide distance if you spot any!
Electrical boxes and telephone poles are two more examples of electrical equipment to stay away from.
8 Things to Do After a Tsunami
- Stay Safe
- Stay Healthy
- Clean Up Safely
- Take Care of Yourself
- Gas, fire, and electrical risks
- Water and sewage hazards
1. Stay Safe
- Recognize the risks you can encounter following a tsunami. Numerous injuries occur during cleaning up.
- Pay attention to local authorities if you have evacuated to find out when it is safe to go back home. It can take days before it is safe to go back to your neighborhood if there is a lot of damage.
- Steer clear of flooded roadways since they can be unstable and collapse.
- Keep away from flooding. They might be contaminated with chemicals, bacteria, and sewage that might make you sick.
- Steer clear of fallen or broken electrical lines. Consider every wire to be dangerous and live.
- When authorized by the authorities, check the outside of your home for damage before entering again.
- It would be safer to wait for a professional if your home has been damaged.
- Recognize the dangers of carbon monoxide poisoning. Using charcoal-burning appliances, propane, natural gas, or gasoline inside a home basement, garage, tent, or camper — or even outside near an open window is not advised. Although it is invisible and odorless, carbon monoxide may kill you quickly. Do not hesitate to get outside if you begin to feel ill, lightheaded, or weak.
- Because candles pose a fire risk, avoid using them. Instead, use flashlights and lights that run on batteries.
2. Stay Healthy
- Pay attention to the drinking water safety guidelines that your community health center provides. Tsunamis could contaminate water supplies.
- If in doubt, discard it. Toss anything that has gotten heated or damp.
- Everything that became wet should be cleaned and disinfected. Floodwater-deposited mud can be contaminated with chemicals, pathogens, and sewage.
- If a facility floods and is not entirely dried out within 24 to 48 hours, mold growth may become an issue. Allergy responses, eye and skin irritation, and asthma episodes can result from mold contact.
3. Clean Up Safely
- Adhere to all the particular advice given by public health professionals in your area. Wear the appropriate protective clothing, such as N95 masks, rubber boots, goggles, and gloves. Be familiar with the safe use of any necessary equipment.
- Take a position. It’s a tremendous task to clean up. Take a nap when necessary. Collaborate with others and seek assistance when moving large items. Prioritize the cleaning duties that need your attention the most.
- Avoid getting sick from the heat. In hot weather, be mindful of the possibility of heat exhaustion, heat cramps, heat stroke, and fainting if you are without air conditioning.
4. Take Care of Yourself
- Following a disaster or other emergency, it’s common to have intense negative emotions, tension, or anxiety.
- To help you manage stress, eat a balanced diet and get adequate sleep.
- If you need to talk to someone, you can get in touch with the Disaster Distress Helpline at no cost.
5. Gas, fire, and electrical risks
- Recognize the risk of fire. Fire is the most common hazard that follows floods. There can be burst or leaking gas lines, flooded electrical circuits, submerged furnaces, or electrical appliances.
- Flammable or explosive materials might have come from upstream.
- Look for any gas leaks. Get everyone outside right away if you smell gas or hear a hissing or blowing noise. Open a window. If at all possible, turn off the gas using the outside main valve. Then, from a neighbor’s house, phone the gas company. For whatever reason, you must have a professional turn the gas back on if you turn it off.
- Recognize damage to electrical systems. Turn off the electricity at the main fuse box or circuit breaker if you smell burning insulation, see sparks, or notice broken or frayed wires.
- If you need to wade through water to reach the circuit breaker or fuse box, get guidance from an electrician first. When putting electrical equipment back into service, it should be inspected and dried.
6. Water and sewage hazards
- Examine the water and sewer line damage. Avoid using the toilets and give a plumber a call if you think there is damage to the sewage lines. Avoid using tap water and get in touch with the water company if you find damaged water lines.
- If your water heater is in good condition, you can get safe water by melting ice cubes that were manufactured before the tsunami hits. Before you remove the water from these sources, turn off the main water valve.
- Only use tap water if local health officials recommend it.
- If the earthquake was quite significant (magnitude 8–9+ on the Richter scale) and it was close by, you should expect aftershocks.
- The number of aftershocks will diminish over a period of days, weeks, or months depending on how powerful the initial shock was. Some aftershocks have the potential to be as large as magnitude 7+ and can cause another tsunami.
- Keep a tight eye on your animals and maintain direct control over them.
- Flooded places are full of hazardous elements that could endanger your pet’s health.
- It’s possible for your pet to escape from your house or via a broken fence.
- Pets can get lost, especially since flooding typically messes with smell markers that help them locate their homes.
- After any disturbance, a pet’s behavior may change drastically, turning defensive or violent. Therefore, it’s important to monitor their wellbeing and take precautions against potential threats, such as displaced wild animals, as well as to guarantee the safety of both people and animals.
Natural disasters can be cruel destroying everything on its path but when we make necessary preparations before them happen, we could count fewer losses. Nevertheless, as we have seen, there are also things you could do during and after these disasters like tsunami hit.
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A passion-driven environmentalist by heart. Lead content writer at EnvironmentGo.
I strive to educate the public about the environment and its problems.
It has always been about nature, we ought to protect not destroy.