Tsunami Preparedness

You should learn about tsunami preparedness even if you live in a land-locked region. A trip to the coast or a ride on a boat or ship could place you in the pathway of a giant wave, and knowing what to do may save you and your loved ones from disaster or death.

Tsunami Locations


The pictures of the tsunami in Japan leave viewers horrified at the death, destruction and human tragedy, yet awestruck at nature’s fury. Man cannot do much against natural disasters but, on occasion, thanks to early warning systems, many people survive due to evacuation procedures. Among the most common regions that tsunamis have affected or have hit are:

  • Hawaii
  • British Columbia
  • American Samoa
  • Cook Islands
  • Fiji
  • Tonga
  • Japan
  • Indonesia
  • Thailand
  • Albania
  • Pacific regions of the U.S., including the Gulf of Mexico and California
  • Chile
  • China
  • Mexico
  • India
  • Sri Lanka
  • Papua New Guinea
  • Peru
  • Philippines
  • Solomon Islands
  • Timor-Leste
  • Vanuatu

Tsunami Preparedness

Simple preparations such as these will prepare you to deal with a tsunami:

  • Know the distance above sea level of the place where you are, as announcements for evacuation are made based on this height.
  • Find out safer areas and the correct distance to be away from tsunamis. The farther away and higher you are, the safer you will be.
  • Be familiar with routes to reach safety at night, in rain or in inclement weather.
  • If you have children in school, find out the school’s tsunami preparedness and evacuation procedures.
  • If you are a tourist or visitor, learn about the area you are visiting: knowledge and preparedness can save your life.
  • Always keep a NOAA (National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration) radio handy, with batteries, for alerts and timely information.
  • Keep a disaster kit or grab-and-go bag handy. This should contain a few days' worth of dry foods, water, medical supplies, some tools, important documents, some clothes and bedding.
  • Decide with family members where to meet in case disaster strikes when you are not together.
  • Have plans for the care and evacuation of pets and elderly and disabled people.
  • Do not go near a beach to watch — if you can see the water, you are in danger.
  • Use your phone only sparingly as batteries will run out and you will have no means of communication left.

Before the Tsunami

You will know before a tsunami hits, because an earthquake invariably precedes a tsunami. If you feel the ground shaking and you are in a tsunami prone area, leave for higher ground immediately, with full tsunami preparedness. If you are far away, you may have more time to reach a safe area and wait for tsunami warnings; otherwise, you may have only a few minutes.

If you are on a beach, you must move away immediately, go to higher ground and follow any advice given on the radio. If you are on a boat or ship, try to move to deeper water or, when you are near the shore, abandon boats and physically move to higher ground. In case a tsunami warning has already been sounded, it makes sense to adopt all required safety measures and head for higher ground.

After the Tsunami

In case you are caught in a tsunami warning, you should have secured a safe place and survived the disaster. It is then time to regroup and check on your house. If you cannot reach it, or tsunami warnings are still in place, you should spend the night in a safe place, provisions for which are in your disaster kit.

Do not forget, people are usually helpful in emergencies and you can find safety in numbers. Tsunami preparedness should help you face the danger with confidence in a composed manner, so that you and your family members remain safe.

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