How to Prepare for a Tsunami

A tsunami is a series of waves caused by sudden displacement of large volumes of water, such as an earthquake under the ocean floor or underwater volcanic eruptions – or even meteorites hitting water bodies – suddenly and rapidly displacing large volumes. Tsunamis can have devastating consequences that destroy coastal regions and lead to significant loss of life.

Tsunamis can be hard to predict; their arrival could happen within seconds or hours after an earthquake, depending on its magnitude and how close to the coast it occurred. Tsunami waves travel at high speeds, often appearing as long trains of waves rather than one single wave – making escape difficult but detectable through changes in height of water levels and surface changes on ocean floors.

If you live or work near a coastal area, review emergency evacuation procedures at both your place of employment and children’s schools/day care centres. Sign up to your community warning system; listen to NOAA weather radio or a local station for emergency alerts; follow instructions of emergency authorities as directed; consider purchasing earthquake and flood coverage separately as standard homeowner policies may not offer such coverage.

If the earthquake-related shaking becomes intense, drop to your hands and knees immediately and cover your head and neck with your arms. As soon as it stops trembling, if you live or are present within an area at risk from tsunami, move as quickly and far inland as possible in order to secure higher ground.