How to Survive a Tsunami: Important Safety Tips
A tsunami is a series of destructive and very dangerous waves resulting from seismic activity or other similar underwater events. Tsunamis have caused an incredible amount of damage in recent years. To survive a tsunami, you must be prepared, alert and calm. This article outlines the steps you need to know and follow to help you survive a tsunami in the future.
How to survive a tsunami: step-by-step instructions
1. Be aware of potential hazards in advance
It is important to know in advance if there is a risk of a tsunami where you live. You are likely to be in danger if:
- Your home, school, or place of work is located in a coastal area.
- Your home, school, or place of work is located on a flat or slightly hilly area, and the altitude is close to zero. If you don’t know how high above sea level your home, school, and workplace is, find out. Some local authorities use altitude as the hazard level.
- There are warning signs indicating the area’s susceptibility to tsunamis.
- Local authorities have released information about a potential tsunami threat.
- Natural sea barriers such as embankments and dunes have been leveled to develop the area.
2. Find out if your coastal region has been hit by tsunamis in the past
Go to the library or send a request to the local administration. FEMA (Federal Emergency Management Agency) has a website where you can learn online about flood hazards. Most tsunamis occur in a place called the “volcanic belt”. This is an area in the Pacific Ocean known for its volcanic activity. Chile, the western US, Japan and the Philippines are particularly vulnerable.
3. Gather essential supplies in an easily accessible place
In the event of a tsunami (or other natural disaster) approaching, you will most likely need a few items to survive, and quickly. It is extremely helpful to pack your essentials and survival kit ahead of time: Gather your essentials. Food, water, and a first aid kit are the bare minimum. Leave the kit in a prominent, easily accessible place known to all household members. In addition, it is recommneded to have a raincoat or other raincoat for each person. Make a personal survival kit for each family member, as well as a shared survival kit. Include necessary medicines for each family member. Don’t forget the vital things for your pets.
4. Develop an evacuation plan
To be of any use, an evacuation plan must be prepared in advance. When designing it, you should consider your family, place of work, school, and the wider community. If necessary, start developing a mass evacuation plan if your county does not have one. Take the lead in developing such a plan, and involve local authorities and other residents. The lack of an evacuation plan and warning systems puts you, your family, and your entire community at increased risk of injury and death during and after a tsunami. Some must-have items that should be included in every evacuation plan:
- Discuss different evacuation options with family and colleagues. For example, identify a place where you can reunite with your loved ones in the event of a tsunami.
- Conduct a drill to make sure everyone in the area knows exactly what to do and where to go during an evacuation.
- Include in your plan a count of all the people in the area. Take care to provide assistance to the sick and disabled.
- Make sure people are aware of warning and evacuation signals – distribute pamphlets or give lectures to ensure everyone is aware.
- Do not forget to consider several evacuation routes due to the possible destruction of some roads and other infrastructure due to an earthquake.
- Determine the presence of shelters in the evacuation zone. Perhaps it is worth worrying about the advance construction of such shelters.
How to recognize the signs that a tsunami is coming
- Be extremely careful in case of an earthquake. If you live in a coastal area, the occurrence of an earthquake should be the immediate cause for alarm and action to avoid danger.
- Watch out for the rapid rise and fall of coastal water levels. If the sea suddenly recedes, leaving bare sand, this is an important warning that a sudden rush of water is about to come.
- Notice strange animal behavior. Animals may leave dangerous territory or behave in unusual ways, such as hiding in human dwellings or gathering in groups in which they usually never gather.
- Carefully follow the warnings of the authorities. If the local authorities have taken the time to report the danger, you should listen. Find out how they will warn the public about the danger so that you do not make a mistake and do not ignore the warnings voiced. Share this information with your family, friends, neighbors and others. If the local government publishes pamphlets, has launched a website, or uses another source of information, volunteer to distribute copies of the pamphlets or ask the local government to do so.
Evacuation in the event of a tsunami
1. Drop everything
In the event of a tsunami, save lives, not things. Attempts to collect belongings at the cost of precious time may interfere with your rescue. Grab a set of essentials, warm clothes, family and leave immediately. Tsunami survivors acted quickly and generally did not try to salvage property.
2. Move deep into the mainland and rise to higher ground
The first thing you should do is move away from the coast, lagoons and other bodies of water towards higher ground, and even hills or mountains. Don’t stop until you’re 3.2 kilometers inland or 30 meters above sea level. Do not forget that the tsunami will most likely wash away all the roads. If you plan to use roads to get somewhere, then this is a bad idea. In the event of a powerful tsunami, many roads will be completely destroyed either by the earthquake or by the tsunami itself. Maintain a general direction of travel and consider including a compass in your survival kit.
3. Climb high
If you’re trapped and can’t get off the shore, climb up. This is certainly not the best solution, as the building may collapse, but if you have no other choice, choose a tall, strong, reliable building and climb it. Climb as high as you can, even on the roof.
4. Climb a strong tree
As a last resort, if you’re trapped and can’t go deep into the continent or climb a tall building, find a strong, tall tree and try to climb it as high as you can. There is a danger of a tsunami knocking down a tree, so use this shelter only if no other options are available. The more powerful the tree, the higher you can climb it, the more comfortable it will be to rest on its branches (you can sit on the tree for many hours) and the more chances you will have to survive.
5. If you get into the water, act fast
If you didn’t have time to evacuate, and for some reason the tsunami did catch up with you, here’s what you should do to survive: Climb onto something that floats in the water. Use floating objects as a raft to stay above the water. Floating things like tree trunks, doors, fishing boats, and more can end up in the water next to you.
How to survive the aftermath of a tsunami
1. Get ready for the aftershocks and other waves
Tsunamis come in waves. There can be a lot of waves, they can roll for hours and each subsequent wave can be stronger than the previous one.
2. Try to get reliable information
Listen to the radio for how the situation is changing. Don’t believe the rumours. It is better to wait than to return too early and fall into the trap of new waves.
3. Wait for the signal from the local authorities that everything is clean
Only after this signal will you be able to return to your home. Find out how local authorities are going to send this signal. Remember that roads can be severely damaged by tsunami waves and you will have to look for alternative routes. A well-prepared evacuation plan should take this possibility into account and provide alternative routes and assembly points.
4. Remember that after the retreat of the tsunami, survival does not end
After the tsunami subsides, it will leave behind ruins, destroyed buildings and destroyed infrastructure. There may also be dead bodies. The water supply may be interrupted. There will also be interruptions in the products. Possible illnesses, post-traumatic stress, grief, hunger and injury will make life after a tsunami as dangerous as the tsunami itself. An emergency plan should also consider the implications and how to protect yourself, your family, and those around you.
5. Organize restoration work
If your local government has not developed a tsunami relief program, insist that they do, or organize an activist group to do so. Actions that will help to survive after the tsunami:
- Making drinking water supplies (bottled water or filtered water).
- Providing undamaged houses and buildings to other people. Help each other in trouble, share your housing.
- Providing power generators for cooking, maintaining hygiene and establishing the operation of basic transport and health services.
- Organizing temporary housing and food distribution.
- Restoring health care services.
- Eliminating fires and gas leaks.
Tsunami Safety Tips
- Evacuate your children. Try to stick together. Give clear and simple directions, and make sure the children know where to gather in case you get separated. Since it will be quite difficult to hold their hand under the onslaught of water, give the children lessons in survival in case you have to be separated.
- If you are on the beach and notice how the water is receding far and fast, run away immediately. This is not an invitation to explore, but a signal to run in the opposite direction.
- When running away from the sea, try to notify as many people as possible to do the same. Shout loudly and clearly “Tsunami! Escape to higher ground!” without stopping or slowing down your evacuation. After the water recedes, you will only have a few minutes left before the tsunami arrives.
- If you see that the water is rising rapidly, it means that big waves of destructive force will soon begin.
- If a distant tsunami is detected, an alarm will be issued in major cities a few hours before the tsunami strikes. Pay attention to these warnings!
- When you hear of a tsunami coming, grab your emergency kits, drive inland and stay there until the authorities signal that everything is clear.
- If you suddenly hear an official tsunami warning, do not ignore it and do not postpone your actions until later. Be prepared to leave your home and climb into a high shelter far from the shore. It is much better to show that you are ready for a possible tsunami than to try to prove that you are stronger or smarter than mother nature and die during a tsunami. Don’t run into the water to save anything.
- If you are caught in a tsunami, try to swim away or hold on to something.
- Before the start of the tsunami, it is better to find a house on the mainland or on a hill.
- Teach the children to recognize the signs of an impending tsunami. Ten-year-old Tilly Smith saved her family and many others during the 2004 tsunami because she heard about it in geography class.
- Don’t wait for warnings. If you think a tsunami is coming, evacuate immediately.
- The leading cause of death during a tsunami is drowning. The second main cause is death due to injuries from debris.
- Always heed the instructions and advice of the police when a tsunami is approaching. Usually instructions from the authorities come by radio, so keep a close eye on the news.
Tsunami Emergency Kit List
- Pure water.
- 1 first aid kit – per family or group of people.
- Dry, warm clothing and a raincoat, if possible, or a poncho for each person.
- Medications that the person needs to take regularly, such as an asthma inhaler or heart medication.
- Flashlight and batteries – for a family or a group of people.
- Emergency supply of food and water.
- Clothing – two sets for each person.
- A pair of powerful magnets – for a family or group of people.
- Battery operated radio or crank radio for a family or group of people.
- Inflatable pillow – for each person.
- Cellular (mobile) phone.
- Utility knife (army knife).
- Emergency cash.
- Copies of important documents, such as a birth certificate, will or government-issued ID.