When the Tsunami is Approaching……….Its too Late to Plan

Seagull on Coast

Seagull on Coast

The Pacific Tsunami Warning Center (PTWC) issued a notice on October 19, 2020, stating hazardous tsunami waves were possible for coastal regions located within 300km (186miles) from the Earthquake’s epicentre in Alaska.  As you can imagine, this caused concern for many people who live in these coastal communities.  They were unsure of what to do.  Should they stay, or should they go?  Not a question you want to answer incorrectly.

Fortunately, the decision was made for them as the  Tsunami Warning was lifted, so these communities did not have to take action.  But what happens next time, when you may need to take action – what do you do to stay safe in a Tsunami?

This certainly served as a wake-up call to those living along the coast.  Living in an area that can be impacted by Tsunamis, YOU MUST BE prepared to respond quickly.

What about you!  Do you live in an area that can be impacted by Tsunamis?

If you answered yes, read on! If you answered no,  don’t think you have dodged the bullet.  We take holidays to the coast, day trips to walk our dogs along the beach, or go for a drive that can take us to places that can be impacted by a tsunami.  Knowing what to do when facing a Tsunami is information that could save your life and the life of your family and pets.

These tips will help you, your family, and your pets better prepare for a Tsunami.

Start by checking the following sites to determine if you live, work, or play in an area that Tsunamis can impact.

Also, check the information provided by your local authority or government on Tsunamis.  They may have information specific to your community, which would help you both prepare for Tsunamis and respond.

Taking the Appropriate Action when facing a Tsunami

Drop Cover and Hold OnImmediately Drop, Cover and Hold On underneath a heavy table or desk or against an interior wall when you feel an earthquake. Once the shaking has stopped, count to 60, carefully check your surroundings before leaving your safe spot.

Listen to the radio or check reliable social media to get updated info on what just happened.  This will help to determine what your next steps must be.

Local Authorities have different methods of providing Tsunami Info, so make sure you know in advance how your community will provide emergency information.  If immediate updates on the earthquake are not readily available and you have felt a strong earthquake and are close to the water, immediately go to higher ground. Depending on where the Earthquake occurred, it could take minutes to hours for the Tsunami to arrive, if at all.

Where is your “Safe Location” when facing a Tsunami

Before facing a Tsunami,  you must identify Safe Locations for you and your family to go, along with multiple routes to get to these Safe Locations.  Your Local Authority may have pre-identified Safe Locations with Tsunami signage directing the way.  If you are not sure if this has been done in your area, check with your local authority.

Keep in mind, when facing a significant Earthquake, roads and bridges may be damaged,  which could impact how you get to your Family’s Safe Location, so also plan a route you could walk or bike.

If you have mobility issues or don’t have a vehicle, it is a good idea to check with a neighbour who may help you get to safety.  This should be arranged before a disaster, so when a disaster strikes its part of both of your plans, and you are not frantically searching for help.

If you have a neighbour who may need assistance to evacuate to a Safe Location, check with them to see if you can assist.

When required to go to your safe location, don’t forget to bring your disaster supplies.

 

Disaster Supplies

Your Grab & Go Kit, which is a Disaster Kit that is designed to support you for the short term, should quickly be grabbed and put in your vehicle. If easily accessible, your Home Disaster Kit can be a welcome addition if you will be out for a while. Your Home Kit is designed for the longer term.  Also, don’t forget your pet’s Disaster Kit – they too will require supplies.

When it comes to grabbing your Disaster Kits, remember that Life Safety always comes first.  Don’t slow down the process of evacuating; spending valuable time looking for kits.  Keep your family’s Disaster Supplies easily accessible for times like this.

At your Safe Location

Once you have arrived at your Safe Location, check-in with family and let them know you are safe.  Keep listening to the radio for updates and updates from your local authorities. They will have the most current and relevant information to help you and your family in your community’s situation.

You will be required to stay at your Safe Location until you receive the All Clear from the local authority, saying it is safe for you to return home.

Final Thoughts…………….

  • Stay out of the water and away from beaches and waterways following a Tsunami. Beaches and water can be hazardous with fast-rising or fast receding tides. Never go towards the water in a Tsunami.
  • Tsunamis can be most destructive in bays and harbours, not just because of the waves but because of the massive currents they can generate in local waterways. Tsunamis are least destructive in deep, open ocean waters.

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Don’t be Panicked – Be Prepared!

Stay Safe!

Jackie Kloosterboer