Tsunami

There are many natural disasters that can hit at any time. For some states, it's a tornado that comes out from a standard summer thunderstorm, whereas for others it's an earthquake or even a hurricane. However, one natural disaster that generally comes with a warning and a known area of it hitting, is a tsunami. Tsunamis are usually caused by an earthquake, so people can have a bit of time to prepare. Unfortunately, they don't always come with a warning, so it's important to know tsunami survival tips to increase your chances of survival.

If you have a warning sign of a tsunami heading your way, follow these tsunami survival tips to help you increase your chances:

  • Cover yourself and hide until the earthquake is over: Don't try to run to higher ground in the middle of the earthquake, just hold on until it stops.
  • Move to high ground immediately after the earthquake: Do not wait for an official warning, don't wait to see the water disappear from the shore, if you are on low-land, move up higher immediately.
  • Stay away from weakened overpasses, and don't hide underneath or on a bridge: The earthquake has already weakened that structure, it may not be able to hold up to a tsunami.
  • Do not wait around to see if the water gets pulled out: If you wait that long, you will not have time to reach high ground, and you will likely get caught up in the tsunami. Once the water is pulled out, it is much too late to evacuate.
  • Stay on high ground until you receive the all-clear: Tsunamis may take over 8 hours to hit after an earthquake, while others may take only a few minutes. They are very unpredictable, and you'll want to remain away from lower ground until you receive official word that it is safe to return.
  • Take your pets with you: If you are evacuating your house, take pets and people only. Leave your other belongings, as they will slow you down while trying to evacuate. The most important thing is to ensure that the people and pets get out and to safety.
  • Go inland: If you cannot go up, go inward. Tsunamis generally do not go further than 1 mile inland, so if you can go inland, do so after the first sign of one. Put distance between you and the shore.
  • Have a plan: If you have a family or kids, make a tsunami evacuation plan, so they know where to go from many locations, including your home and school. With a plan, your kids will be able to panic less and know exactly what to do if disaster strikes.
  • Avoid wading in the floodwater after: You could step on a power line that is down or you could be hit with debris that is in the water.

In some cases, unfortunately, you don't see the signs before a tsunami hits. These tips will help you to make it out safely after a tsunami has hit your area.

  • Save people only:If your home has been hit with a tsunami, grab your family and leave immediately. Don't try to save possessions.
  • Climb a sturdy tree or head up a building if you have no other choice: This is not ideal, as either of these structures could be struck by subsequent waves, but it will do for a worst-case scenario. Climb as high as possible, as tsunami waves can be over 30 feet tall.
  • Grab onto something that floats: If you got caught up in the wave, find anything that may be in the water with you, and grab onto it to keep your head above water.
  • Brace for more waves: If you can get out, do so immediately, as the initial wave is not the only one that will be coming. If not, find something sturdy to hold on to, and try to get as high as possible, and hold on as tightly as possible.

While it is important to keep in mind that tsunamis are rare occurrences, with only around 2 happening a year, they are also generally small, and they do not all devastate an area. However, it is important if you live in a tsunami area to be prepared for anything that may occur, which means planning for a devastating tsunami to hit, and having a plan on how to get yourself and your family out. The main thing to remember is to watch for the signs, which can include water receding, animals behaving strangely, and a roaring in the ocean. If you see anything, even without an official warning, evacuate the area immediately. The main causes of death from a tsunami are drowning and being hurt by debris, so do your best to get away from the coast as soon as you see any signs.

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