Be Tsunami prepared: know what to do before, during and after

TSUNAMI PREPAREDNESS

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Review evacuation plans and be ready to move quickly if a tsunami warning is issued (where you live and where you area traveling to).

If you are in a coastal area and feel shaking that lasts 20 seconds or longer AND/OR if you see a noticeable rapid rise or fall in coastal waters., ALWAYS AUTO-EVACUATE:

- Drop, cover and hold on. You should first protect yourself from the earthquake.
- When the shaking stops, gather members of your household and move instantly to higher ground if possible away from the coast. A tsunami may be coming within minutes.
- Avoid downed power lines and stay away from buildings and bridges from which heavy objects might fall during an aftershock.

What to Do During a Tsunami Watch
- follow the instructions and evacuation routes if Tsunami sirens sound
- If no tsunami sirens are available use a NOAA Weather Radio or a local Radio (tune to a Coast Guard emergency frequency station or a local radio or television station for updated emergency information).
- Locate household members and review evacuation plans. Be ready to move quickly if a tsunami warning is issued.

What to Do During a Tsunami Warning
- If you hear an official tsunami warning or detect signs of a tsunami, evacuate at once.
- Take your emergency preparedness kit. Having supplies will make you more comfortable during the evacuation.
- Take your pets with you. If it is not safe for you, it’s not safe for them.
- Get to higher ground as far inland as possible. Be careful : Watching a tsunami could put you in grave danger. If you can see the wave, you are too close to escape it.

Tsunami Alert levels
In most countries there are 3 tsunami alert levels : advisory, watch and warning.

Advisory : (Strong currents likely) A tsunami advisory is issued when a tsunami with the potential to generate strong currents or waves dangerous to those in or very near the water is imminent, expected, or occurring.
The threat may continue for several hours after initial arrival, but significant inundation is not expected for areas under an advisory. Appropriate actions to be taken by local officials may include closing beaches, evacuating harbors and marinas, and the repositioning of ships to deep waters when there is time to safely do so. Advisories are normally updated to continue the advisory, expand/contract affected areas, upgrade to a warning, or cancel the advisory.

Watch :  (Danger level not known yet) A tsunami watch is issued to alert emergency management officials and the public of an event which may later impact the watch area. The watch area may be upgraded to a warning or advisory - or canceled - based on updated information and analysis. Therefore, emergency management officials and the public should prepare to take action. Watches are normally issued based on seismic information without confirmation that a destructive tsunami is underway.

Warning : (Inundating wave possible) A tsunami warning is issued when a tsunami with the potential to generate widespread inundation is imminent, expected, or occurring. Warnings alert the public that dangerous coastal flooding accompanied by powerful currents is possible and may continue for several hours after initial arrival. Warnings alert emergency management officials to take action for the entire tsunami hazard zone. Appropriate actions to be taken by local officials may include the evacuation of low-lying coastal areas, and the repositioning of ships to deep waters when there is time to safely do so. Warnings may be updated, adjusted geographically, downgraded, or canceled. To provide the earliest possible alert, initial warnings are normally based only on seismic information.

Information statement : A tsunami information statement is issued to inform emergency management officials and the public that an earthquake has occurred, or that a tsunami warning, watch or advisory has been issued for another section of the ocean. In most cases, information statements are issued to indicate there is no threat of a destructive tsunami and to prevent unnecessary evacuations as the earthquake may have been felt in coastal areas. An information statement may, in appropriate situations, caution about the possibility of destructive local tsunamis. Information statements may be re-issued with additional information, though normally these messages are not updated. However, a watch, advisory or warning may be issued for the area, if necessary, after analysis and/or updated information becomes available.

Some text courtesy American Red Cross