11. What should be done in case of a tsunami?

A heightened community awareness of the potential threat of tsunami can be achieved through a public education programme consisting of seminars and workshops for responsible government officials, informational booklets on the hazards of tsunami and what must be done in case of a tsunami.

  • A strong earthquake felt in a low-lying coastal area is a natural warning of possible, immediate danger. Keep calm and quickly move to higher ground away from the coast. 
  • Tsunamis can occur at any time, day or night. They can travel up rivers and streams that lead to the ocean.
  • A tsunami is not a single wave, but a series of waves. Stay out of danger until an “ALL CLEAR” is issued by a competent authority.
  • Approaching tsunamis are sometimes heralded by noticeable rise or fall of coastal waters. This is nature’s tsunami warning and should be heeded.
  • A small tsunami at one beach can be a giant a few miles away. Do not let modest size of one make you lose respect for all.
  • Sooner or later, tsunamis visit every coastline around the ocean.
  • All tsunamis, like hurricanes, are potentially dangerous even though they may not damage every coastline they strike. • Never go down to the beach to watch for a tsunami! • WHEN YOU CAN SEE THE WAVE YOU ARE TOO CLOSE TO ESCAPE.
  • Tsunamis can move faster than a person can run!
  • During a tsunami emergency, your local emergency management office, police, fire and other emergency organizations will try to save your life. Give them your fullest cooperation.
  • Homes and other buildings located in low lying coastal areas are not safe. Do NOT stay in such buildings if there is a tsunami warning.
  • The upper floors of high, multi-story, reinforced concrete hotels can provide refuge if there is no time to quickly move inland or to higher ground.
  • Stay tuned to your local radio, marine radio, NOAA Weather Radio, or television stations during a tsunami emergency – bulletins issued through your local emergency management office and National Weather Service offices can save your life.

  • Since tsunami wave activity is imperceptible in the open ocean, do not return to port if you are at sea and a tsunami warning has been issued for your area. Tsunamis can cause rapid changes in water level and unpredictable dangerous currents in harbours and ports.
  • If there is time to move your boat or ship from port to deep water (after a tsunami warning has been issued), you should weigh the following considerations:
    • Most large harbors and ports are under the control of a harbor authority and/or a vessel traffic system. Keep in contact with the authorities should a forced movement of vessel be directed.
    • Smaller ports may not be under the control of a harbor authority. If you are aware there is a tsunami warning and you have time to move your vessel to deep water, then you may want to do so in an orderly manner, in consideration of other vessels.
    • Damaging wave activity and unpredictable currents can affect harbors for a period of time following the initial tsunami impact on the coast. Contact the harbor authority before returning to port making sure to verify that conditions in the harbor are safe for navigation and berthing.