Emergency Preparedness: Protect your community from a Tsunami

US Government Facts and Guideleines

Tsunamis affect coastal communitoes

What to Do in Case of a Tsunami Wave

     Tsunamis (pronounced soo-ná-mees), also known as seismic sea

waves (mistakenly called “tidal waves”), are a series of enormous

waves created by an underwater disturbance such as an earthquake,

landslide, volcanic eruption, or meteorite. A tsunami can move

hundreds of miles per hour in the open ocean and smash into land

with waves as high as 100 feet or more.

     From the area where the tsunami originates, waves travel outward

in all directions. Once the wave approaches the shore, it builds in

height. The topography of the coastline and the ocean floor will

influence the size of the wave. There may be more than one wave

and the succeeding one may be larger than the one before. That

is why a small tsunami at one beach can be a giant wave a few miles

away. All tsunamis are potentially dangerous, even though they may not

damage every coastline they strike. A tsunami can strike anywhere along

most of the U.S. coastline. The most destructive tsunamis have occurred

along the coasts of California, Oregon, Washington, Alaska, and Hawaii.

     Earthquake-induced movement of the ocean floor most often generates

tsunamis. If a major earthquake or landslide occurs close to shore,

the first wave in a series could reach the beach in a few minutes,

even before a warning is issued. Areas are at greater risk if they are l

ess than 25 feet above sea level and within a mile of the shoreline.

Drowning is the most common cause of death associated with a

tsunami. Tsunami waves and the receding water are very destructive

to structures in the run-up zone. Other hazards include flooding,

contamination of drinking water, and fires from gas lines or ruptured tanks.

How can I protect myself from a tsunami?

This information has been provided by FEMA, the Fedeal Emergency Preparedness Agency

of the United States Read it to learn about what to do to save your life.

Take protective measures:

What to do Before and During a Tsunami

The following are guidelines for what you should do if a tsunami is likely

in your area:

Turn on your radio
to learn if there is a tsunami warning if an earthquake 
occurs and you are in a coastal area.

Move inland to higher ground
immediately and stay there.

Stay away from the beach.
Never go down to the beach to watch
 a tsunami come in. If you can see the wave you are too close to escape it.

CAUTION - If there is noticeable recession in water
 away from the shoreline this is nature's tsunami
 warning and it should be heeded.
You should move away immediately.

What to Do After a Tsunami

The following are guidelines for the period following a tsunami:

Stay away from flooded and damaged areas
until officials say
 it is safe to return.

Stay away from debris in the water
; it may pose a safety hazard
 to boats and people.

Save yourself - not your possessions


Know Your Tsunami Terms

Familiarize yourself with these terms to help identify a tsunami hazard:

An earthquake has occurred in the Pacific basin, which might generate

a tsunami.

A tsunami was, or may have been generated, which could cause damage;

therefore, people in the warned area are strongly advised to evacuate.

A tsunami was or may have been generated, but is at least two hours travel

time to the area in Watch status.

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