Preparing for a Tsunami

IF YOU ARE IN A TSUNAMI RISK AREA (Source)

  1. Find out if your home, school, workplace, or other frequently visited locations are in tsunami hazard areas.
  2. Know the height of your street above sea level and the distance of your street from the coast or other high-risk waters. Evacuation orders may be based on these numbers. Also, find out the height above sea level and the distance from the coast of outbuildings that house animals, as well as pastures or corrals.
  3. Plan evacuation routes from your home, school, workplace, or any other place you could be where tsunamis present a risk. If possible, pick areas 100 feet (30 meters) above sea level or go as far as two miles (3 kilometers) inland, away from the coastline. If you cannot get this high or far, go as high or far as you can. Every foot inland or upward may make a difference. You should be able to reach your safe location on foot within 15 minutes. After a disaster, roads may become impassable or blocked.
  4. Be prepared to evacuate by foot if necessary. Footpaths normally lead uphill and inland, while many roads parallel coastlines. Follow posted tsunami evacuation routes; these will lead to safety. Local emergency management officials can advise you on the best route to safety and likely shelter locations.
  5. If your children’s school is in an identified inundation zone, find out what the school evacuation plan is. Find out if the plan requires you to pick your children up from school or from another location. Telephone lines during a tsunami watch or warning may be overloaded and routes to and from schools may be jammed.
  6. Practice your evacuation routes. Familiarity may save your life. Be able to follow your escape route at night and during inclement weather. Practicing your plan makes the appropriate response more of a reaction, requiring less thinking during an actual emergency.
  7. If you are visiting an area at risk from tsunamis, check with the hotel, motel, or campground operators for tsunami evacuation information and find out what the warning system is for tsunamis. It is important to know designated escape routes before a warning is issued.

BEFORE IT HAPPENS

  1. Be updated. Watch/read the news, listen to the radio, or follow Twitter:
  2. Call your loved ones. Know where they are. Put them on the speed dial of your phone. Always keep in touch. It is also important that you all agree on a meeting place should you get separated, or have a point person to call to let him/her know that you are safe.
  3. Talk to your family about what will happen in a tsunami situation, and what to do when it happens. Discuss safety measures to avoid panic and reduce fear.
  4. Charge phones, emergency lights, and other equipment that can run on batteries.
  5. Check around the house for loose wires.
  6. Prepare flashlights, first-aid kits and a tsunami survival kit.
  7. Stock up on food, water and warm clothes.
  8. Make sure that your family and pets are well accounted for. Stay together.

WHILE IT IS HAPPENING

  1. Be calm. Don’t panic.
  2. Keep abreast for the weather condition.
  3. If electricity goes out, use emergency lights and flash lights.
  4. Listen to the radio for news.
  5. Stay inside.

AFTER IT HAPPENS (Source)

  1. Stay tuned to a local radio or television station for updated emergency information. The tsunami may have damaged roads, bridges, or other places that may be unsafe.
  2. Check yourself for injuries and get first aid if necessary before helping injured or trapped persons.
  3. If someone needs to be rescued, call professionals with the right equipment to help. Many people have been killed or injured trying to rescue others in tsunami flooded areas.
  4. Help people who require special assistance: infants, elderly people, those without transportation, large families who may need additional help in an emergency, people with disabilities, and the people who care for them.
  5. Avoid disaster areas. Your presence might hamper rescue and other emergency operations and put you at further risk from the residual effects of tsunami floods, such as contaminated water, crumbled roads, landslides, mudflows, and other hazards.
  6. Use the telephone only for emergency calls. Telephone lines are frequently overwhelmed in disaster situations. They need to be clear for emergency calls to get through.
  7. Stay out of a building if water remains around it. Tsunami water, like floodwater, can undermine foundations, causing buildings to sink, floors to crack, or walls to collapse.
  8. When re-entering buildings or homes, use extreme caution. Tsunami driven floodwaters may have damaged buildings where you least expect it. Carefully watch every step you take.
  9. Wear long pants, a long-sleeved shirt, and sturdy shoes. The most common injury following a disaster is cut feet.
  10. Use battery-powered lanterns or flashlights when examining buildings. Battery powered lighting is the safest and easiest to use, and it does not present a fire hazard for the user, occupants, or building. DO NOT USE CANDLES.
  11. Examine walls, floors, doors, staircases, and windows to make sure that the building is not in danger of collapsing.
  12. Inspect foundations for cracks or other damage. Cracks and damage to a foundation can render a building uninhabitable.
  13. Look for fire hazards. There may be broken or leaking gas lines, tsunami flooded electrical circuits, or submerged furnaces or electrical appliances. Flammable or explosive materials may have come from upstream. Fire is the most frequent hazard following tsunami floods.
  14. Check for gas leaks. If you smell, gas or hear a blowing or hissing noise, open a window and get everyone outside quickly. Turn off the gas using the outside main valve if you can, and call the gas company from a neighbor’s home. If you turn off the gas for any reason, a professional must turn it back on.
  15. Look for electrical system damage. If you see sparks or broken or frayed wires, or if you smell burning insulation, turn off the electricity at the main fuse box or circuit breaker. If you have to step in water to get to the fuse box or circuit breaker, call an electrician first for advice. Electrical equipment should be checked and dried before being returned to service.
  16. Check for damage to sewage and water lines. If you suspect sewage lines are damaged, avoid using the toilets and call a plumber. If water pipes are damaged, contact the water company and avoid using water from the tap. You can obtain safe water from undamaged water heaters or by melting ice cubes that were made before the tsunami hit. Turn off the main water valve before draining water from these sources. Use tap water only if local health officials advise it is safe.
  17. Watch out for wild animals, especially poisonous snakes that may have come into buildings with the water. Use a stick to poke through debris. Tsunami floodwater flushes snakes and animals out of their homes.
  18. Watch for loose plaster, drywall, and ceilings that could fall.
  19. Take pictures of the damage, both of the building and its contents, for insurance claims.
  20. Open the windows and doors to help dry the building.
  21. Shovel mud before it solidifies.
  22. Check food supplies. Any food that has been exposed to tsunami floodwater may be contaminated and should be thrown out.
  23. Watch your animals closely. Keep all your animals under your direct control. Hazardous materials abound in tsunami flooded areas. Your pets may be able to escape from your home or through a broken fence. Pets may become disoriented, particularly because tsunami flooding usually affects scent markers that normally allow them to find their homes. The behavior of pets may change dramatically after any disruption, becoming aggressive or defensive, so be aware of their well-being and take measures to protect them from hazards, including displaced wild animals, and to ensure the safety of other people and animals.

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4 thoughts on “Preparing for a Tsunami

  1. Pingback: Preparing for a Tsunami « Bayanihan Online | Buzz Search Engine

  2. Pingback: Tsunami Alert: Philippines « Bayanihan Online

  3. This post is very informative and very timely after what happened in Japan. Just to let you know, i reposted this article in my blog in hopes to spread the word to everyone, and my readers. The site is credited with a link of Bayanihan Online. Good Job, everyone!

    Thank you so much! Mabuhay!

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