If you live in a coastal community, you may have to take tsunamis into account when preparing your disaster plan. A tsunami is an emergency that cannot be taken lightly. In other emergencies, you can stay in your house and wait it out, as long as you’re well prepared. Problems such as bad thunderstorms, extreme heat waves and power failures wouldn’t be a problem. However, if a large amount of water is about to sweep through your community, you should be prepared to leave right away.
Create a Portable Emergency Kit
Since you have to leave the area quickly, you can’t take a big emergency stock with you. Instead, you should make an emergency kit that is easy to carry with you when you need to evacuate. Here are some important things you put in your emergency kit:
- A portable water purifier
- Cash set aside for emergencies
- A small hand-cranked radio
- A hand cranked flashlight or one with rechargeable batteries
- A first aid kit
- Meals ready-to-eat (MREs)
All of the supplies that you choose should be small enough to fit in a backpack or duffle bag. Make sure that there’s enough food to sustain the whole family for a minimum of three days. At the same time, divide the food between backpacks so as to not strain yourself with yours. However, if you have younger children you will have to carry a little more for each of them.
Develop an Evacuation Plan
Once you get a tsunami warning, you may not know where to go. The main roads may be jammed in an evacuation, forcing you to leave by another route. Think of a plan ahead of time, map it out and see if it works. Get to know your area and look for back roads to get out of town. Find out how to get out of your city by more than one road, just in case. Look for hills that are close by and figure out how to get to them.
After you have developed a disaster plan, you should practice it. Make a game out of it with your kids. See how long it takes you to gather all of the kits together and get to a preferred “safe zone.”
Although tsunamis are most common in the so-called Pacific “Ring of Fire,” they can strike any community close to the sea. A tsunami starts when an earthquake under the ocean displaces a large amount of water. The tsunami, also called a tidal wave, can result in waves as high as 100 feet, so it’s important to get to higher ground as quickly as possible. Don’t go back to your area until emergency officials deem it safe to return.
When a tsunami is about to strike, you can’t take your chances and stay in your apartment building. When we consider the tsunamis that have devastated Southeast Asia in recent years, we see how strong a tidal wave can actually get. A tidal wave can cause a devastating amount of damage. If you live in a place that is susceptible to tsunamis, make sure you acquaint yourself with evacuation routes as part of your disaster plan. Purchase what need for your emergency kits.