March 27, 2012

We cannot prevent a tsunami, but we can prepare for one.

Whether you live on or visit coastal areas of the northwest, you should be aware of the dangers of a tsunami.  The earthquake in Japan and the resulting tsunami both in Japan and on the western coast of the United States is a reminder that even the smallest tsunami can do crippling damage.  

Here are a few simple tips to remember.


If you live on the coast or you are visiting, make sure to have a go-kit ready for emergency evacuations.  Know the evacuation routes and procedures of the area you are in.  And make sure to have a list of emergency contacts as a part of your emergency plan and let friends and family know where you are staying if you are visiting.

Be Aware of Nature's Warnings

  • If there is an earthquake, DROP, COVER and HOLD until the shaking stops.
  • If you are on the coast and the earthquake shaking is hard or lasts over 20 seconds, the sea begins to recede, the water level rises rapidly or there is a loud roar from the sea, IMMEDIATELY move to higher ground or inland.  Preferable, move to 100 feet in elevation, at least a mile inland from the coast, or to the highest floor of a sturdy building and STAY there.

What To Do During a Tsunami Warning for Your Area

  • Keep calm.
  • Immediately move to your local tsunami shelter area using defined tsunami evacuation routes.  If there are no evacuation routes defined, move to higher ground a mile inland or to the highest floor of a sturdy building, and STAY there.
  • If you are already in a safe area, STAY there.
  • Move on foot when possible.  Do not drive.  Keep roads open and clear for emergency vehicles.
  • Pay attention to NOAA All Hazards Weather Radio and/or local broadcasts for changes and/or updates in tsunami alerts.
  • Stay away from the coast and low-lying areas until local officials say it's safe to return to the area.

Tsunami Resources