Tsunami Preparation & Planning Guide

Tsunamis 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.  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.

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 less 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.

Need I even mention Japan and the Fukushima Daiichi nuclear disaster that was a combination of a series of natural disasters, equipment failures, nuclear meltdowns, and releases of radioactive materials at the Fukushima 1 Nuclear Power Plant, following the Tōhoku earthquake and tsunami on March 11, 2011. It was the largest nuclear disaster since the Chernobyl disaster of 1986.

Natural disasters happen most everywhere on this earth and may often come without any warning.  If you reside in an area that is prone to natural disasters, then you have to prepare for that disaster to strike and how to deal with the disrupted state of affairs.  The Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) advises that the first 72 hours after a disaster are critical.  Electricity, gas, water and telephones may not be working. In addition, public safety services such as police and fire departments may not be able to reach you immediately during a serious crisis.  Each person should be prepared to be self-sufficient - able to live without running water, electricity and/or gas, and telephones - for at least three days following a disaster.

Identifying an impending hazard and knowing what to do to protect yourself and your family will help you take effective steps to prepare beforehand and aid your recovery after the event.  Some of the things you can do to prepare for the unknown, such as assembling a supply kit and developing a family emergency plan, are the same for all types of hazards and disasters. However, each emergency is unique and knowing the actions to take for each threat will impact the life-saving decisions and preparations you make. By learning about these threats, you are preparing yourself to react in an emergency or bug out situation. This is the reality of Tsunami Preparation.

When it comes to self-reliance, it is all up to you. You are the end of the line and must pull your own weight. Learn your tools, learn their limits, and learn to survive THE UNKNOWN.