As rescue and recovery efforts continue in Japan, this tragedy should also serve as an important reminder that disaster can strike anytime and anywhere. This week happens to be National Tsunami Awareness Week, and our partners at the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Association are urging all Americans who live along U.S. coastlines to take the threat of tsunamis seriously.
There are a few simple tips to remember:
Warning signs of a tsunami
- A strong earthquake, or one that persists for 20 seconds or longer
- The ocean withdraws or rises rapidly
- A loud, roaring sound (like an airplane or a train) coming from the ocean
- Tsunami warnings broadcast over television and radio, by beach lifeguards, community sirens, text message alerts, National Weather Service tsunami warning center Web sites and on NOAA Weather Radio All Hazards
What you should do if you see these signs
- Keep calm
- Immediately move to your local tsunami shelter using defined tsunami evacuation routes
- If there are no evacuation routes defined, move to higher ground that is at least 100 feet in elevation, a mile inland, or to the highest floor of a sturdy building and STAY there
- If you are already in a safe location, STAY there
- Move on foot when possible - do not drive - this keeps the roads clear for emergency vehicles
- Stay tuned to NOAA Weather Radio or news broadcasts for changes in tsunami alerts
- Stay away from the coast and low-lying areas until local officials say it's safe to return
This week should also serve as a crucial reminder for all Americans, no matter if you live near the coast or not, to take the time to get prepared now, before disaster strikes. Anyone can visit Ready.gov to learn how.
For more information visit Ready.gov or http://www.tsunami.gov/.