Tsunami: Necessary Citizen Response
Tsunamis cannot be accurately predicted nor can they be prevented. However, there are several things that citizens can do to mitigate the damaging impacts of them. Be on the lookout for signs of approaching tsunamis, be prepared ahead of time, and respond appropriately should a tsunami strike.
There are certain signs that often come with impending tsunamis. These signs include earthquakes lasting 20 seconds or more, large quantities of gas bubbles, warmer than usual waves, the smell of rotten eggs in the water (hydrogen sulfide), or a flash of red light near the horizon.
Remember to prepare ahead of time by contacting your emergency management office. Plan evacuation routes to several places and practice these routes so you can navigate them during severe weather. As always, share this knowledge with your family so everyone is informed about a potential disaster.
Citizens should head to high grounds as soon as possible and remain there because tsunamis come in succeeding waves. This means that a drop in the water level usually does not mean the situation is safe. Belongings should be abandoned as tsunamis are fast moving and time is of the essence. Citizens should also be conscious of the fact that roads will often be blocked as a result of earthquakes that usually precede tsunamis. If unable to reach higher ground, you should evacuate to high levels or roofs of study buildings. As a last resort, hang on tight to a tree and look for floating debris to use as floating devices if swept away by the tsunami.