What to do during a tsunami

Natural disasters like tsunamis always leave huge consequences to human life. With enough understanding on how to cope with the situation, we can somehow overcome difficulties more easily and feel more in control of the situation.

What to do during a tsunami

There are two types of tsunamis – marine tsunami and land tsunami.

For marine tsunami

Take the following steps:

  • Try to get out of the water or run away from the water’s edge as fast as you can.
  • If you are in a boat, return to shore immediately, secure the boat and get as far away from the waterfront as possible.
  • If there are vessels near the beach, leave them offshore in deep water.
  • Inform your neighbours about the situation.
  • Do not try to watch the tsunami by going to the coast. It’s very dangerous to do so.

For land tsunami

Take the following steps:

  • Move to higher and further locations, at least 10 metres above sea level and one kilometre away from any water’s edge.
  • Grab only important items before moving. Your medical needs and those of your family are of top priority.
  • To avoid traffic jams, be flexible in choosing your means of transport.
  • If it’s impossible to get away from the area, take shelter and move to the upper storey of a concrete multi-storey building.
  • Once again, do not try to watch the tsunami by going to the coast. It’s very dangerous to do so.
  • Stay informed about the situation by tuning into your emergency broadcasters.

Before a tsunami

Being prepared before a tsunami strikes helps you survive and possibly reduces the damage to your home and business.

  • For those who live in coastal areas, find information about the risk of a tsunami and look out for local warnings or arrangements by the government.
  • For those with disabilities or special requirements, engage a support network to inform you of any warning or emergency broadcast.
  • Prepare an emergency plan and getaway kits in case the tsunami strikes unexpectedly.
  • Search for the nearest high ground beforehand and think about escape routes, from home and from your workplace to the safe place.

After a tsunami

  • Continue to stay informed by listening to the news for any defence advice.
  • Only return to evacuation zones once the authorities confirm the situation is back to normal. There may be one more wave within 24 hours of the first one. The second wave could be bigger than the first.
  • Check yourself for any injuries and get medical help if needed.
  • Say no to sightseeing.
  • When returning to your home or office, use extreme caution. Floodwaters may damage buildings severely. On spotting any broken utility lines, report it to the authorities immediately.
  • For insurance purposes, take notes and pictures of your damaged property.

This article first appeared in hellodoktor.com and was reviewed by Dr Duyen Le. The Hello Health Group does not provide medical advice, diagnosis or treatment.