Tsunami Preparedness Week: Where to Evacuate
If a tsunami warning is issued for your area from NOAA or you recognize a natural tsunami warning, dangerous and possibly deadly coastal flooding and powerful currents are possible.
The initial wave might not be the largest and it might not be the last. A tsunami can last for several hours and powerful currents may continue for days after the initial event. Immediate evacuation out of a tsunami zone could save your life if you know where to go.
Get Away from the Water
NOAA recommends having a safe place in mind to evacuate to, but if you don't have one, or can't reach it, they advise following evacuation signs out of the tsunami zones or to simply go as high or as far away from the water as possible. Generally, at least 100 feet above sea level or a mile inland is considered safe. It's also recommended to go on foot, if possible. Consider there may be damage to roads, power lines and significant debris.
You can find the latest evacuation maps for Alaska communities here.
Staying Inside as a Last Resort
The power of a tsunami wave has the force to move cars and even buildings. If the only option is to stay where you are, some strong and tall buildings may provide some protection. NOAA says reinforced concrete buildings can be a safe place, but they recommend checking with your local emergency management office or hotel staff about vertical evacuation options.
Out at Sea
If you are out at sea when a tsunami warning is issued, NOAA recommends moving to a depth of at least 180 feet and away from harbors until the warning or threat has passed.
Check in with your harbormaster, port captain, the U.S. Coast Guard, and local and state emergency management offices for more information on the safe depth for your area and other tsunami safety information and regulations.
NOAA says if you own a boat or are a there are a few things you should do now to prepare for a tsunami:
- Make sure you have a way to receive tsunami warnings when you are on the water. The U.S. Coast Guard will issue urgent marine information broadcasts on your marine VHF radio’s channel 16.
- Put together a disaster supplies kit to keep on board your boat.
- Be aware that shore facilities may be damaged, so if you are at sea during a tsunami, you may not be able to return to the harbor you left.
- Be prepared to remain at sea for a day or more.
While tsunamis are unpredictable, if you live or spend time in or near a tsunami hazard zone, preparing now could save your life.
NOAA recommends doing the following now:
- Educate yourself about tsunami warnings and how you can receive them.
- Make an emergency plan that includes your evacuation plan, how you will contact family, including a designated out-of-state contact and where your family meeting place will be given different scenarios.
- Map out routes from home, work, and other places you visit often to safe places outside the tsunami hazard zone.
- Practice walking your routes, even in darkness and bad weather. This will ease evacuation during an emergency.
- Put together a portable disaster supplies kit with items you and your family (including pets) may need in an emergency.
- Prepare kits for work and cars, too.
- Be a role model. Share your knowledge and plans with others.
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