TSUNAMI Precautions

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Publishing Organisation:
U.S. Department of Homeland Security
  • English
  • Tsunami
Disaster Management Phase

After, Before, During


  • Learn the signs of a potential tsunami, such as
    • an earthquake,
    • a loud roar from the ocean, or
    • unusual ocean behavior, such as
      • a sudden rise or wall of water or
      • sudden draining of water showing the ocean floor.
  • Know and practice community evacuation plans.
    • Some at-risk communities have maps with evacuation zones and routes.
  • Map out your routes from home, work and play.
    • Pick shelters 30m or more above sea level, or at least one km inland.
  • Create a family emergency communication plan that has an out-of-state contact.
    • Plan where to meet if you get separated.
  • Sign up for your community’s warning system.
  • Consider earthquake insurance and a flood insurance policy.
    • Standard homeowner’s insurance does not cover flood or earthquake damage


  • If there are natural signs or official warnings of a tsunami, move immediately to a safe place as high and as far inland as possible.
  • Listen to the authorities, but do not wait for tsunami warnings and evacuation orders.
  • If you are outside of the tsunami hazard zone and receive a warning, stay where you are unless officials tell you otherwise.
  • Leave immediately if you are told to do so.
    • Evacuation routes often are marked by a wave with an arrow in the direction of higher ground.
  • If you are in the water, then grab onto something that floats, such as a raft or tree trunk.
  • If you are in a boat, face the direction of the waves and head out to sea. If you are in a harbor, go inland.


  • Listen to local alerts and authorities for information on areas to avoid and shelter locations.
  • Save phone calls for emergencies.
    • Phone systems often are down or busy after a disaster.
  • Use text messages or social media to communicate with family and friends.
  • Avoid wading in floodwater, which can contain dangerous debris.
    • Water may be deeper than it appears.
  • Be aware of the risk of electrocution.
    • Underground or downed power lines can electrically charge water.
    • Do not touch electrical equipment if it is wet or if you are standing in water.
  • Stay away from damaged buildings, roads and bridges.
  • If you become injured or sick and need medical attention, contact your healthcare provider and shelter in place, if possible.
  • Use the emergency call number (112) if you are experiencing a medical emergency.
  • Document property damage with photographs.
  • Conduct an inventory and contact your insurance company for assistance.


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