Frequently asked questions
Frequently Asked Questions:
Tsunami's are large ocean waves generated by major earthquakes beneath the ocean floor, or major landslides into the ocean. A Tsunami caused by nearby earthquakes may reach the coast within minutes. When the waves enter shallow water, they may rise to several feet or, in rare cases, tens of feet, striking the coast with devastating force. People on the beach or in low coastal areas need to be aware that a tsunami could arrive within minutes after a severe earthquake. The tsunami danger period can continue for many hours after a major earthquake.
Tsunamis also may be generated by very large earthquakes far away in other areas of the ocean. Waves caused by these earthquakes travel at hundreds of miles per hour, reaching the coast several hours after the earthquake. The International Tsunami Warning System monitors ocean waves after any Pacific earthquake with a magnitude greater than 6.5.
Q. What to do if you feel a coastal earthquake.
If you feel a large Earthquake that lasts 20secs or longer when you are on the coast:
Drop, Cover and Hold on. You should first protect yourself from the earthquake. When the shaking stops, gather your family members and evacuate quickly. Leave everything else behind. A Tsunami may be coming in minutes. Move quickly to higher ground away from the coast. Be careful to avoid downed power lines and stay away from buildings and bridges from which heavy objects may fall during an aftershock.
Q.How can I protect myself from a tsunami?
If you are in a coastal community and feel the shaking of a strong earthquake, you may have only minutes until a tsunami arrives. Do not wait for an official warning. Instead, let the strong shaking be your warning, and, after protecting yourself from falling objects, quickly move away from the water and to higher ground. If the surrounding area is flat, move inland. Once away from the water, listen to a local radio or television station for information about further action you should take.
Even if you do not feel shaking, if you learn that an area has experienced a large earthquake that could send a tsunami in your direction, listen to a local radio or television station, Coastguard, or Civil Defence, for what action you should take.
Depending on the location of the earthquake, you may have a number of hours in which to take appropriate action.
Q.What should I do or not do in a tsunami warning?
Because a tsunami can strike at any time, being adequately prepared and knowing what to do beforehand could save your life. Become familiar with your local civil defence and emergency management agencies, and their maps of evacuation zones and information on how to be prepared for this type of natural disaster. If you are at the beach and you feel an earthquake or observe a rapid withdrawal of the sea, head for higher ground immediately. When a tsunami warning has been issued do not attempt to use the telephone or head to low-lying areas to view the oncoming waves. Remember, tsunamis travel at very fast speeds across the ocean; therefore once a warning has been issued you should evacuate immediately. With the Tsunami-Warn alert system you, and the people who are with you, have the advantage of this critical period before an official warning is issued. Go to places that are higher up. Avoid river valleys. Escaping into higher buildings may offer you protection, however this is not guaranteed as the building could be swept away by the tsunami or collapse.
Q. If I need to evacuate, what should I bring with me?
Your tsunami survival kit is generally the same for all natural disasters. Here is a list of suggested supplies: an extra supply of prescription medicines, non-perishable dietary foods, ice container, a minimum of 2 litres (2 quarts) of water per person per day, pet food, candles/flashlight, matches, blankets/sleeping bags, extra cash, clothing, eyeglasses, personal hygiene items, special items for infants, elderly and disabled family members, quiet games or books/toys for children, important papers-driver's license, special medical information, insurance policies, and property inventories, First aid kit and water purification kit.
Plan for a Tsunami
Develop a Family Disaster Plan. Tsunami-specific planning should include the following:
- Learn about tsunami risk in your community. Contact your local Council, or emergency management office. Find out if your home, school, workplace or other frequently visited locations are in tsunami hazard areas. Know the height of your street above sea level and the distance of your street from the coast or other high-risk waters. Evacuation orders may be based on these numbers.
- If you are visiting an area at risk from tsunamis, check with the hotel, motel, marina, or campground operators for tsunami evacuation information and how you would be warned. It is important to know designated escape routes before a warning is issued.
If you are at risk from tsunamis, do the following:
- Plan an evacuation route from your home, school, workplace, or any other place you'll be where tsunamis present a risk. If possible, pick an area 100+ feet above sea level or go up to two miles inland, away from the coastline. If you can't get this high or far, go as high as you can. Every foot inland or upwards may make a difference. You should be able to reach your safe location on foot within 15 minutes. After a disaster, roads may become impassable or blocked. Be prepared to evacuate by foot if necessary. Footpaths normally lead uphill and inland, while many roads parallel coastlines. Follow posted tsunami evacuation routes; these will lead to safety. Local emergency management officials can help advise you as to the best route to safety and likely shelter locations.
- Practice your evacuation route. Familiarity may save your life. Be able to follow your escape route at night and during inclement weather. Practicing your plan makes the appropriate response more of a reaction, requiring less thinking during an actual emergency situation.
- Use a radio to keep informed of local watches and warnings.
- Talk to your insurance agent. Homeowners' policies do not cover flooding from a tsunami. Ask about flood insurance.
- Discuss tsunami with your family. Everyone should know what to do in case all family members are not together. Discussing tsunami's ahead of time will help reduce fear and anxiety, and let everyone know how to respond. Review safety and preparedness with your family
Assemble a Disaster Supplies Kit.
Evacuation Supplies Kit in an easy-to-carry container
(backpack) near your door.
Q. Can the arrival time of a Tsunami be accurately predicted
When a tsunami is generated offshore, the wave will behave as a shallow water wave. A shallow water wave is one that travels through water having a depth less than 1/20 of its wavelength. Knowing that the average Pacific Ocean depth is roughly three miles, oceanographers can determine the speed of the tsunami, and calculate the time it will take to travel between any two points. This information led to the development of travel-time charts that make it possible to predict the arrival time of a tsunami wherever it is generated. Due to the high speeds of these waves, a tsunami can travel across the Pacific Ocean is less than one day! Areas near the epicenter of earthquakes, landslides or volcanic activity are most vulnerable to the effects of a tsunami as they cannot be properly warned by the warning centers of the coming danger..
Boats are safer from tsunami damage while in the deep ocean rather than moored in a harbor. U.S. Coast Guard guidelines suggest deployment to water depths of at least 1,200 feet (370 metres or 200 fathoms). Other guidelines suggest a safety depth of 100+ metres. However, do NOT risk your life and attempt to get underway if it is too close to the first wave arrival time. Anticipate slowdowns caused by traffic gridlock and hundreds of other boaters heading out to sea. Do NOT go near a harbour if there is a local tsunami..
The earthquake information comes from the international government agencies responsible for monitoring, receiving and disseminating the data. A large number of technical skills and resources are deployed by the different governments in an international effort to make this information more accurate, reliable and more meaningful.
The primary source is the Global
Seismographic Network (GSN) which comprises approximetely 145 stations with the
purpose of measuring earthquake information. The information is transmitted in
real-time using Internet and VSAT satellite connectivity which has been
established for 97% of the GSN. network.
GSN monitors data from deep ocean sensors, which measure and communicate changes in water levels. These systems are linked using available data and telecommunication networks.
When certain changes are recorded, additional early warning systems come into operation and the information plus the potential threats are verified. The areas effected are located and various forecasts, advisories and alerts are computed and sent.
This SMS-based early warning system is:
- Not meant to replace existing
formal or official means of communicating alerts or critical information to the public.
- Not meant to become the sole means of receiving critical alert information.
- Not meant to be a mass public communication system for national official or disaster managers
- Not local-specific, but provides a threat indication for an entire region
Once you have taken out membership with Tsunami-Warn, your membership is automatically renewed on your anniversary date. You can cancel your membership at any time simply by logging into the members Log-in page.
There is no further charge for using our tsunami early warning system. Our SMS service is FREE to you wherever you are on the planet.
Based on the location, depth, and magnitude of the earthquake, the colour coded alerts are estimates for the severity of the message and are relative to the epicenter of the quake, and its specific location. Estimates for the severity of the message alerts are classified in three classes:
- Green: very low likelihood of humanitarian and property disaster if close to the location of the epicenter.
- Orange: potential humanitarian and/or property disaster if close to the location of the epicenter.
- Red: very high
potential for humanitarian and property disaster if close to the location of the epicenter.
See Membership Details