Am I Really Preparing for a Tsunami?

Am I really Preparing for a Tsunami?

If you’re in a landlocked state in the US, you are likely not going to be convinced to prepare for a tsunami, but you might be surprised by how far they can go. Tsunamis can easily flood any waterways connected to the ocean, and the same giant waves can also be caused in lakes and rivers by landslides. So don’t count yourself out of the tsunami risk pool just yet!

If you’re living in a coastal state and already having a recurring tsunami dream (very common), take heart in the fact that most tsunamis start many miles from the coast. You’ll probably receive a tsunami watch, advisory, or warning alert when it’s time to head for high ground. That said, if the first alert you get is a warning, you’re going to want your things ready to grab and go. You’ll never know when you’ll need your tsunami survival kit.

"Really?" sassy girl GIF
Don’t take that attitude with a tsunami, little girl.

But why? Why do you exist at all, tsunamis? In our fracking-obsessed world, you’ll be thrilled to learn that some of the most devastating tsunamis in the last 20 years were triggered by earthquakes. If you’re old enough to be concerned about preparing for a tsunami, you remember them. I guarantee it.


An earthquake off the coast of Sumatra Island caused a tsunami that impacted Thailand, India, Indonesia, and Sri Lanka. 2004, 9.1 magnitude, more than 100,000 lives lost.

An earthquake off the coast of the Tohoku region of Japan caused a tsunami with waves of 133 feet. 2011, 9.0 magnitude, almost 20,000 lives lost.

So, while we don’t want to ASSUME we’ll be killed by tsunamis, if we live in coastal communities and are wise, we will make tsunami emergency preparedness plans. This is especially important if your coastal community has a low elevation. Here are some hot tips to get you started: 

  • Know pre-tsunami conditions. If you see water suddenly receding far from the coastline, feel an earthquake, or hear a roar from the ocean… it’s time.
  • Determine the safest evacuation routes and identify shelters that are at least 100 feet above sea level.
  • Plan a meeting point for relatives or loved ones if a tsunami warning occurs and you’re not together.
  • Confirm that schools and employers have a tsunami emergency plan in place.
  • Know what to do if you’re outside (on land or in water) when a warning is issued.
  • Confirm that you have adequate insurance to protect your assets.
large ocean wave

Get your plan together today! We made it easy. Facing a tsunami a scary thought, but if you prepare your tsunami kit and your home ahead of time, you’ll feel braver when the time comes.

About the Author

Writer, editor, and professional joker with an environmental science background. Like most trivia nerds, she's an ardent admirer of Only Connect competitors, but more at home on the QI field.

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