How to Prepare Your Home for a Tsunami

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Turning your living room into a raft is not the best option.

To be fair to tsunamis, if they want to destroy your house, they’re going to destroy your house regardless of what you’ve done to make it stronger. But that doesn’t mean you shouldn’t try! Whether you’re buying a new home or fixing up your existing home, consider the following tips.

Be Aware of Flood Zones

Embrace that civics nerd dwelling inside of you! Learn about flood zones in your region. If your house is near sea level, it may be at risk for flooding from tsunami surge, even if you’re not on the coast. If you’re building a new house, make peace with the fact that your house may be washed away if you decide to build it within a few hundred feet of a body of water. It’s nice to be on the shoreline, but you’re at the whim of the water.

Reinforce Critical Structures

Whether you’re in a flood zone or not, make sure there are no significant drainage problems on your property. If the water can quickly drain away once the surge recedes, the damage will be less severe. You might also consider improving your home’s storm rating. Reinforcing your windows and doors to withstand hurricane force wind and water may help your house hold up in a tsunami as well.

Try to incorporate engineering techniques that can channel water to minimize flooding risks, and don’t forget your exterior structures like free-standing garages. Consult an engineer to learn about the best practices to implement structural upgrades.

Rule of Thumb

Say goodbye to those yard toys, kids. They belong to the sea now.

Keep Emergency Supplies on Hand

Your home may be the most important structure on your land, but sheds or other freestanding structures can get damaged or lost in a tsunami wave. Have sandbags or other methods ready to anchor them in place.

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Invest in Flood Insurance

If you do nothing else to reinforce your house, make sure you have flood insurance. This is essential if you live in a known flood zone. Tsunami damage can be catastrophic near the coast, but the majority of damage is from flooding.

Many homeowners are surprised to discover that flooding isn’t always covered by home insurance policies. Check to make sure the coverage you get includes tsunamis to protect your most important financial investment. Many resources are available to help you find the right policy for your property, such as the National Flood Insurance Program.

Your loins are fully girded up! Now to build up the muscle memory.

About the Authors

It takes a village! We are researching, writing and fact checking as a family. Collaboration is the name of the game, whether we’re running from a zombie horde or finding the best way to turn a complex concept into a deliciously digestible set of bullet points.

Katherine Esperanza is a Los Angeles based writer. When she's not conjuring new queer slice-of-life short stories, she's busy watching the newest films, out at queer shows, supporting queer artists, or just checking out the queer community as a whole.

A former international non-profiteer, small business owner, and co-op'er, Katherine is delighted to help introduce more leftist politics into the disaster preparedness/prepper sphere, which is currently far too right-wing.