Tsunamis are scary events, but they don’t last forever. Water is famous for finding its level, which means the ocean will reclaim it from your yard with relative swiftness. (If your tsunami was caused by a mountain falling into a lake, let’s say it’s TBD.) Once the water is gone, it’s time for the aftermath.
Before you leave an evacuation location, be sure that local alert providers have confirmed that it’s safe to venture outside or to return to lower ground, as your needs require.
While you might want to call loved ones to hear their voices, opting for texts instead will save your battery power and put less strain on cellular service.
Avoid Risky Locations
Look at the photo below and tell me you can handle it. You can’t. Avoid everything from floodwater to tsunami-damaged buildings. Floodwater is incredibly dangerous. It could be hiding a downed power line, sharp objects, deadly contaminants, or any manner of obstacle. Do not enter flood waters.
Moving floodwater poses additional danger; anything over a few inches could easily carry you away. Six inches of moving floodwater could carry a car away. Be cautious.
Likewise, avoid any building, road, or bridge that was damaged by the tsunami. These structures may be unstable and susceptible to collapse. And be on the lookout for Bambi! Animals are also driven to higher ground during a tsunami, so watch out for wildlife in places you normally wouldn’t expect to find it.
Prioritize Health and Wellness
Tsunamis are devastating to witness, and can be even more traumatic if preceded by an earthquake. There can be many opportunities for injury or shock, as things happen quickly. Keep a close eye on anyone who has even slight injuries, or begins to feel ill. Going into shock can trigger further medical issues, so keep your group as warm, hydrated, and calm as you can until emergency help is available. Breathing exercises and calm conversation may help everyone.
Eventually, you’ll be able to return to buildings. If you have children, do not take them on your first visit home. If your home is damaged, it will be easier for them to see it if they know what to expect.
Whether you are returning to your home or a place of business, do so carefully. Always check for fire hazards, gas leaks, downed power lines, and faulty electrical work that could pose a fire risk. It’s better to rely on battery-powered lighting in the initial stages as a precaution.
Document the damage done to your
buildings and vehicles when you return. Your insurance provider will need proof of all damages, so take photos with time stamps. You may also wish to contact FEMA for assistance, if your insurance policy doesn’t cover all of the damage from the disaster.