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Natural disasters claim 60,000 lives on average each year. Among these disasters are the Tsunamis, one of the deadliest natural disasters the world has ever witnessed.
While in the past floods, droughts, and earthquakes were the deadliest forms of natural disaster, today, Tsunamis move up the list because they are often linked to triggering earthquakes and the consequent flooding.
Surviving a Tsunami is one of the most difficult tasks. In fact, a lot of people think that surviving any natural disaster is a matter of luck, a mindset that exposes many to greater risk because it stops you from taking preparatory and ad hoc survival measures.
You can survive a Tsunami by following the “drop-cover-hold on” rule of thumb when a triggering earthquake occurs. Consequently, seeking safety on higher ground or at least one mile inland away from the coast will increase your chances of survival once a Tsunami eventually hits the coast.
Preparing a Tsunami survival kit before a Tsunami happens, heeding Tsunami alerts from authorities, holding on to an object if you are caught up in Tsunami waters, buying a Tsunami home insurance, and purchasing a Tsunami “Survival Capsule” are all ways that will help you survive a Tsunami.
This article discusses all these survival strategies and answers key questions that give you crucial information on what to do and what you need to survive a Tsunami.
But what exactly is this natural monster we have named Tsunami? We kick start our survival guide by telling you what a Tsunami is and the danger signs that tell you when this natural disaster is imminent.
In a hurry? If you just want to get to our conclusions, here are our top picks and recommendations!
Last update on 2021-04-16 / Affiliate Links / Images from Amazon Product Advertising API
Tsunamis are giant ocean or sea waves that are triggered by:
Tsunami waves are not the typical ocean tides that are triggered by winds or storms. For that reason, they are not tidal waves as some tend to consider them.
Here are a few other interesting facts about tsunamis:
Natural disasters claim 60,000 lives on average each year.
These facts paint the picture of an enormous water force that can cause massive damage. It also suggests that you are better off far away from the occurrence of a Tsunami because your survival chances under Tsunami waters are minimal.
Also, the gravity of a Tsunami indicates that you should be prepared for a Tsunami if you want to increase your chances of survival.
From the foregoing, it’s clear that surviving a Tsunami is no walk in the park. To protect yourself from the raging Tsunami waves and survive them, you will have to be prepared for any eventual Tsunamis.
Knowing key Tsunami survival facts and preparing your Tsunami gear in a Tsunami survival kit is the best way to survive a Tsunami.
Overall, your Tsunami survival plan should take into consideration the three phases of Tsunami preparedness:
Let’s explore each of these Tsunami Survival plan phases.
Surviving natural disasters implies some form of planning. At the least, one will survive by knowing the signs that herald a natural disaster and rushing to safety before the wrath of the disaster can befall the earth.
But a more proactive way of surviving a natural disaster such as a Tsunami is by taking the necessary preparatory measures by creating a survival plan.
We have dubbed this first phase of how to survive a Tsunami “Beware and Plan.”
Since they are one of the deadliest natural disasters, getting away from a Tsunami before it happens is your best bet for survival. You stand a better chance for survival if you can tell when a Tsunami is looming and take to higher ground immediately.
Here are the herald signs of a looming Tsunami:
See this video with visual details on the major signs of an imminent Tsunami.
If you live in a coastal area or are visiting Tsunami-prone coastal areas, be informed about existing evacuation routes and community maps for Tsunami-safety routes.
Be informed about community warning systems and sign up for Emergency Alert Systems. Tsunamis develop rapidly and the sooner you know about a Tsunami warning, the higher your chances of survival.
It’s important to plan for evacuation in advance by learning and practicing community evacuation routes.
This should be done from all the locations that you can be when a Tsunami occurs including your home, office, work, or place of worship.
When you choose community evacuation centers, ensure they are at least 10ft above sea level or at least one mile inland.
Also, make a family communication plan and identify meeting places if and should a Tsunami happen.
To help you get back on your feet after the Tsunami, buy Tsunami insurance. Note that typical homeowner insurance does not cover for natural disasters such as Tsunamis and earthquakes.
Though a Tsunami survival kit will be needed if and when it happens, you should prepare and store it now if you have not done it yet.
A lot of people think that surviving a Tsunami is only about evacuating the affected coastal zone and getting to safety.
But what happens when you get to safety? Here are some possibilities:
All this means that you need to have a Tsunami survival kit ready, one that has all the items that will take care of the above needs, at least for 72 hours.
So, what supplies do you need to survive a tsunami? Here’s what your Tsunami survival kit should contain.
You’ll need non-perishable food such as canned and freeze-dried foods that require little or no heating and an amount that is enough for every member of the family for at least 72 hours (3 days).
These foods could include:
If you predict that canned food will be hard to carry and store for a Tsunami emergency, you can opt for Survival Tabs. These are a reliable source of carbohydrates, protein, and fat in emergency situations.
Survival tabs have a 25-year shelf life just like most canned food and are often used to counter the limits of freeze-dried food.
These lightweight emergency food replacement tabs are perfect for a Tsunami situation in which carrying and preparing canned food may be altogether impossible.
They are easy to pack plus they have a 25-year shelf life, which means you don’t need to replace them often.
The survival tabs are both non-GMO and gluten-free, good for anyone with gluten food allergies. They will give your body the recommended daily supply of vitamins and minerals until you can get back from your Tsunami safety location.
Each pouch of survival tabs has a different flavor from a wide assortment of chocolate, vanilla, strawberry, and butterscotch flavors. You have 96 tablets in 4 pouches of 2 tablets each and you get 20 calories from each tab.
Last update on 2021-04-16 / Affiliate Links / Images from Amazon Product Advertising API
During and after a Tsunami, water sources are likely to be contaminated and potable clean water will be scarce. It will be extremely convenient to have a gallon of water for each person in your family.
Given that a Tsunami situation can be abrupt and extremely destructive, including a water filter in your Tsunami survival kit will be an extra precaution.
A water filter will help you access water for both drinking and other small survival tasks, even from Tsunami wave pools.
We chose this hand-pump water filter because it will give you more than just a few litters of drinking water and is perfect for family Tsunami preparedness.
The filter’s 3-stage water filtration pump has a 0.01 pore size and efficiently eliminates 99.9% of viruses, protozoa, and bacteria, 93% of Lead, and 99.5% of mercury.
The filter will give you 500ml of filtered water every minute, which means you can quickly filter enough water for a family or group.
It is easy to use: you simply place the pre-filter pipe in the water source and pump the water through the carbon and internal filters, sending your clean water to the collecting container.
It can be easily disassembled and reassembled which makes it easy to carry in your Tsunami survival kit, plus it comes with a packing pouch.
Last update on 2021-03-30 / Affiliate Links / Images from Amazon Product Advertising API
Like all other natural disaster situations, a Tsunami will predispose you to medical situations such as injuries and water-borne diseases.
A medical first aid kit is, therefore, a ‘must-have’ in your Tsunami survival kit. This should include the following items:
You can opt to purchase a prepackaged first-aid kit. Doing so will ensure you have all the essentials for eventual medical emergencies and it will be easier to simply include the packaged kit to your comprehensive Tsunami survival kit.
This 299-piece first aid kit is ideal for an emergency Tsunami situation and is easy to carry, measuring only 9.25" x 2.8" x 7".
It has clear plastic pockets where all the medical supplies are organized and you can easily tell what you have including:
You also have a first aid guide to help you know how to use the supplies.
Last update on 2021-04-16 / Affiliate Links / Images from Amazon Product Advertising API
Hygiene items will take care of your cleanliness and sanitary needs while you brave the extremes of a Tsunami disaster. These will include:
Considering the wet, cold, and muddy/swampy conditions that may come with a Tsunami, having the right type of clothing is crucial. These include:
While you might find shelter with well-wishers, rescue centers, or family and friends, it’s important to be ready for any eventualities.
Bringing some form of shelter will protect you from the elements. A mini-tent and/or sleeping bag will serve the purpose.
In recent times, inventors have also created a state-of-the-art device known as a ‘Survival Capsule’ (Rescue pod).
Though it is still a new idea, rescue pods have been tested to withstand Tsunami ‘train waves’ and the rage of the debris that comes with it.
The dome-shaped ‘survival capsule’ is made from aircraft-grade aluminum and can withstand large shocks and high temperatures. It is also painted in high visibility orange color.
Current models of the ‘survival capsule’ have space for two people and 3-day food and water provisions. The construction of larger capsules with space for up to 16 people is underway, which also targets institutions like schools.
Survival capsules also have a rescue beacon and tether so that you can be rescued while you float on the Tsunami waters.
This 4-minute video gives you an idea of what a tsunami survival capsule is and how it works.
It’s obvious that a Tsunami survival kit will serve its purpose if you can access it when a Tsunami warning or alert is sounded.
While it is wise to store your comprehensive Tsunami emergency kit at home in a place where you can pick it as you rush out and every member of the family can access it, you can also prepare smaller emergency kits to:
Doing this will give you some security, given that carrying your main survival kit everywhere will be outright impossible.
As with other natural disaster situations, surviving a Tsunami when it happens will depend on how quickly you can act.
Take these pro-survival measures if you find yourself at or near a coast during a Tsunami.
Since most Tsunamis are preceded by an earthquake, your first worry should be to survive the earthquake.
The rule of thumb is to Drop, Cover, and Hold On to something as shown below.
Once the earthquake tremor ceases, leave quickly to higher ground or as far inland as you can get.
If you are in a tall concrete building, move up to above the fourth floor. Doing so may prove better than trying to evacuate.
If you have an option between climbing to higher ground and moving inland, chose the previous. You have more chances of survival at a higher ground than when caught up running inland by the Tsunami waves.
Always listen to official Tsunami warnings and alerts. But do not wait for warnings if an earthquake or tremor has occurred. Evacuate immediately!
If you are out of the Tsunami hazard zone, stay where you are to avoid going towards the danger. Evacuate only if advised to do so by the authorities and do so immediately following the marked evacuation routes.
Rivers and streams in coastal zones often lead to the ocean/sea. Stay away from such water sources as you move to safety.
If a Tsunami finds you in water or you are caught up by the waves, grab onto a floating object such as a tree trunk, a door, a raft, or a roof.
If the waves find you in a boat, stay and turn the boat to the direction of the waves so you can head to the shore.
If you are in a harbor, move quickly inland.
No matter how fast your car is, it will not outrun the Tsunami waves. Besides, the high power of the waves and the impact of debris are likely to destroy your car and you have minimal chances of survival if you are in the car.
Thus, abandon your car as soon as you notice signs of a Tsunami or hear a Tsunami warning or alert and rush to safety on higher ground.
If you can, grab your Tsunami safety kit and bring it along. You do not know how long you will be staying in your Tsunami shelter and you’ll need the supplies.
If bringing your safety kit will delay your evacuation and put you in danger, save your life first!
Once you evacuate to safety, stay where you are until the authorities say it is safe to move. Remember that Tsunami waters can suddenly be swept back to sea/ocean as fast as they surge ashore, and that means the risk of being washed to sea.
After a Tsunami, you’ll need to await a signal that it is safe to move before getting back to your usual, not so usual anymore, life.
Once you get the ‘okay-to-move’ signal, follow these tsunami survival tips:
As much as you can, stay away from flooded areas and water pools, and all other water bodies. These are contaminated and can be sources of water-borne diseases. Besides, it is hard to tell the depth of floodwaters.
Also, notice any downed power lines that are in water and steer clear. These may be still charged and can cause electrocution.
If floodwaters separate you from your destination, never wade through floodwaters. Instead, find other routes to safety or await evacuation services.
Avoid roads and buildings that show cracks and stay away from bridges in areas where damage has been done by Tsunami waves.
A lot of homes will be destroyed after a Tsunami. If you have no home to return to, listen to news about possible evacuation shelters, and follow instructions on how to get there or await evacuation help.
Authorities and family will be seeking to account for life after a deadly Tsunami. Use SMS or social media platforms to announce your safety. Avoid calls as communication lines will be busy and can be jammed by call traffic.
Agents such as the Red Cross will often have registers where you can list yourself as safe.
If you are lucky and still have a home after a Tsunami, avoid using water from taps until you are advised that it is safe to use.
Also, don’t eat food that has been left unrefrigerated or has been in contact with floodwaters, including canned food in inflated or damaged cans.
If you are wet or your home was flooded, do not touch electrical switches and appliances to avoid electrocution.
If you had bought a Tsunami insurance, you’ll need supporting proof when making compensation claims.
Take photos and conduct an inventory of destroyed property to present to your insurance company together with the compensation claim.
The impact of a Tsunami does not only take away life and cause destruction on property, it also leaves psychological scars from the devastating images and experiences.
A lot of rescue agencies have psychosocial services that offer emotional support and help survivors pick up the pieces and move on.
Even if you may not feel the need at first, seeking the support of experts and/or of groups in your community will help you overcome the adverse impact of a Tsunami better and faster.
As they say, life will have to go on and a little help will go a long way to help you move on.
To complete your knowledge gear on how to survive a Tsunami, we conclude our article with 3 FAQs and tell you the facts you should know about these issues.
Tsunamis are mostly triggered by underwater earthquakes that cause the abrupt rise or fall of a part of the earth’s crust near or under an ocean/sea.
The earthquake then causes volatile vertical motion that is capable of disrupting large amounts of ocean water. The highly powered rise and fall of these waters cause and propel Tsunami waves.
Not all earthquakes cause Tsunamis. Those that do are the ones that occur along subduction zones, the zones where two tectonic plates meet and tend towards each other.
If one of these plates slide underneath another and moves down in a way that displaces the other, then an earthquake and a consequent Tsunami are bound to happen.
Most Tsunamis occur in the Pacific Ocean. This is because they have a “ring of fire” that is prone to earthquakes. Scientists agree that, of the 10 major Tsunamis that occur each century, 76% happen in the Pacific and bordering seas.
The Indian Ocean accounts for 3% while the Mediterranean Sea and the Atlantic Ocean take up 10% and 11% respectively.
We've covered a lot of things you should do to prepare yourself and your loved ones in case of a tsunami.
Make sure you take precautions before disaster strikes by prepping a tsunami survival kit, buying tsunami insurance for your home and revising your tsunami survival plan and checklist with your family.
Once a tsunami hits, try to head to higher ground as soon as possible and stay safe until the subsequent waves pass.
The danger isn't over after the tsunami passes. Avoid the water as it might be infested, travel carefully as buildings may collapse and seek alternative shelter, as your home might not be accessible or safe.
Want another quick summary of our article on how to survive a Tsunami?
This video below on How to Survive a Tsunami according to Science does it perfectly.