Millions of people across the globe live on coastlines, such as Florida, California, Thailand, Japan, and India to name a few; not to mention the millions of people who visit the beach every year. The oceanside can be one of life's greatest beauty, but on rare occasions, it can quickly become one of the deadliest.
Tsunamis are a result of rapid change in the ocean floor, a result from earthquakes or volcanic movement. On December 26, 2004, the tsunami in the Indian ocean claimed well over 150,000 lives and destroyed the landscape around the area. Tsunamis of this nature claim more lives then hurricanes, tornadoes, earthquakes and flash floods combined; making them one of the deadliest forces of nature. Whats worse, tsunamis give off very little warnings ahead of time and we still know very little about them since they are so rare. If you plan on going to the beach, it's important to know the warning signs of an incoming tsunami, and what you should do to save your life.
Find out from local agencies or your local resort if the hotel, apartment or resort your staying at is in a danger zone. Regardless if it is or not, you need to determine an action plan on where you and your family will go in the event of a tsunami. Make sure you come up with multiple action plans, as nothing can predict how people will react in this scenario. Nothing is worse then being prepared to act, but to have your only plan go to waste because some outside force is preventing you.
In the event of a tsunami:
Become familiar with the normal signs of an incoming tsunami, such as a feeling of rumbling beneath your feet, a rapid change in wave size, or water receding far away from the ocean. There has been documentation of people who will go out to the beach and watch in awe as the water disappears from the beach. Some find this fascinating, so they go out even further thinking its some strange anomaly. Just as quickly as the water recedes, is how quick the water returns in larger portions. Never wait for a tsunami warning to be issued before you start worrying about your safety, find higher ground immediately!
Never try to outrun a tsunami as it will never work, water flows faster than any human being. This includes trying to get in your car and driving away. Traffic nearby will surely stop you and once the flood of waters come through, your car becomes a death trap. If your a swimmer, don't think your skill will save your life. The amount of force that is emitted by a tsunami is extremely powerful, and will bring large objects like cars, boats, and rocks in your direction.
Tsunamis can range in size, being anywhere from 30 to 100 feet in height, and can move inland several hundred feet. It's vital that you find the nearest location to escape and quickly move to the highest level; multi-story concrete enforced hotels are your best bet. Tsunamis can also come in several waves. Don't assume that after the first massive wave, that the disaster is over. Often times, several more waves will come shortly thereafter, and since water has already moved inland, these aftermath waves are just as destructive.
What happens if you find yourself on a boat when a tsunami warning is issued? It largely depends where your located. If your at port and in a small boat, you need to abandon it and find higher ground immediately. If you own a larger vessel and are already out at sea, it might be better for you to navigate your boat to deeper waters.
Remember, tsunamis are extremely rare, so don't let this ruin your vacation at the beach, but do know the warning signs and take them seriously. No one can predict a tsunami days in advance, let alone a couple of hours. We really only know when a tsunami is going to occur, literally just as it's about to start. Remember to watch the currents behavior, and take the feelings of earthquakes seriously. You may only have seconds to save your life once you discover an impending tsunami is coming ashore.
Supplies to bring:
- Flashlight and an extra supply of batteries
- Portable battery operated radio
- First aid kit
- Emergency food and water
- Extra pair of sturdy shoes (maybe even a pair of water shoes as well)
- Manual can opener