Tsunamis – Mitigation (Actions Before, During, After)


Although a tsunami cannot be prevented, the effect of a tsunami can be reduced through community preparedness, timely warnings, and effective response.

The following actions are some important recommendations that you can follow through each stage of a Tsunami emergency:[1] [2]

Actions Before: Determine Risk, Increase Knowledge, Safeguard, Plan

General All-Hazard Actions:

  • Determine the disaster risks in your locale and the hazards that accompany them.
  • Increase your knowledge about the emergency warning signals and alert notifications used in your community.
  • Instruct family members how to shut off water, gas and electricity to your house.
  • Make the necessary property preparations to reduce the damage from the hazard.
  • Acquire a backup generator in case of a prolonged power failure.
  • Check into insurance (property, health, life, and hazard type).
  • Make the necessary financial arrangements in case of a sudden evacuation and power outage that shuts down local ATMs and banks.
  • Organize important documents and records and store them in a portable lock box or safe-deposit box.
  • Perform home inventory video taping and store tape in a portable lock box or safe-deposit box.
  • Develop an Emergency Communication Plan with evacuation plan and ask an out-of-state person to serve as the "family contact".
  • Assemble a shelter-in-place Emergency Supplies Kit.
  • Assemble a mobile Emergency Supplies Kit that can serve as a “grab and go” bag?
  • Get a family member trained in first aid and CPR.
  • Make the necessary preparations and arrangements for pets, seniors, and the disabled.
  • Familiarize yourself with the emergency plans of your family member's employment building, school, day care center, or nursing home.

Hazard Specific Actions:

  • Find out if your house is in danger and know the height of your street above sea level.
  • Be familiar with warning signs (earthquakes, ground rumbling, or rapid rise and fall of coastal waters).
  • Ensure all family members know how to respond.
  • Make evacuation plans with more than one route and pick an elevated inland location.

Actions During: Safety Basics, Evacuation, Shelter in Place

  • Listen to radio for emergency and evacuation information.
  • Climb to higher ground as soon as warning of a tsunami is released.
  • Stay away from the beach - if you can see the wave, you are too close to escape it.
  • Do not assume that one wave means the danger is over - the next wave may be larger than the first.
  • Stay out of the area and do not return until authorities say it is safe to do so.

Actions After: Get Disaster Relief, Clean-up, Salvage

  • Stay tuned to radio for emergency information.
  • Help injured or trapped persons and give first aid where appropriate.
  • Do not move seriously injured persons unless they are in immediate danger of further injury.
  • Stay out of damaged buildings.
  • Enter home with caution, checking for electrical shorts and live wires.
  • Do not use appliances or lights until properly checked by an electrician.
  • Open windows and doors to help dry the building.
  • Shovel mud while it is still moist to give walls and floors an opportunity to dry.
  • Check food supplies, throwing out all fresh food that may be contaminated and have tap water tested by local health department.



  1. American Red Cross, CDC – Emergency Preparedness and Response, FEMA – Are You Ready? Guide, Ready.gov, Be a Force of Nature with NOAA’s Weather Ready Nation, National Weather Service Weather Safety
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