Disaster Preparedness: Tsunami Disaster Plan

Master Disaster Checklist

If you want to keep your property, family, pets, and business safe during natural disasters, it’s important to be prepared. This master checklist gives you a good foundation for what to do, what to have, and what to plan for.

  • Secure Contact Information: Make sure you have a printed out copy as the power may be out and you might not have access to your computer or documents. Include names and telephone numbers, as well as out-of-town friends or family who might be able to help you. It’s important to have an out-of-town friend listed because your friends who live in your town might not be able to help you if a disaster affected them, too. Additionally, prearrange a nearby meet-up place after the emergency. It could be the local high school, a relative’s home, or a grocery store.
  • Have a Plan: Make sure that all of your family knows about your disaster plan (escape routes, where the emergency kit is stored, who to contact, and what to do in case of a natural disaster).
    • Identify a Safe Room: Point out which room is the safest room in your home. This should be an interior room without windows, if possible (maybe a closet or a bathroom). This is the place your family should seek shelter when storm warnings are issued.
  • Stay Informed: Make sure that you have a portable radio with fully charged batteries so that you can get the latest up-to-date information about the disaster. If you are in the path of the disaster, go to your pre-designated shelter area immediately.
  • Take Photos/Video of Your Property: If you have an inventory of your valuables and possessions you are likely to be able to claim up to 20% more insurance than if you don’t. Taking photos and videos with your cell phone is an easy way to document your items. Be sure to upload all the images to secure cloud backup and not just store on your property.
  • Charge Electronic Devices: During a disaster, you may lose power. Ensure your cell phone is fully charged, along with other electronic devices like tablets and laptop computers. Also, think about purchasing a solar-powered backup charging device.
  • Get Cash: When the power goes out, ATM machines won’t work. Get plenty of one dollar bills because not many people will have change for twenty and hundred dollar bills. Try to aim for ones, fives, and tens.
  • Fill Up on Gas: Fill your gas tank. When the power goes out, gas pumps won’t work.
  • Disaster Supplies Kit: A disaster supplies kit is essential to keeping you and your family safe. It should include non-perishable food, water, medical supplies, clothes, pet food and supplies, medications, batteries, flashlights, etc. Consider the following list: 
    • Flashlight
    • Batteries
    • First Aid Kits: For $20, you can have medical supply basics — all in one place — and ready to use. Minor as well as major injuries are possible during an earthquake and it’s possible that emergency services will be overwhelmed, so having a first aid kit is essential.
    • Solar Cell Phone Charger: Solar powered charges start in the mid-$20 range and go up from there. The best selling Amazon solar charger is $60 and is fast with “industrial-strength PET polymer faced solar panels sewn into a rugged polyester canvas offer weather-resistant outdoor durability.” If the power goes out, you might have no other way to charge your phone.
    • Crank-Powered Radio: You can pay upwards of $100 for a decent crank radio, but you don’t have to spend that much. The best-selling Amazon crank radio is only $20!
    • Emergency Water Filter: There’s no need for an expensive filtration system. The LifeStraw Personal Water Filter has 5,000 reviews and is only $20! The LifeStraw “removes minimum 99.9999% of waterborne bacteria, 99.9% of waterborne protozoan parasites, and filters to 0.2 microns; surpasses EPA filter standards.”
    • Bottled Water (minimum of three gallons for each member of your family)
    • Battery-Powered Radio
    • Battery-Powered Lantern
    • Emergency Food Supply
    • Can Opener
    • Basic Tools (utility knife, pliers, wrench, tape, compass)
    • Toiletries (toothbrush, toothpaste, contact solution, toilet paper)
    • Pencils and Paper
    • Pet Supplies (food, litter)
    • Rain Gear
    • Sleeping Bag
    • Change of Clothes
    • Plastic Garbage Bags
    • Face Masks
    • Gloves
    • Hand Sanitizer
    • Cleaning Wipes
  • Have a “Go Bag”: Having an emergency bag packed with essentials (food, clothes, toiletries, cash, etc.) can save you time in a crisis. P.S. A little bit of toilet paper goes a long way…
  • Gather Your Important Papers: Keep all special papers and photographs in a watertight container or plastic bag. You know, all of those important things like bank account papers, birth certificates, property deeds, medical cards, social security cards, etc. as well as photos and important keepsakes which can never be replaced. During a disaster, they could all be ruined and washed away forever in one whoosh!
    • Identification (copy of driver’s license or passport)
    • Insurance Policies
    • Birth Certificates
    • Marriage Certificates
    • Proof of Residence (copy of lease, mortgage documents)
    • Deeds or Wills
    • Tax Returns
    • Social Security Cards
  • Plan for Your Pets: Many hotels and motels won’t accommodate your pets, so if your plan is to evacuate to a hotel, then you’ll need to find them a safe boarding kennels or cattery which is outside of the disaster’s impact zone. Be sure you have plenty of your pet’s preferred food and whatever medications they might need.
  • Refill Your Medications: Make sure that you have plenty of your prescription medicines on hand. If a disaster hits your area, the last thing you want to worry about is a medical emergency. 
  • Disaster Insurance: Check your insurance coverage as part of your disaster preparedness plan. Many home insurance policies do not cover hazards like flooding caused by hurricanes, for example. If you live in a disaster-prone area, consider getting insurance to cover damages.
  • Have a Plan for After the Disaster: After a disaster, get out of town until emergency services and law enforcement have gotten control of the situation. Unfortunately, like many other disaster situations, there are people who will try to take advantage of the chaos. It’s best to avoid being in the disaster zone until things are under control.

What is a Tsunami?

A tsunami is a large wave caused by the displacement of water. Tsunamis can be caused by earthquakes, landslides, or volcanic eruptions and can travel across oceans at high speeds. Tsunamis can be very destructive and deadly, so it is important to know how to evacuate, safety, and protect yourself. The steps for evacuation, safety, and protection include mapping potential inundation areas, providing assistance in response and evacuation planning, implementing outreach, education and warning signage, and improving preparedness and resilience of California’s ports and harbors.


What Causes a Tsunami?

Tsunamis are created by underwater disturbances such as earthquakes, landslides, and eruptions. Tsunamis can travel hundreds of miles per hour and can be as high as 100 feet. The area where a tsunami originates will influence the size of the wave. A tsunami can strike anywhere along the US coastline, and can be caused by earthquakes.

A tsunami is potentially dangerous and may not damage every coastline it strikes. Tsunami waves are destructive and can cause death from drowning, as well as damage to structures near the shoreline. Areas at risk for a tsunami are those which are close to an earthquake or landslide and below sea level. Tsunami waves are preceded by a series of smaller waves, which can reach the shore in a few minutes. A tsunami can be caused by many different things, including earthquakes, landslides, and underwater volcanic eruptions.

Consider purchasing the following items to help keep your family safe during a tsunami disaster:

Safety Item

LifeStraw Personal Water Filter

The Lifestraw Water Filter is highly effective in removing harmful bacteria and parasites from water. Its microfiltration membrane eliminates 99.99% of waterborne bacteria, such as E. Coli and Salmonella, as well as 99.99% of waterborne parasites like Giardia and Cryptosporidium.

Safety Item

Raynic 5000 Weather Radio

This weather radio is equipped with 5 different power sources, making it the ideal choice during prolonged power outages. The hand crank, solar panel, and AC power options make it easy to keep the radio running.

Recharge Electronics

Feeke Solar Charger Power Bank

This power bank has a large cell capacity of 36800mAh, which is made possible by the use of industry-leading high-density lithium polymer cells. It is compact and has a high-quality, high-density battery that can support thousands of charge cycles.


How Can You Prepare for a Tsunami?

Step 1: Know your local tsunami hazard zones and routes

Tsunami hazard zones are areas that are at risk for being hit by a tsunami. Tsunami routes are the paths that tsunamis take as they travel across the ocean. You can find out your local tsunami hazard zone and route by contacting your local emergency management office or visiting the National Tsunami Hazard Mitigation Program website.

Step 2: Make a disaster plan

No matter where you live, it’s important to be prepared for a tsunami. If you live in a coastal area, you should know the evacuation routes and have a disaster supply kit ready. If you are a tourist, familiarize yourself with the local tsunami protocols.

The most important thing to do is to make a disaster plan. This should include having a family communication plan and emergency contact card. You should also practice your evacuation route so that it becomes second nature.

Be sure to listen to radio stations for updates during a tsunami warning. And finally, remember that aftershocks are common following a tsunami, so be prepared for them as well.

A tsunami can be a very destructive natural disaster. In order to be prepared for such an event, it is important to have a disaster plan in place.

Some things you can do to get ready for a tsunami include having a disaster supply kit on hand and knowing your evacuation route. You should also practice your evacuation plan so that you can react quickly in an emergency situation. It is also important to know the warning systems and disaster plans in place for your community.

If you are travelling, make sure to familiarize yourself with local tsunami protocols so that you know what to do in case of an emergency. When a tsunami warning is issued, evacuate immediately if ordered to do so. After the event, there may be aftershocks, power outages, and fires, so it is important to be prepared for these as well.

You can make a disasters plan by following some simple steps:

  • Get a kit together with supplies that will last you and your family for at least 72 hours following a disaster. Include food, water, first-aid supplies, medications, tools, and more.
  • Come up with an evacuation route and map out where you would go if you had to leave your home quickly. Make sure everyone in your family is familiar with the route.
  • Practice your evacuation route so that it becomes second nature.
  • Know the warning systems and disaster plans in place for your community.
  • If you are travelling, make sure to research local tsunami protocols. Make a list of emergency contacts and have a plan for how to get in touch with them if you are separated.

By taking these steps, you can be prepared for a tsunami and other emergencies.

Step 3: Identify earthquake hazards in your home

Some earthquake hazards in the home include objects that might fall or shift during an earthquake. To identify these hazards, look around your home and identify any objects that could potentially fall or be damaged during an earthquake. These objects could include appliances, furniture, and electrical wiring. Be sure to also familiarize yourself with your local tsunami hazard zones and routes in case you need to evacuate your home during an earthquake.

Step 4: Prepare disaster kits

A disaster kit for a tsunami should include items such as food, water, and shelter. Your household evacuation plan should include your pets. Stay informed about your community’s risk and response plans in order to be prepared for any emergency. Download the Emergency App for iPhone or Android to keep track of your loved ones during a tsunami.

Step 5: Protect yourself during an earthquake

DROP to the ground (before the earthquake drops you!),

COVER your head and neck with your arms, and HOLD ON to something sturdy until the shaking stops. If there’s nothing sturdy nearby, tuck yourself into a ball to protect vital organs and wait it out.

Practice DROP, COVER, and HOLD ON in every room of your home so that you can instinctively do it if an earthquake hits while you’re inside. Familiarize yourself with heavy furniture and appliances so that you can quickly identify something to HOLD ONTO.

If you’re outside when an earthquake hits, find an open area away from buildings, trees, or power lines. Once in the open, DROP down to the ground, COVER your head and neck with your arms, and HOLD ON until the shaking stops.

If you’re in a vehicle when an earthquake hits, pull over to a clear area away from buildings, trees, or power lines. Stop as quickly as safety permits and stay in the vehicle with your seatbelt fastened until the shaking stops. If a power line falls on the car avoid touching any part of the car including doors or windows until an expert has determined it is safe to do so.

If you are in a building, be aware of the structural integrity of the building and if there is any sign that it might collapse during an earthquake. Be aware of potential gas leaks and make sure to evacuate if necessary. If you are unable to evacuate during an earthquake, find a safe spot and protect yourself from the shaking.

Take the time to review your earthquake preparedness plan and make sure you know what to do if an earthquake hits. Make sure you have enough food, water, and shelter to last for at least 72 hours.

Step 6: Evacuate if necessary

If you are in an evacuation area for a tsunami, you should remain in the safe area until you hear the “all clear” announcement from the local Civil Defense. Do not leave the evacuation area until you have heard this announcement. If you feel an earthquake, evacuate immediately and follow your evacuation plan. If a warning of a distant tsunami has been issued, evacuate out of the orange tsunami inundation zone and get to high ground as quickly as possible.

Step 7: Follow your plan

If you have evacuated to safety after a tsunami warning has been issued, there are several things you can do to stay safe. First, if you feel ground shaking, evacuate immediately to a high place. Second, follow your evacuation plan. Third, learn how to protect yourself in every situation – even an earthquake. Fourth, if a warning of a distant tsunami has been issued, evacuate out of the DISTANT (orange) tsunami inundation zone. Fifth, get to high ground as quickly as possible.

After a tsunami warning has been issued, it is important to evacuate to safety as quickly as possible. If you feel ground shaking, this may be due to a local earthquake and you should immediately follow your evacuation plan and get to high ground. If a warning of a distant tsunami has been issued, you should also evacuate out of the orange tsunami inundation zone. Remember to DROP, COVER, and HOLD ON if you feel ground shaking.

Consider purchasing the following items to keep yourself, your family, and your property safe:

Home Safety


Family Care Metal Anti Tip Furniture Straps

This furniture safety strap set is made of heavy-duty metal cleats, wall brackets, and fasteners, as well as triple-stitched nylon webbing, and can support up to 400 lbs. These wall straps do not have any weak links in the form of plastic components or glue, making them reliable for anchoring furniture.

Home Safety


Quakehold! Museum Putty

This product is ideal for securing antiques, collectibles, and other fragile items from falling. It works on almost any surface and is easy to apply due to its pliable texture.

Home Safety


Bebe Earth - Furniture and TV Anti-Tip Straps (8-Pack)

These secure straps can be easily adjusted up to 21 inches long to hold bookcases, dressers, and other large furniture items upright. For added safety, use two straps for each item and three for taller or heavier furniture pieces.


Tsunami Fact vs. Fiction

Tsunamis are a series of waves caused by underwater disturbances, such as earthquakes, landslides, and volcanic eruptions. They can be very destructive, even if they don’t damage every coastline they strike. Areas at greater risk for tsunamis include those below sea level and within a mile of the shoreline. Drowning is the most common cause of death associated with a tsunami.

Tsunami waves and the receding water are very destructive to structures in the run-up zone. Other hazards include flooding, contamination of drinking water, and fires from gas lines or ruptured tanks.

Tsunamis are not giant walls of water. They can have the appearance of a fast-rising and fast-receding flood, but they are actually a series of waves. Tsunamis are most destructive in bays and harbors, but they are least destructive in deep, open ocean waters.

A tsunami is caused by the interaction of the moon’s gravity on the earth. This can cause a large earthquake or local landslide, which then creates a tsunami. Tsunamis can be very dangerous, even if they don’t damage every coastline they strike. Areas at greater risk for tsunamis include those below sea level and within a mile of the shoreline. Drowning is the most common cause of death associated with a tsunami.

The Tsunami Safety Checklist can help you prepare for a tsunami:

  1. Have a tsunami evacuation plan.
  2. Know where the tsunami safe zones are.
  3. Know the warning signs of a tsunami.

If you are in an area that is at risk for tsunamis, it is important to be prepared and know what to do when one strikes.