National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration - U.S. Department of Commerce

NOAA urges coastal communities to become Tsunami Ready during Tsunami Preparedness Week

March 24-30, 2013

NOAA and state and federal agencies that participate in the National Tsunami Hazard Mitigation Program are partnering again this year for National Tsunami Preparedness Week, March 24 - 30. During the week, NOAA urges coastal residents and visitors to be prepared for a tsunami and encourages communities to become TsunamiReady.

"Improvements in the accuracy and timeliness of tsunami warnings and the way we communicate the threat will help the public stay safe," said Dr. Louis Uccellini, director of NOAA's National Weather Service. "But this information can save lives and property only if individuals and communities know when and how to take proper action. Collective and individual preparedness is key to building a Weather-Ready Nation."

NOAA, the lead agency for tsunami detection and warnings in the United States, manages an expanded network of tide gauges and tsunami buoys and monitors seismic stations throughout the world's oceans to detect tsunamis. If a tsunami threat is detected, NOAA tsunami warning centers broadcast alerts over an advanced telecommunications infrastructure.

Communication and education are important parts of the tsunami warning system. Through NOAA's TsunamiReady program, the National Weather Service works with communities to complete a set of rigorous guidelines necessary to become better prepared for a tsunami. Actions include developing a tsunami safety plan and communications infrastructure, installing tsunami hazard zones and evacuation signs, as well as actively promoting tsunami safety through public awareness activities and training. Becoming TsunamiReady can help minimize loss to a community.

Every one of us can prepare for tsunamis by following these guidelines:
Know the warning signs of a tsunami

  • A strong earthquake
  • A sudden rise or fall of the ocean tide
  • A loud, roaring sound (like an airplane or a train) coming from the ocean
  • Stay informed by having multiple sources for weather/tsunami alerts such as a NOAA Weather Radio All Hazards and And, sign up for localized alerts from emergency management officials and news outlets.

Take action, respond to the signs or warning of a tsunami

  • Move inland to higher ground, or into a tall building immediately and stay there
  • Stay away from the beach until officials advise it is safe to return.

Be an Example

  • Once you have taken action tell family, friends, and co-workers to do the same through your social media network. Technology today makes it easier than ever to be a good example and share the vision of a Weather-Ready Nation.

"We don't know when the next tsunami will occur, but when it does, our resiliency and ability to respond depends on being prepared before it happens," said Uccellini.