Do yourself and your loved ones a favor, sign up for instant tsunami warnings from the National Oceanographic and Atmospheric Administration West Coast and Alaska Tsunami Warning Center (NOAA). In the time it took you to read that sentence, an earthquake could have produced a life-threatening tsunami that could put you and your family at risk.
The devastating effects of the earthquake and tsunami that overwhelmed parts of Japan last year have gone on the record books as one of the world’s worst disasters. And while we can’t always foresee when and where this type of disaster will strike, there are steps we can take to prepare ourselves and our family should one be headed our way. Since April has been designated Tsunami Awareness Month in Hawaii, now is a good time to prepare.
Ways to prepare
- Notification:Sign up for NOAA E-mail or SMS text messages. Be sure to select West Coast and Alaska as your area if you reside in Hawaii: https://public.govdelivery.com/accounts/USNWS/subscriber/new/.
- Education:Learn about earthquakes and tsunamis: http://www.tsunamiready.noaa.gov/.
- Information:Find out if you live in a tsunami zone, what a tsunami is, and what the warning messages mean: http://ptwc.weather.gov/ptwc/hawaii.php.
- Special Events:Attend this month’s special events “…to raise public awareness about the dangers of tsunamis,” hosted by The National Weather Service and state Civil Defense. A list of events can be found at http://www.khnl.com (HawaiiNewsNow).
- Emergency Supplies: Have basic emergency supplies on hand and make a plan: http://72hours.org/build_kit.
- Communicate:Let others know your plan and where you will go in an emergency. Share contact information (cell phone numbers, addresses of relatives, who to contact if you cannot be located, etc.).
- Practice Drills:Have periodic practice sessions with your family so everyone knows what to do. This can eliminate confusion and panic during a real emergency.
With thoughtful preparation and planning, you can take steps now to ensure a safer outcome for your loved ones should the unthinkable happen. Don’t wait until it's too late.