How to Prepare for a Tsunami

Go Bag - Everystockphoto: Photographer Okaggi
Go Bag

California Department of Conservation outlines how to prepare for a Tsunami.

Education and preparation are the best ways to avoid injury and increase your chances for survival. Whether you live, work, or visit in California, it is important to be aware that the coastal region​ is vulnerable to tsunamis. Tsunamis can be generated locally or come across the ocean great distances.

California’s large active offshore faults and unstable submarine slopes can cause tsunami activity along the coast. Strong ground shaking from an earthquake is the natural warning that a tsunami might be coming. If you are on the beach or in a harbor and feel an earthquake, immediately move inland or go to high ground. If strong shaking lasts for 20 seconds or more, everyone within the tsunami evacuation area should evacuate as soon as it is safe to do so.

Have a “Go bag” ready, in the event you have to evacuate.

Other natural warnings include seeing the ocean quickly recede to expose the ocean bottom, or hearing an unusually loud roar coming from the ocean. A tsunami can arrive within minutes and may last for several hours.

For tsunamis coming from across the ocean, local communities use a variety of communication methods to broadcast emergency information. Be informed on what signals, sirens, and public services will be employed for your area. Practice tsunami evacuation drills.

Know whether you are in a potential tsunami zone by observing street signs or looking online to see if you are in a zone. Know the evacuation routes for your area. Contact your local city and/or county government to see what the evacuation plan is for your area and where you will be expected to evacuate to. Have a “Go bag” ready, in the event you have to evacuate. Do not return to the evacuated zone until officials tell you it is safe to do so. The first tsunami is not always the largest, and tsunami waves, flooding and strong currents can last for several hours.

For more information about tsunami preparedness go to