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Tsunami Preparedness

While fires and earthquakes are common occurrences in America, tsunamis are not. But that doesn’t mean we’re without risk.

Like the unexpected tsunami that devastated Southeast Asia in 2004, the coastal United States could experience a tsunami in the future.

To keep you prepared for disasters of all kinds, Allied Universal has compiled the following information aimed at helping you stay informed about issues of life safety.


When an earthquake has occurred in the Pacific Basin, a tsunami may be generated. In this case, the West Coast/Alaska Tsunami Warning Center and Pacific Tsunami Warning Center will issue hourly bulletins advising of the situation. However, in the event of a tsunami, it’s in your best interest to be familiar with the warning signs:

•    A strong earthquake may generate a tsunami. Seismic activity is often the only warning sign before a tsunami.

•    A noticeable rapid fall or rise in coastal waters is also a sign that a tsunami is approaching.

•    Tsunamis most frequently come on shore as a rapidly rising turbulent surge of water choked with debris.

•    Tsunamis may be locally generated or from a distant source. You may not feel the earthquake.

If a tsunami has been generated and a TSUNAMI WATCH issued, the tsunami is at least two hours away from impacting the area in watch status. Still, preparation for the event should begin immediately.

•    Notify all employees and visitors within the facility via public address system, intercom, person-to-person, etc., to prepare to evacuate inland (to higher ground) to designated tsunami safe refuge evacuation areas.

•    Monitor NOAA weather radio/commercial radio or TV for information.

•    Gather your disaster supplies and be ready to evacuate.

•    Secure office in anticipation of evacuation and tsunami flooding effects.

•    Prepare to evacuate using designated evacuation routes.

In the event of a TSUNAMI WARNING, individuals in the warned area are advised to react immediately. If you are in a tsunami risk area, do the following:

•    Evacuate at once. A tsunami warning is issued when authorities are certain that a tsunami threat exists, and there may be little time to get out.

•    Take your disaster supplies kit. Having supplies will make you more comfortable during the evacuation.

•    Get to higher ground as far inland as possible. Officials cannot reliably predict either the height or local effects of tsunamis. Watching a tsunami from the beach or cliffs could put you in grave danger. If you can see the wave, you are too close to escape it.

After the tsunami:

•    Return only after local officials tell you it is safe. A tsunami is a series of waves that may continue for a few hours. Do not assume that after one wave, the danger is over. The next wave may be larger than the first one.

•    Stay out of buildings if water remains – the structure may be unsafe, and the water may be electrified or contaminated.

•    During reentry, use extreme caution and look for fire hazards like broken gas lines, flooded electrical circuits, etc. Fire is the most frequent hazard after floods.

For more information on tsunamis and to find out if you’re in a tsunami risk area, contact your local fire department.

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