iStock_000000047723XSmallMarch 24-30, 2013, is National Tsunami Awareness Week. The world had a wakeup call from Mother Nature after the devastating 8.9 magnitude earthquake and resulting tsunami hit Japan in March of 2011 — destroying more than nearly 1 million buildings, claiming more than 15,000 lives plus causing meltdowns at three reactors in the Fukushima Daiichi Nuclear Power Plant. At a price tag of $235 billion, this tsunami was the costliest natural disaster in world history.

However, one minute before the earthquake was felt in Tokyo, the Japan Meteorological Agency (JMA) sent out a warning message to millions of citizens which may saved many lives. The tragic events demonstrated that it’s important to know ahead of time what to do and where to go in the event of a tsunami.

How to prepare:

– Invest in a NOAA-certified weather radio. This type of radio will provide real-time alerts for possible tsunamis as well as other natural disasters even if the radio is not already on.

– Prepare an emergency kit.

– Plan where you would evacuate to and the route you would use. You should choose a place that is at least 100 feet above sea level or at least two miles inland, and that can be reached on foot within 10 minutes. Some coastal regions will have designated tsunami evacuation routes.

– Ensure your Emergency Preparedness and Business Continuity plans are updated and tested for your employees, vendors, clients and other essential parties within your organization.

Warning signs:

– Earthquakes cause tsunamis. If you know an earthquake has occurred, be prepared for a tsunami warning.

– If you are in a low-lying coastal area and you feel an earthquake, immediately move inland to higher ground.

– If you notice a rapid fall in sea level and the seafloor is suddenly exposed, immediately move to higher ground.

– If the epicenter of the earthquake is close to the coast, as with today’s earthquake in Japan, there may be only a few minutes before the tsunami hits, and there may or may not be time for authorities to warn the population.

– If there’s not time to reach a safer inland area, get as high as you can in a sturdy building.

– Remember that a tsunami is a series of waves rather than one wave, and that the first one may not be the largest. You should stay inland until authorities issue the all-clear.

You can also read about the “do”s and “don’t”s of earthquake safety here.

If your organization needs help in training or best practices in preparing for natural disasters, contact us at or give us a call at 404.662.2950. Be sure to follow Preparis on Facebook and Twitter to learn more on how your business can prevent the threat of a tsunami.

Marketing Manager