A small tsunami at one beach can be a giant wave a few miles away. Do not let the small size of one wave make you forget how dangerous tsunami are. The next wave could be bigger. Get away from the shoreline right away. When you see a tsunami, it is too late to escape. And stay away until you hear the "all clear" from officials. A tsunami is a series of waves, not a single wave, and the danger may not be over when you think it is.
A family needs to plan for what might happen. You should sit down with your family and talk about:
What you should do to prepare (like creating your family disaster kit)
What to do if you are asked to evacuate (which means to leave your home)
You should talk to your family about:
Where to meet away from your home (like a neighbor's house or the corner of the street);
Where to meet outside your neighborhood if you must evacuate. You should pick a friend or relative's house;
Where to call to "check in" if you become separated from your family during a disaster. You should memorize the phone number of a favorite aunt or family member who lives in another state. You would call there to report where you are so your family can find you. You can also talk with your whole neighborhood about disaster plans. Find out if someone in your neighborhood has a special skill -- like being a doctor.
It's also a good idea to take a first aid class so you will be prepared to help others.
The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration has a system of buoys that are called the Tsunami Real-time Reporting System. There will be six of these tsunami detection systems placed around the Pacific Rim. Four will be located off the coast of Alaska. One is off the coast of Washington State, and one will be put off the coast of South America. The sensing devices on these buoys contain pressure sensors for determining a wave's size by gauging the weight of the water column passing over it. This information is relayed to the surface buoy and then to a satellite by modems. The satellite then beams the information to the two Tsunami Warning Centers in Alaska and Hawaii.
Photos courtesy of NOAA.
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