In the case of an impending tsunami, warning messages and signals can come from several sources – natural, official or unofficial.
Natural warning signals may be the only warnings possible for local or regional source tsunami. Examples of natural warnings include:
Strong earthquake shaking (i.e. it is hard to stand up)
Weak, rolling earthquake shaking of unusually long duration (i.e. a minute or more)
Out of ordinary sea behaviour, such as unusual and sudden sea level fall or rise
The sea making loud and unusual noises, especially roaring like a jet engine.
When experiencing any of the above go immediately to high ground or, if the surrounding area is flat, go as far inland as possible, evacuating all coastal areas or, where present, all evacuation zones.
The first wave may arrive within minutes. Once away from the water, listen to a local radio or television stationfor information from local civil defence about further action you should take.
Even if you do not feel shaking, if you learn that an area has experienced a large earthquake that could send a tsunami in your direction, listen to a local radio or television station for information from the local civil defence about action you should take. Depending on the location of the earthquake, you may have a number of hours in which to take appropriate action.
An official warning from Civil Defence Emergency Management may be given through radio or television broadcasts and emergency services.
Warning may also be through siren, telephone, text, loud hailer or other local arrangements.
You may receive warnings from one, or several sources. Respond to the first source; do not wait for more messages before you act.
Official warnings may also vary locally. If in doubt check your local Tsunami Community Action Plan - if there isn't one developed for your area yet contact your local civil defence office.
If you have any questions or would like to learn more contact your local civil defence office.
Tsunami brochure (406kb PDF)
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