The devastating tsunami that hit Western Pacific Islands, including American Samoa earlier this week, killing at least 168 people, has brought the issue of preparedness and survival into focus once again.
A tsunami is a series of water waves caused by the displacement of a large volume of water such as an ocean. It typically follows an underwater earthquake and can have a devastating impact on lives and property along coastal regions.
Since the West Coast of the U.S. and Hawaii are in danger of a tsunami, residents should know the warning signs and procedures to follow to reduce the risk of losing their lives.
According to Preparedness.com, a rapid rise or fall in coastal waters is a possible sign of an approaching tsunami. When a warning is issued, residents should move immediately to higher ground and stay there until it is safe to return.
Experts also warn against going to the beach to watch a tsunami come in as the waves are faster than humans can run. "If you can see the wave you are too close to escape it," the website says.
Those living in areas prone to natural disasters should maintain an emergency kit which includes a supply of food and drinking water, basic medicines and a battery-operated radio.