Talking with your kids about preparing for a tsunami can be difficult. You don’t want your children to live in fear, but understanding the gravity of a tsunami is important for their safety.
The key is to keep your tsunami conversations age appropriate. Avoid unnecessary details, and do your best to make the information interesting and fun.
We’ve compiled some great tips and resources to help you with this process. Keep reading and make sure your children understand how to identify, respond, and stay safe during a tsunami emergency.
Educate Your Child on Tsunamis
Provide your children with a basic tsunami overview. This is a great place to start whether your kids have grown up around the ocean or you’ve just recently moved near the water.
Help your child understand how rare a tsunami is while stressing the importance of always being prepared, just in case. Aim to answer the following questions:
- What is a tsunami?
- Why does a tsunami occur?
- What are the warnings signs of a tsunami?
There are endless ways you can approach these topics. Don’t be afraid to get creative! Here are a few of our favorite ideas.
Plan An Educational Beach Day
Pack a picnic, some water toys, and take the entire family to the beach. Carve out time during your day to gather your family and talk about tsunamis. Point out tsunami alarms and evacuation routes. Explain how the water will act and look during a tsunami.
The beach is a great place to teach your kids to use their senses to detect an approaching tsunami. Explain how a tsunami might be approaching if they:
- Feel an earthquake
- See the ocean receding away or rushing toward the shore
- Hear an unusual noise from out in the ocean and/or the tsunami alarm
Make sure your child understands normal ocean activity, as well. For instance, a large wave crashing on the shore doesn’t mean a tsunami is on the way.
Make it A Game
Turn the tsunami learning experience into a game. Teach your kids the basics by incorporating puzzles, toys, coloring books, or trivia into the learning process.
If your kids are up for it, test their knowledge with a quiz and offer fun prizes in exchange for the right answers.
Take Advantage of Free Resources
There are many great resources available to help educate your children on tsunamis.
- FEMA published a Tsunami Fact Sheet, created just for kids.
- YouTube has lots of educational videos
- A fun Tsunami Trivia sheet from NOAA
Include Interesting Tsunami Facts!
Below are some facts about tsunamis. This information may come in handy when teaching your child about this natural phenomenon:
- The word “tsunami” is Japanese. It means “harbor wave”
- A tsunami is caused by an underwater earthquake, volcano, or landslide
- A tsunami can travel at a speed of 500 miles per hour– almost as fast as a jet plane
- Scientists can calculate the time when a tsunami will arrive almost anywhere around the world
Create an Emergency Kit Together
Now that your child has a good understanding of what tsunamis are, ask for their help in creating a tsunami emergency kit. This can be a fun activity if you go about it correctly. Here’s a three step process to get you started:
Ask your children what they think should be included in your tsunami emergency kit. Grab a sheet of paper and write down their answers. You probably won’t include every one of their ideas. The goal is to get them interested in involved in the process.
Now that you’ve created your emergency kit list, send your kids on a scavenger hunt around the house to find the supplies. Consider offering prizes for finding a certain number of items.
Once you have all your supplies, pack them in a dedicated backpack or multiple backpacks. Store your pack in a secure but easy to access area. Show your children where the kit is stored and how to reach it in a tsunami emergency.
Present Your Family Emergency Plan Visually
An emergency plan is the most important part of your tsunami preparedness education. Your tsunami emergency plan should outline the following information:
- What to do during an earthquake (which may precede a tsunami)
- How to communicate with each other if you’re separated
- Specific escape routes to take and the process for getting into your RescuePod
- Where to meet if separated
Use visual aids and hands-on learning to explain your emergency plan.
For example, demonstrate how to respond during an earthquake. Have your children draw your escape routes and practice dialing emergency numbers. Show your children the exact spots you should meet if ever separated.
Make sure your kids understand what to do no matter where they are when disaster strikes. Some locations to plan for include:
- House of a friend or relative
Try not to overwhelm your child with too much information at one time. Instead, build upon their emergency plan knowledge slowly and consistently. Check in with them on a regular basis to make sure they still understand and remember what processes to take in a tsunami emergency.
Teach Your Kids How to Operate A RescuePod
If your family has a Reliable Emergency Shelters RescuePod, make sure everyone knows how to use it, including how to:
- Open and close the RescuePod: Demonstrate how to take off the sunbrella cover, open the hatch, climb down through the top of the pod, and close the hatch.
- Strap on the harness: Have your children practice getting into the safety seats and buckling into the harness.
- Find emergency supplies: Show your kids where the the pod’s personal locator beacon and food and water rations are located.
Practice using the RescuePod multiple times so your family knows this process inside and out. Additionally, make sure your children not only understand how to use the pod but when to use it.
With enough warning time and the ability to evacuate to higher ground, there’s no need to use your pod. However, RescuePods are your family’s best chance for survival when there’s no other option.
Keep Your Family Safe
On the coast, you never know when a tsunami disaster will strike. Even though a tsunami isn’t an everyday occurrence, ensure your family is prepared for the worst by educating your children from a young age. Review your emergency plan on a regular basis and make sure your kids know how to handle themselves in an emergency situation.
When you only have a few minutes to save your family, you can count on the RescuePod. The RescuePod is 100% buoyant, has a high tensile strength, and will always stay upright in rough seas.