How to Create a Tsunami Emergency Plan for Your Family

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When it comes to tsunami safety, preparedness is everything. Knowing what to grab, where to go, and how to get in touch with everyone is key to making sure you and your family are prepared for a tsunami.

For this month’s post, we’ll go over what you need to prepare your own tsunami emergency plan. We’ll outline the steps you need to take in order for you and your family to be safe when the big one comes.


Family Communication Plan

During a tsunami, madness will ensue and communication will be difficult. Make sure you are prepared and able to contact the people and places you need to.

Likely, you will not have cell service, the power will be out, and computers and landlines will not work.

Don’t assume anything.

Information Card

In case of your phone breaking and not being able to access contact info, collect key contact information for your family. This includes:

  • Cell phone numbers
  • Email addresses
  • Addresses of workplaces and schools
  • Phone numbers for work and schools

In addition, find contact information for:

  • Hospitals and other medical providers
  • Local authorities
  • A non-local family contact

After collecting and verifying the information, create laminated copies of this info for all of your family members. We recommend printing this info on a wallet-sized card so all family members can have it on them at all times.

You never know when a tsunami could hit!


Build a Tsunami Emergency Kit

Building a tsunami emergency kit could mean the difference between life and death. Ideally, you will have two different kits: one for your home and another for your car. The kit should be designed to have everything you and your family need in the event of a tsunami.

Below, we’ve put everything that should be included in a tsunami survival kit.

Tsunami Survival Kit


  • Water: one-gallon per-person
  • Water filter
  • Food: three-day supply for each person
  • Battery or crank-powered radio
  • Flashlight with extra batteries
  • First aid kit
  • Whistle
  • Cash
  • Spare glasses (if needed)

Hygiene and Sanitation Items:

  • Toothbrush and toothpaste
  • Hand sanitizer
  • Moist towelettes
  • Toilet paper
  • Medication, prescription or otherwise

Clothing and Shelter:

  • Rain jacket or coat
  • Long pants
  • Long sleeve shirt
  • Boots or sturdy shoes
  • Gloves
  • Wool socks
  • Sleeping bag or warm blanket
  • Tent

Survival Items:

  • Duct tape
  • Tarp
  • Signal flare
  • First aid book
  • Compass
  • Matches


A RescuePod

While in an ideal situation you will be able to reach higher ground before the tsunami surge, this is not always possible. For those situations, nothing will keep you safer than a RescuePod by Reliable Emergency Shelters.

RescuePods are buoyant tsunami survival capsules that give you a chance if you can’t get to higher ground. Tested to withstand a tsunami surge and the debris carried with it, RescuePods will keep you buoyant in its high-strength molded HDPE core & high visibility color.

Each pod includes:

  • Space for two people with safety harnesses and seats
  • Emergency rations (3 days of food and water for two people)
  • Rescue beacon
  • Rescue tether


Develop a Day-of Plan

You don’t want to have to figure out a plan as the tsunami’s wave is charging at the shore. Figure out a plan for what you and your family are going to do on the day it comes. It could save your life.

Same things to consider:


The only warning you may receive when a local tsunami is coming, even if you live in a tsunami evacuation zone, is the earthquake causing it. For distant tsunamis (tsunamis caused by an earthquake thousands of miles away), you will be alerted via your phone or a siren blast.


Assign responsibilities to every family member. Ideally, everyone should know what to do once the earthquake is felt or siren is heard.

Responsibilities to Assign:

  • Grabbing the emergency kit
  • Accounting for each family member
  • Turning off gas

Don’t waste precious time figuring out responsibilities while you could be evacuating to higher ground.

Family Meeting Place

Decide on a place to meet outside your home. Determining this beforehand will save time and let you quickly account for everyone’s safety. Pick a spot away from trees or power lines. After the earthquake, both may be knocked down and dangerous.

Know Where You Are

Are you over 100 feet above sea level? Do you live right on the beach? Are you a mile from the coast but live on a river? All of these questions matter when evaluating whether you are in a floodplain. Make sure to take stock of your surroundings so you know how urgently you will need to leave.

Most states provide maps of evacuation routes in coastal communities. These maps not only will let you know where you are on an evacuation route but give you an idea of how intensely your property will flood. Below, we’ve listed some maps for different states and regions in tsunami risk areas.

Determine Your Evacuation Route

Once consulting the state-provided evacuation routes, determine exactly how you’ll be evacuating on the day of the tsunami. Travel the route with your family so it will be familiar in the event of a tsunami.

Prepare for Work, School, and Family Outings

There is a good chance you and your family will not be home during a tsunami. Whether it be school, work, or a family outing, you may not be able to use your tsunami emergency plan.

If at work or school, adhere to the evacuation plan of your office or school. There will not be enough time to meet up beforehand. Once possible, try to contact each other to ensure safety,

If out with your family, decide in advance a place to meet, such as back at the car, that will be available all times you are out.


Have a Family Meeting to Discuss Your Plan

Have a family meeting to discuss your tsunami emergency plan with your family. Here, you should go over everyone’s responsibilities, where you will meet, and what to do while an earthquake is happening. Remind your children to listen to their teachers if they are at school.

Talking with children about tsunami planning can be difficult, but it is important they are prepared for when the time comes.

Some tips for talking with your children about tsunamis:

  • Educate your child on tsunamis
  • Plan an educational beach day
  • Make planning and tsunami education a game
  • Create your emergency kit together
  • Teach your plan visually
  • Teach them how to operate a RescuePod

Make sure to remind your children every six months, going over what to do when the big one comes.


Put Yourself in the Best Situation to Survive

A RescuePod from Reliable Emergency Shelters will give you the best shot when there are no other options. No tsunami survival plan is complete without one.

Contact us today and give yourself the best chance at survival.