HONOLULU (KHON2) — The most important thing that you need to do to be prepared for a tsunami is be prepared ahead of time. This is because a tsunami can occur in Hawaii with little to no warning time.

Get Hawaii’s latest morning news delivered to your inbox, sign up for News 2 You

We may have several hours of warning time if a tsunami is caused by an earthquake far away from Hawaii, such as  the western coast of South America or Canada, but if a strong, local earthquake occurs, the warning time will be significantly reduced. As a matter of fact, you may have only minutes or even seconds to take action to save your life. If that happens, you need to already know what you are going to do.

Have a plan for what you and your family must do whether it is to stay in place, get to higher ground or go to a reinforced concrete building. Also remember that tsunami may have more than one wave, so after the first wave impacts your area, wait until the all-clear is given before you resume normal activities.

Dr. Stuart Weinstein joined Wake Up 2Day for a live interview to explain what you should know and how they alert the public about tsunamis.

Here are the Hawaii Emergency Management Agency recommended actions:

Before a Tsunami Event

  • -If there is a tsunami warning, evacuate your house or place of work for higher ground if you are in a tsunami evacuation zone.
  • -If you are near the ocean and you feel the earth shake, move immediately to higher ground.
  • -If you are unable to quickly leave the tsunami evacuation zone, find a Structural steel or reinforced concrete buildings of ten or more stories and go to the fourth floor or higher; this is called vertical evacuation.
  • -Know where your county’s Safe Zones or Refuge Centers are located. This is where people who have evacuated coastal areas can safely stay during a tsunami.

After a Tsunami Event

  • -Tsunamis often come in multiple waves over a period of hours. Resist the temptation to watch the waves, especially if the water seems to draw back, exposing the ocean floor.
  • -Return home only after authorities say it is safe to do so. Not only could there be hazards and debris in certain areas, but roads may still need to be clear for rescue and recovery efforts.
  • -Help injured or trapped persons. Give first aid where appropriate – but only when the surroundings are safe.

To get more information on tsunamis, you can visit the Hawaii Emergency Management Agency website at: https://dod.hawaii.gov/hiema/