San José, Costa Rica, since 1956

How to save yourself from a tsunami

Tsunamis are inevitable and technology alone won’t save lives, the Central American Seismological Center warns.

People who live in coastal regions should learn to recognize the signs of a potential disaster and know what to do. Deaths have been averted in the past by alert people who noticed the signs and moved to safety. Because most killer waves are caused by earthquakes, ground movement is one of the warning signs of a giant wave. Also, the incoming wave is preceded by a drastic decline in the water level – the sea will recede, as survivors of the Asian waves reported.

IF you are on the coast and feel a large earthquake, it is possible a tidal wave will strike in the following few minutes.

The seismological center offers the following advice to avert injury or death:

1. Cover yourself and stay protected during the earthquake.

2. If authorities warn or you have reason to believe a tsunami is imminent,climb to higher ground or higher floors, at least 30 meters above sea level. If there is no higher ground available, a forest could offer protection.

3. If you see the sea recede, put as much distance and height between yourself and the waterline as possible.

4. Tsunamis can penetrate inland along rivers up to several kilometers, so stay away from rivers when trying to escape a tsunami.

5. Don’t return to the potentially threatened areas until authorities indicate the danger has passed.

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