How Can a Tsunami Be Prevented?

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No known way to prevent a tsunami from occurring exists. Individuals can take steps to be prepared for a tsunami, and warning systems can help get people out of harm’s way if an impending tsunami is predicted.

A warning system that monitors the Pacific Basin for activity that can set off a tsunami is already in place, according to the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Association. The system is operated via two centers — one in Alaska and another in Hawaii.

If activity that suggests a tsunami is forming is detected, NOAA issues a warning for coastal communities where there is a potential for impact.

NOAA and other similar agencies work diligently to establish effective warning systems and educational programs designed to alert people to the impending occurrence of tsunamis far enough in advance that communities are given adequate time to evacuate danger zones. One example is NOAA’s Tsunami Warning System, which monitors the Pacific Basin for potential tsunami activity. Between its two centers in Alaska and Hawaii, NOAA is able to serve the areas of Alaska, British Columbia, Washington, Oregon, California, Hawaii and surrounding international locations that may be affected by any seismic activity connected to the Pacific Basin. NOAA states it has been working since 2004 to expand the outreach of its data expedition to include warning services to the Atlantic Oceans and the Caribbean Sea. NOAA also has an educational outreach program called the Hazard Education and Awareness Tool, which informs citizens in threatened areas of how to be prepared in the event of a tsunami.