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[whitespace] Doing The Wave

How to keep your head above water

By Andrea Perkins

  • Heed natural warnings. An earthquake that lasts at least 20 seconds, or a rapid fall or rise in coastal waters, may serve as a warning that a tsunami is on its way.

  • Heed official warnings, even if they seem ambiguous or the danger seems to have passed. Warnings sounded five hours before the 1960 tsunami hit Hilo, Hawaii, but not all people took them seriously and some died as a result.

  • Expect many waves. The next wave may be bigger and the tsunamis may last for hours.

  • Head for high ground and stay there. Move uphill or at least inland, away from the coast.

  • Abandon belongings. Save your life, not your possessions.

  • Don't count on the roads. If a tsunami is caused by a nearby earthquake, roads may be broken or blocked as a result of the ground shaking.

  • If trapped and unable to reach higher ground, go to an upper story of a sturdy building or get on its roof.

  • As a last resort, climb a strong tree if unable to get to high ground.

  • If a tree can't be found, find something to use as a raft.

    For more information on how to prepare for a tsunami, visit: http://www.co.santa-cruz.ca.us/gsd/emergsrv/newtsunami.html

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  • From the July 20-26, 2000 issue of Metro, Silicon Valley's Weekly Newspaper.

    Copyright © 2000 Metro Publishing Inc. Metroactive is affiliated with the Boulevards Network.

    For more information about the San Jose/Silicon Valley area, visit sanjose.com.