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What is a Tsunami

A tsunami is a wave generated by the displacement of a large body of water.  This displacement may be caused by:

  • vertical movement of the sea floor as the result of a large earthquake
  • submarine or coastal volcanic eruptions
  • coastal landslides and slumps, whether land-based or submarine
  • meteor impacts 

The SES works closely with Tasmania Police and the Bureau of Meteorology to ensure that  plans are in place and warnings provided to communities if required.

Before a Tsunami

  • If you live on or regularly visit the coast, get to know the tsunami history and the flood prone areas of your community.
  • know the nearest high ground and the safest route to it.
  • keep your family emergency kit up to date and know where it is.
  • Take notice of the natural warnings of an impending tsunami - earthquake, rumbling or sudden changes in the behaviour of coastal seas can all be signs of an approaching tsunami.

When a Tsunami Warning is Issued

  • Monitor local TV and radio closely.
  • Follow the instructions of emergency services and local officials - some areas may be warned via loud hailer or mobile public address system.
  • Be aware a tsunami is a series of wavers - there may be more than one wave and the first may not be the largest.  Wait for the all clear before returning to your home.
  • If you cannot reach high ground, shelter in the upper floor of the closest sturdy building and stay there until advised that it is safe to leave.
  • NEVER go onto the beach, a breakwater, estuary or harbour to watch a tsunami.  Stay away from the water's edge.  A tsunami can move faster than people can run.  
  • If you are on a ship or boat at sea, move to deep water.  Do not return to port until advised it is safe to do so. Damaging wave activity and unpredictable currents can affect harbours for a period of time after the initial tsunami impact.  If you are on a ship or boat in shallow water close to shore and there is sufficient time, return to land and secure your boat before seeking high ground.
  • NEVER return to low lying areas unless you have been told it is safe to do so by emergency services or public officials.

Further information is available from:

Joint Australian Tsunami Warning Centre Link to External Site

Emergency Management for Schools Link to External Site