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Disaster Preparedness

How to Prepare Your Business for a Tsunami

Tsunamis can hit with little warning. If you service an area where tsunamis are possible, follow these steps to ensure that your business is ready to respond safely and effectively — before, during and after the event.

Create an emergency plan for your business. 

The National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health (NIOSH) recommends you come up with an emergency plan for your company before a severe weather event like a tsunami.

  • Create a team that plans for disasters, including employees from multiple departments in your business who can share different perspectives. 
  • Is your company ready to respond to a tsunami? Identify areas where you’re vulnerable.   
  • Develop an emergency plan that you can share with your employees. This should include information like your facility’s emergency management policy, and how to notify first responders if you need their help. 

The Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) also offers step-by-step guidance for creating an emergency response plan.

Get the right personal protective equipment (PPE) for your team ahead of time.

Tsunami floodwaters can generate hazardous conditions. Here’s a look at the different types of PPE you may need as you get to work after a tsunami.  

  • Hard hats
  • Goggles (which create a tight seal on the face) 
  • Safety glasses (which allow air around the eyes)
  • Heavy work gloves
  • Watertight boots with steel toe and insole
  • Hearing protection 

These PPE guidelines are not exhaustive. Reach out to your local Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) office if you have additional questions. 

Understands the hazards you’ll encounter.

Educate your team on the dangers associated with tsunami clean-up. The National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health (NIOSH) lists the various hazards you and your employees may encounter when responding to flood waters and debris. These hazards include:

  • Structural instability. Flood waters can damage or rearrange walkways, including sidewalks, parking lots, roads and buildings. Assume all stairs, floors and roofs are unsafe until inspected. If you encounter shifting or strange noises that indicate a possible collapse, leave immediately. 
  • Mold and fungi. Some fungi and mold can cause health problems when inhaled. Try to avoid breathing particles or dust, or consider using an N-95 mask to lower the risk.  
  • Electrical hazards. Stay safe from electric burns and shocks. Make sure your team is educated on electrical safety and how to avoid an accident.  

This is not an exhaustive checklist. Learn more about flooding response from NIOSH here. 

Read what the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) has to say about tsunami preparations here.

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