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It may take hours for tsunami waves to reach the Coast of Maui County following an earthquake far out in the Pacific Ocean. The Pacific Tsunami Warning Center located on Oahu alerts local officials who may order evacuation. Some isolated areas may not receive official announcements. If you notice a sudden drop or rise in sea level, it may be a warning of impending danger. Move to high ground or inland immediately.
The waves can kill and injure people and cause great property damage where they come ashore. The first wave is often not the largest and may be spaced many miles and minutes apart. They may also continue to arrive for several hours.
The most destructive tsunami can be classified as local or regional, meaning their destructive effects are confined to coasts within 60 - 600 miles of the source -- usually an earthquake. It follows that the majority of tsunami related casualties and property damage also come from local tsunami. Between 1975 and 1998 there have been at least eighteen in the Pacific and its adjacent seas resulting in significant casualties and/or property damage
During distant source tsunami events, local Civil Defense officials will advise citizens to evacuate by sounding the Civil Defense sirens, making an announcement over the Emergency Alert System (EAS) or over NOAA Weather Radio or local radio broadcasts. Compliance is voluntary, but orders are given only in the most serious of circumstances.
Shelters will be opened as needed. Listen to your radio for details. Pets are NOT allowed at emergency shelters so please plan ahead for their safety.
* Do not return to shore after the first wave. Wait for Emergency Management officials to give the "All Clear" before you return.
* If you see an unexpected rise or fall in the coastal water, a tsunami may be approaching. Do not wait - instead move inland or uphill as quickly as possible.
* Stay tuned to your radio, marine radio or NOAA Weather Radio during a disaster. Bulletins will be issued regularly through local Emergency Management officials and National Weather Service.
* Call 9-1-1 only for life threatening emergencies.
* As soon as the shaking is over, move to high ground or inland. Do not wait for an official warning.
* Stay away from the coast. Waves may continue to arrive for hours.
* Listen to your local radio station for an official "All Clear" notice before returning to the coastal area. * Be alert for aftershocks.
* Be familiar with local Emergency Management earthquake and tsunami plans. Know where to go to survive a tsunami.
* Be prepared to survive on your own for a minimum of three days.
* Prepare a disaster supply kit for your home, automobile and work. A list of recommended supplies for your kit can be found on this web site.
* Take a first aid course and learn survival skills. Knowledge is your greatest defense against potential disaster.