Safety Rules The Caribbean and its adjacent regions are at risk to tsunamis. If you live in a coastal area, be prepared and know the natural tsunami warning signs. All earthquakes do not cause tsunamis, but many do. Therefore, an earthquake can be a natural tsunami warning sign. When you know that an earthquake has occurred, stand by for a tsunami alert message and be extremely vigilant of your external environment if you are at or near the coastline. A tsunami is not a single wave, but a series of waves carrying a massive volume of water that can flood and inundate land for hours. The first wave may not be the largest. Stay out of danger areas until an "all-clear" is issued by a recognized authority. A small tsunami at one point along the shore can be extremely large a few kilometers away. Don’t let the modest size of one make you lose respect for all. All warnings to the public must be taken very seriously, even if some are for non-destructive events. The tsunami of May, 1960 killed 61 people in Hilo, Hawaii because some thought it was just another false alarm. All tsunamis are potentially dangerous, even though they may not damage every coastline they strike. When you can see the wave, you are too close to outrun it. Most tsunamis are like flash floods full of debris such as trees, cars and boats which can cause injury so stay out of the water, even after the tsunami has occurred. During a tsunami emergency, your national disaster management offices, local civil defence, police, and other emergency organizations will try to save your life. Give them your fullest cooperation. Tsunamis often leave behind stagnant water which contains dangerous debris. American Samoa, September 2009. Photo: Gordon Yamasaki.