What to Do in the Event of a Tsunami

Tsunamis are a series of waves following seismic events. Tsunamis are threats to any coastal region. From the area where the tsunami originates, waves travel outward in all directions. Once the wave approaches the shore, it builds in height, so it is important to know how to recognize it and what to do. Be aware of a sudden outgoing tide and extremely strong currents, especially if an earthquake or undersea landslide has occurred.


Review your five steps on your Pathways to Preparedness.

If you live beachside, know the height of your street above sea level and the distance from the coast to ensure you are outside of the 300ft tsunami evacuation zone.


Evacuate the beaches to the west side of the dune line, approximately 300ft.

Vertical evacuation to the highest floor (at least 15ft high) of a well-constructed building is also an option.

Save yourself, not your possessions.

Remember to help your neighbors, who may require special assistance.


Stay away from the beach, and debris in the water or along the shoreline.

Continue using a NOAA weather radio, local radio, television, or social media for updates.

Avoid marinas, inlets, coves, and other bodies of water connected to the ocean due to fast moving underwater currents.

Terms to Know

Tsunami Watch
Be prepared to act; threat not yet known
Tsunami Advisory
Stay out of the water, and away from beaches and waterways; strong currents and waves may be present and dangerous to those in or very near the water.
Tsunami Warning
Move to high ground or inland! Dangerous coastal flooding and powerful currents likely.

Quick Facts

Earthquakes in the following areas could cause a Florida tsunami:

  • The Puerto Rico Trench – this is the boundary between Caribbean, North American, and South American tectonic plates. Since 1848 eight tsunamis have originated here, causing over 2,500 deaths. The 1918 tsunami from a magnitude 7.5 earthquake killed 116 in Puerto Rico.
  • Cumbre Vieja Volcano in the Canary Islands – here there is a potential for an undersea landslide creating and Atlantic Ocean-wide tsunami ( a.k.a. tele-tsunami)
  • Azores-Gibraltar Fracture Zone – here there is the potential for earthquakes, causing Atlantic tele-tsunamis. The 1755 earthquake devastated Lisbon, Portugal, and generated only known Atlantic tele-tsunami

  • Not every earthquake will generate a tsunami.
  • The DART Buoy Deployment and worldwide seismic monitoring are being utilized to detect tsunamis.
  • Indian Harbour Beach is a TsunamiReady community!

Potential Impacts

On rare occasions, tsunamis can affect the Florida east coast with wave heights above 3ft (possibly 15ft in isolated areas during the most significant events), along with very strong and dangerous currents. Though rare, it is important to know the signs and be able to react quickly in the event a tsunami may impact our area.

Historic Events

While tsunamis are a known hazard risk in Brevard, no tsunami has ever occurred in the County.

Information on Dealing with These Hazards