CHENNAI: On December 24, 2004, a massive earthquake in Indonesia triggered tidal waves, resulting in a tsunami in Tamil Nadu and Puducherry. The devastation claimed more than 7,000 lives. Fourteen years on, the state government is keen on not letting another tsunami ravage people’s lives.
Following recent earthquakes off the coast of Indonesia, the state government has called for tsunami drills in coastal districts to ensure people are prepared for a quick evacuation and trained to help in rescue operations.
Kadalur village was one of the locations chosen in Kancheepuram District for a tsunami drill on Wednesday. Around 100 rescue personnel from the Revenue, Health, Police, and Fire and Rescue Department conducted evacuation and rescue drills with the cooperation of the villagers.
Express spoke to the rescue personnel to find out what you should do once a tsunami alert is issued for your area, and if you are caught in a tsunami.
Help sound alarm: Technology has enabled us to track a tsunami at least an hour before it reaches the coast. A series of 15 bulletins are issued in that period. Everyone must help raise alarm along with rescue personnel. Only then we can ensure every single person is evacuated to a safe place
Take only essentials: Life is more important than materials. Gather only the essentials from your house such as original IDs, valuables, and certificates. Make sure you leave your house at least half an hour before the tsunami is expected to make landfall.
Help the elderly: The elderly are often left to fend for themselves. Help personnel in carrying them in stretchers to ambulances and buses sent out for rescue operations.
Cling to buildings, coconut trees: Many people who clung to remnants of buildings and coconut trees as the water receded were rescued in the 2004 tsunami. Most people think it’s just the tidal waves that kill. But, the water recedes with a huge force and can take people into the open sea. Grab boat debris or a person with a life jacket if you are thrust into open sea by the receding water.
Rescue is responsibility: Help rescue personnel locate survivors after the tsunami. Venture out to save drifters only if you are a strong swimmer or have a life jacket on.