Do you know what to do if there is a tsunami?

Do you know which siren warning is for real or just a test? Do you know the evacuation route for where you work or live? Do you know how you'll meet up with your loved ones if a tsunami occurs when your child is in school and the spouse is at her place of work across town? Do you know where you will get clean drinking water and enough food to eat if power and utility lines to your home are broken?

While an unpleasant thought, thinking about these matters is vital. Yes, the odds are against a major tsunami rivaling those of years past, which left foot-high deposits across what is now Crescent City. But more tsunamis will come, including big ones that will make the 1964 Good Friday waves look like a pleasant hike through the Redwoods. It's a simple fact of geology.

Across the Midwest, people plan for the devastation that a tornado may cause. In Florida, they ready themselves for hurricanes. In Crescent City, we have to be ready for a tsunami.

State emergency officials often hold up Crescent City and Del Norte County as a jewel in the preparedness crown. What they fail to say is that while city, county and harbor officials have solid plans for dealing with a tsunami, most local residents don't.

Indeed, there was confusion the afternoon of Nov. 15 about whether people should evacuate following the 2 p.m. strike. Others drove to the harbor to gawk.

Further, the failure of any resident to not have plans in place or an understanding of how to react following a tsunami warning only will hinder the ability of government and emergency personnel to deal with the aftermath. The more people that must be rescued, that must be treated for injuries, that must be fed and provided water, only magnifies the horrendous task that emergency workers will have to face.

We urge all residents and businesses to become familiar with the steps that must be taken once a tsunami warning is given. We encourage all residents to develop a plan for evacuating and reconnecting with their loved ones. We recommend stocking an emergency kit that can be used to stay alive should a tsunami or earthquake strike.

In doing so, the person whose life you save may not just be your own but your wife, husband or child. Certainly they are worth the time that a little planning now may require.