Tuesday, March 15, 2011

How to Survive an Earthquake if You're in the Swimming Pool

My sympathy to the victims of the recent Japan earthquake that triggered a devastating tsunami...

Japan has helped many countries that experienced disasters including the U.S. after Hurricane Katrina, now it's time to return the favor. You can donate for Japan and help the victims especially the children experiencing the tough situations.

Upon browsing the web news about the earthquake and the tsunami, I bumped into this video and made me wonder; what if I'm in a pool and an earthquake occurs?

The video is from King5.com taken by CNN i-Reporter Yoshi Ikeda at a U.S. naval base during the earthquake.

The earthquake's intensity caused the pool water to slosh back and forth then finally spill over its basin. This phenomenon is known as a "seiche" (pronounced sash). Note that seiche can occur in your pool even if the earthquake is below magnitude 9.

So, what would you do once you and your loved ones are caught in a worst case scenario?

Get out from the pool quickly

Once you feel that the pool water moves back and forth stronger than the usual and you doubt the pool pump is responsible, get out of the water as quick as you can and alert the other swimmers. Signal the lifeguard (in case he doesn't notice the unusual shaking yet) to warn everyone to clear the pool. Grab your children out of the water and stay calm.

Don't stay in the pool area

Whether its outdoor or indoor swimming pool, stay away from the pool area. As I've written above, a seiche may occur no matter the magnitude and can be devastating.

Go to an open area

Don't go or inside your house or in your car, it's too risky. Find an open area away from buildings, trees and posts. Stay there.

Protect yourself

Stay down and low, cover your head and wait for the shaking to stop. If you're home or the public swimming pool is near the ocean and the ground is trembling progressively within 20 seconds or more, evacuate to a higher ground as a tsunami can arise.

Earthquake and water don't go well together and can lead to a disaster that may occur anytime, sometimes when you least expecting it. Knowing what to do during a natural calamity is very important  that's why it's best that you have the initiative to read some survival tips before the worst case scenario strikes.


  1. What evidence do you have that being in the water is dangerous during the earthquake? If you can swim, the water protects you. Pools protect you from nearby falling objects. Most enclosed pools are new enough to be very strong and safe. It looks more dangerous to be on the wet concrete around the pool.

  2. When there is seismic activity, I think part of the concern is that the pool wall may rupture and you really don't want to be near one if it does. If it were a hurricaine, I'd agree with you. In fact, people with pools typically put their lawn furniture at the bottom of their pools for nasty storms to protect them. Assuming you had a way to get oxygen, it seems a safe place for storms, but maybe not earthquakes.

  3. I need more of a debate here.

  4. Wow, I guess I'm not the only one having this issue. My son and I are having a debate whether to build a swimming pool in our backyard or not. Because of that, the whole family has submitted their responses for as to why, or why not to build the swimming pool. So far, we've been stuck on three in particular: What you're in a pool during an earthquake, Could we add enough cornstarch to walk on the water, would this be a valuable asset during the Zombie Apocalypse. So far as dictated, we're not getting a swimming pool.

  5. Blogging is the new poetry. I find it wonderful and amazing in many ways.

  6. Hello!
    I have just arrived in Japan as an English teacher at Mainichieikaiwa (http://www.mainichieikaiwa.jp). What a great article! Thanks for all the ideas and tips shared here.


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