A landslide refers to a downhill movement of mud, rocks, soil, and other debris. It can be slow and capable of causing gradual damage or fast and capable of quickly destroying anything in its path. A majority of landslides are caused by heavy rains, earthquakes and other natural forces.
Landslides tend to occur in the same area. During rainstorms, a sudden or gradual flow of debris onto roads is common. Areas that become highly saturated with water have higher chances of debris and mud flows.
It is important to know what to do to stay safe before, during and after a landslide occurs, especially if you live in a landslide-prone area. Below are some landslide safety tips:
Living In High-Risk Landslide Areas:
• Landslide-prone areas should have an emergency response team and evacuation plans.
• Be aware of your region’s highest landslide risk areas.
• Investigate storm water drainage patterns, particularly on the slopes nearest your house.
• Devise an emergency landslide evacuation plan with your household. Conduct practice evacuation drills to ensure each member knows what to do and where to go.
• Prepare and maintain an emergency kit for your entire household.
Things To Pack In Landslide Emergency Kits:
• Seven-day supply of medicine and a first aid kit
• Flashlight and extra batteries
• Battery-powered radio
• Three-day water supply, one gallon per person daily
• Three-day supply of easy-to-prepare food that stores well such as canned meat, powdered milk, canned vegetables and fruits, peanut butter and hard candy
• Personal hygiene items
• Handy tool kit
• Contact information of family and emergency departments
• Mobile phones with extra chargers
• Copies of important documents such as birth certificates, passports, insurance policies, proof of address and the lease or deed to your home
Signs Of Danger and Immediate Action:
• Tune in to the local news and monitor updates on evacuation notices.
• Evacuate immediately if you suspect that a landslide will occur. Inform neighbors who might be at risk.
• Moving debris often make cracking sounds due to breaking trees and knocking boulders. Listen for unusual sounds.
• Residents near bodies of water should watch out for changes in water flow and appearance. Muddy waters could indicate moving debris, mud and fallen rocks.
• Many landslide deaths occur while people are sleeping. It is vital that you stay awake and monitor changes in your surroundings during severe storms.
• Landslide areas are prone to additional slides. It is best to steer clear of these areas until officials announce it is safe to go back.
• Look for trapped and injured individuals. Extend a hand to neighbors who require help like the elderly, persons with disabilities and families with infants.
• Report any damaged utility lines to authorities, as well as potential hazards that could do cause harm.
• When assessing the safety of an area, look for damage in the area’s foundation and chimney.
• Get help from geotechnical experts to evaluate the hazards of landslide areas. Experts can help in employing techniques to reduce landslide risks.