Landslides can happen virtually anywhere - with a myriad of causes. Landslides can happen during earthquakes, volcanic eruptions, and even storms. Landslides are when rock, debris, and earth move quickly and is essentially an avalanche - without the snow.
Experience: Arizona Debris Flow
Years ago we were traveling to Yuma Arizona to visit family. We were caught in a strong thunderstorm that produced flood waters. Before long, we were stopped on the highway at a drainage crossing that had interupted traffic.
Eventually, we were able to resume our travels as the water flow subsided. As we made our way to Yuma we saw vehicles that weren't so lucky. We saw a few buried in mud up to the roof of the car. The mud and debris had flowed with the water and washed away the cars. As the water receeded, the dirt was left behind and it was set much like concrete.
In 1928, the St. Francis Dam, near Los Angeles, burst and caused the worst landslide in U.S history, which killed roughly 500 people. It was a dark day in US history, and thankfully we’ve come a long way as far as landslide safety goes.
Since landslides can come hand in hand with many other disasters, it’s important to be ready to spring into action at any time. Try to avoid stressing yourself while preparing -- remember that all you can do is your very best.
Take the time to assess your area’s risk, and plan accordingly. Make sure to share your evacuation and general emergency plan with your family before a landslide happens. Try to answer any questions your children may have about landslides and staying safe without frightening them any further.
It’s recommended that you begin your prep by assembling an emergency kit filled with our recommendations, and keep it with your other emergency supplies. Keep your emergency supplies somewhere accessible.
You should also learn how to recognize warning signs that signal when a landslide is about to happen.
There are quite a few different signs that warn of landslides - and knowing all of them can potentially save your life.
Keep your eyes and ears open, and stay alert to watch for the following signs.
Meanwhile, there are equally-important signs that can be found in your own home and on your property. Look out for the following signs.
If you notice anything that seems off, or you feel uneasy, listen to and trust your gut. Tune in to your local news channel or emergency broadcast system to check for warnings and evacuation orders.
Now that you know the warning signs, it’s time to figure out a plan for when a landslide hits.
We encourage you to speak to your family about how to stay safe, and what to do during a disaster -- this includes sharing your preparedness plan.
If you need to evacuate, do not waste time grabbing things you won’t need -- keep go-bags ready, and never leave a pet behind.
You can even apply your skills to the immediate aftermath of the landslide. Remember to always keep your wits about you when returning from evacuation or venturing out for the first time.
You can use supplies in your emergency kit to aid you in the aftermath. That’s why it’s so important to pack the right supplies before disaster strikes.
Emergency Plan (ready.gov)
Emergency Contact Info (ready.gov)
Emergency Plan for Schools (ready.gov)
The gear you'll need to survive. The gear you'll need for evacuation is exactly the same as what you might need when you're staying home to weather out the storm.
An empty go-bag will do absolutely nothing for you -- it’s crucial to stock up on everything and anything you might need. Start with your family’s most crucial needs first, and work your way down the list.
Remember that hoarding is not advisable, nor is it helpful. Overstocking on some supplies may leave your home overcrowded, and take away from others who don’t have much money or time to prepare. Take only what you need.
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