LDS Emergency Preparedness

Be Prepared, Not Scared!

Landslides

Posted by Elise on February 18, 2010

Laguna Beach

yummiejeu (sxc.hu)

The term landslide describes downhill earth movements that can move slowly and cause damage gradually, or move rapidly, destroying property and taking lives suddenly and unexpectedly. In Southern California, most landslides are caused by natural forces or events, such as heavy rain, earthquake shaking and gravity. Areas burned by forest and brush fires are also particularly susceptible to landslides.

Living in Landslide Risk Areas

  • Landslides generally happen in areas where they have occurred in the past. Learn about your area’s landslide risk. Landslides can also be referred to as mudslides, debris flows, mudflows or debris avalanches.
  • Learn about local emergency response and evacuation plans.
  • Talk to everyone in your household about what to do if a landslide occurs.
  • Create and practice an evacuation plan for your family and your business.
  • Assemble and maintain an emergency preparedness kit.
  • Become familiar with the land around where you live and work so that you understand your risk in different situations.
  • Watch the patterns of storm water drainage on slopes near your home, especially where runoff water converges.
  • Debris flows and other landslides onto roadways are common during rainstorms.
  • Heavily saturated ground is very susceptible to mudflows and debris flows.

Landslide is Likely to Occur or is Occurring

  • If you suspect imminent danger, evacuate immediately. Inform affected neighbors if you can, and contact your public works, fire or police department.
  • Listen for unusual sounds that might indicate moving debris, such as trees cracking or boulders knocking together.
  • If you are near a stream or channel, be alert for any sudden increase or decrease in water flow and notice whether the water changes from clear to muddy. Such changes may mean there is debris flow activity upstream so be prepared to move quickly.
  • Be especially alert when driving— watch for collapsed pavement, mud, fallen rocks and other indications of possible debris flow.
  • If you are ordered or decide to evacuate, take your animals with you.
  • Consider a precautionary evacuation of large or numerous animals as soon as you are aware of impending danger.

During a Severe Storm

  • Stay alert and awake. Many deaths from landslides occur while people are sleeping.
  • Listen to local news stations on a battery-powered radio for warnings of heavy rainfall.
  • Consider leaving if it is safe to do so.

After a Landslide

  • Stay away from the slide area until local officials say it is safe to enter.
  • Listen to local stations on a portable, battery-powered radio for the latest emergency information.
  • Watch for flooding—floods sometimes follow landslides and debris flows.
  • Check for injured and trapped persons and animals near the slide, without entering the slide area.
  • Help people who require special assistance.
  • Look for and report broken utility lines to appropriate authorities.
  • Check your home’s foundation, chimney and surrounding land for damage.
  • Replant damaged ground as soon as possible because erosion caused by loss of ground cover can lead to flash flooding.

 (source:  American Red Cross – Orange County Chapter)

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