Preparing for Land and Mudslides
Preparing For Landslides
Landslide and mudflows
usually strike without warning. The force of rocks, soil, or other debris moving
down a slope can devastate anything in its path. Take the following steps to be
Get a ground assessment of your property.
Your county geologist or
county planning department may have specific information on areas vulnerable to
landsliding. Consult a professional geotechnical expert for opinions and advice
on landslide problems and on corrective measures you can take.
Minimize home hazards.
Learn to recognize the
landslide warning signs.
- Plant ground cover on
slopes and build retaining walls.
- In mudflow areas, build
channels or deflection walls to direct the flow around buildings.
- Remember: If you build
walls to divert debris flow and the flow lands on a neighbor's property, you
may be liable for damages.
Make evacuation plans.
- Doors or windows stick
or jam for the first time.
- New cracks appear in
plaster, tile, brick, or foundations.
- Outside walls, walks,
or stairs begin pulling away from the building.
- Slowly developing,
widening cracks appear on the ground or on paved areas such as streets or
- Underground utility
- Bulging ground appears
at the base of a slope.
- Water breaks through
the ground surface in new locations.
- Fences, retaining
walls, utility poles, or trees tilt or move.
- You hear a faint
rumbling sound that increases in volume as the landslide nears. The ground
slopes downward in one specific direction and may begin shifting in that
direction under your feet.
Plan at least two evacuation routes since roads may become blocked or closed.
Develop an emergency
In case family members are separated from one another during a landslide or
mudflow this is (a real possibility during the day when adults are at work and
children are at school), have a plan for getting back together.
Ask an out-of-state
relative or friend to serve as the "family contact". After a disaster,
it's often easier to call long distance. Make sure everyone knows the name,
address, and phone number of the contact person.
Mudflow is covered by
flood insurance policies from the National
Flood Insurance Program. Flood insurance can be purchased through a local
If inside a building:
- Stay inside.
- Take cover under a
desk, table, or other piece of sturdy furniture.
- Try and get out of the
path of the landslide or mudflow.
- Run to the nearest high
ground in a direction away from the path.
- If rocks and other
debris are approaching, run for the nearest shelter such as a group of trees
or a building.
- If escape is not
possible, curl into a tight ball and protect your head.
A sinkhole occurs when
groundwater dissolves a vulnerable land surface such as limestone, causing the
land surface to collapse from a lack of support. In June 1993, a 100-foot wide,
25-foot deep sinkhole formed under a hotel parking lot in Atlanta, killing two
people and engulfing numerous cars.
Stay away from the slide area.
There may be danger of additional slides.
Check for injured and
trapped persons near the slide area.
Give first aid if trained.
Remember to help your
neighbors who may require special assistance--infants, elderly people, and
people with disabilities.
Listen to a
battery-operated radio or television for the latest emergency information.
Remember that flooding may
occur after a mudflow or a landslide.
Check for damaged utility
Report any damage to the utility company.
Check the building
foundation, chimney, and surrounding land for damage.
Replant damaged ground as
soon as possible since erosion caused by loss of ground cover can lead to flash
Seek the advice of
geotechnical expert for evaluating landslide hazards or designing corrective
techniques to reduce landslide risk.