Before, during, and after landslides

A general understanding of landslides, the conditions in which they occur, and how they happen is the first step to ensuring that you and your family are safer from the danger they present.

Before a landslide or mudslide:

Be aware of your environment. If you travel or are on vacation somewhere, look around and make sure you understand where the threat may be. Look out for slopes and tricky landscapes. Contact your local authorities and tell them about your observations.

When you drive around hills or mountains, keep your eyes and ears open for signs of debris falling. Plan communications with your family so that you know where they are and what you will do in an event of a landslide. Have an emergency kit in a safe and reliable place. Talk to neighbors and discuss an escape plan. If possible, evacuate before it happens.

During a landslide:

Landslides and mudslides happen very fast, and there may be very little time to act. Move away quickly from the path of the mudflow or landslide to another location. Do not try to stay close and take photographs. Landslide debris moves from uphill to downhill, therefore avoid low-lying areas or valleys. If there is a way to sound an alarm, do so.

Listen and look out for signs of further flows in that area, as the flowing debris often knocks against surrounding slopes and sets off new flows.

After a landslide:

Stay away from the location until the emergency workers and the experts confirm that it is safe to go back. Look out for loose wires, broken utility lines, and hanging objects, as they may be hazards. Report them to your rescue officials. Get in touch with emergency officials or listen to the radio or TV on what to do.

Reading sources

1. Oregon Department of Geology and Mineral Industries 2. Be Prepared California, Landslides and Mudslides, 3. Landslide and Debris Flow (Mudslide), Produced by the National Disaster Education Coalition: American Red Cross, FEMA, IAEM, IBHS, NFPA, NWS, USDA/ CSREES, and USGS, 4. Landslide Types and Processes, USGS, 5. Landslides and Mudslides, 6. What causes Landslides? Geoscience Australia.