Whether you need your survival scissors in an emergency situation or for ordinary survival tasks while hiking or on an off-grid escapade, EMT shears will be a great addition in any prepper Bug Out Bag.
Landslides are not the most spoken about natural disasters. That’s probably because, compared to other natural disasters like floods, tsunamis, and earthquakes, landslides are less deadly.
But any destruction or loss of life resulting from natural occurrences counts for a lot, which is why it is important to know how to survive a landslide and be prepared in advance.
You can prepare to survive a landslide by subscribing to a landslide warning service, building a landslide survival kit, reinforcing your home, building retaining walls, and conserving the vegetation around your property.
Survive during a landslide by looking out for landslide herald signs, heeding landslide warning and evacuation calls, staying indoors when you can’t evacuate, and curling into a tight ball to protect your head.
After a landslide, stay safe by not occupying your house until it’s declared safe, watching out for consequent flooding, replanting damaged vegetation, and repairing damaged retaining walls.
If you live in landslide and mudslide prone areas, knowing the herald signs and being prepared to evacuate and evade the dangers caused by this natural occurrence is crucial.
This article will tell you all you need to know about how landslides happen, the risk factors, how to prevent a landslide, and how to prepare for a landslide. To start you off, we tell you what landslides are and whether you should be worried about their occurrence.
In a hurry? If you just want to get to our conclusions, here are our top picks and recommendations!
Last update on 2022-07-01 / Affiliate Links / Images from Amazon Product Advertising API
A landslide is a geological occurrence characterized by the movement of rocks, soil, and debris down a slope. They are triggered by disruptions in the natural stability of a slope which could be a result of:
Though landslides and mudslides are often used as synonyms, mudslides (also known as debris flows) are high-speed debris, earth, and rock flows that usually happen on steep slopes and tend to flow in channels. They occur when the ground is saturated and the water forms 60% of the sliding mud.
Landslides are usually categorized according to their movement and the material that comes down.
Falls and topples describe landslides involving the release of heavy blocks and their thunderous fall down a steep slope or cliff. Included in this category are also tumbling boulders.
Translational slides are landslides where material on the surface of the earth is separated from the underlying layer and moved from its original position down a slope.
Lateral spreads/flows describe landslides where surface material is quickly moved laterally/sideways owing to a powerful force as in the case of an earthquake.
Volcanic landslides (lahars) follow volcanic eruptions and are the most deadly and destructive form of landslides.
One such landslide is the Mount St. Helens of 1980 that came after a volcanic eruption. The landslide had 2.9 cubic kilometers of soil, rock, water, ash, and vegetation and covered 62sqkm.
57 people and thousands of animals were killed by the landslide and more than 200 homes were destroyed. Besides, 15 miles of railway and more than 185 miles of road were damaged.
The video below shows the 1980 Mount St. Helens Eruption
Landslides are a real threat. The WHO indicates that they are the most common geological events.
According to WHO, landslides accounted for 18,000 deaths and disrupted the lives of around 4.8 million people worldwide in the period between 1998 and 2017.
In the US, it is estimated that mud and landslides cause between 25 and 50 deaths every year. In addition, the US Geological Survey estimates that around $2-$4 billion losses are incurred each year due to landslides.
However, deaths, lost homes and livelihoods, and billions of dollars in losses are not the only dangers that come with landslides. People in landslide areas also have to deal with the health risks resulting from this calamity.
The displacement of soil and rock that comes with landslides destroys utility lines (electricity, gas, water, and sewerage lines) and blocks road and railways. This can cause several health risks:
Slopes and areas where the earth/soil is vulnerable are most prone to landslides. These include:
If you live or temporarily find yourself around these areas, you should consider yourself at risk of landslides.
Even though experts say landslides can happen anywhere, some areas are generally considered safe from landslides.
Check out the video below for some examples of devastating landslides in various parts of the World.
One way of minimizing your susceptibility to landslide risks is by knowing the signs that precede their occurrence.
Landslides can happen with or without prior warning. You should lookout for these signs that could tell you of a landslide before it happens.
Geologists can use old or the latest means to predict landslides including these two:
Geologists conduct surveys in which they map landslide-prone areas and consequently offer advice regarding safety, land use, and infrastructural development.
Such information can help you evade high landslide-prone areas when deciding for home or business construction.
These are the latest means of forecasting landslides that have replaced the old electrical sensors.
Fiber-optic sensors are embedded in shallow trenches on slopes so they can detect minute or large shifts in the soil that eventually lead to landslides. From these signals, geologists predict an impending landslide and send landslide warning via official information mediums.
Compared to the old electrical sensors, fiber-optic sensors are more precise and sensitive to soil shifts and are also considered more economical.
From the foregoing, it’s evident that knowing how to survive a landslide is paramount, and that implies 3 things:
Being ready to survive a landslide is especially important for people who live in landslide-prone areas. To increase your chances of survival, prepare now by following these 6 landslide survival tips.
Seek information about the susceptibility of your area to landslides and ask about past occurrences. This will help you know how much risk you would be exposed to.
Ensure you get this information from reliable sources and do not assume that landslides will always repeat past trends.
In the US, all 50 states are susceptible to landslides but some are at higher risk than others. States with heavy rains, hilly terrains, and those that are prone to earthquakes and wildfires are especially at risk including Colorado, Kentucky, Alaska, Oregon, Hawaii, Washington, Montana, Utah, and California.
Ask a professional geotechnical how to protect hour house from a landslide and hire their services to assess how secure your property is from landslides.
Follow their advice to reinforce your property as a preventative measure. This may mean taking one or more of these measures:
Subscribe to official landslide warning services so that you can receive alerts on time. Also, heed evacuation warnings as soon as you are advised to. Official evacuation warnings will also inform you about shelters close to your location where you can seek refuge.
You can also follow landslide forecasting maps to see if your area has an active landslide advisory or warning. See an example of a landslide forecasting map from this map of daily forecasts for precipitation-induced shallow landslides in Washington State.
Landslides will follow a natural occurrence as long as the triggering factors are present. Nonetheless, you can prevent a landslide by avoiding human activities that aggravate the risk of landslides.
Here are 7 things you can do to prevent/minimize the occurrence of landslides:
Create a family evacuation and communication plan by ensuring that:
There’s usually no specific insurance cover for landslide damage. To help you get back on your feet should a landslide destroy your property, talk to your agent to find out if you can incorporate landslide damage into flood insurance policies.
Your insurance agent may ask you to hire the services of a professional geotechnical to assess your property’s landslide susceptibility before determining the insurance policy cost.
Having a landslide survival kit ready is important in case you have to grab it and leave your home when a landslide warning is issued or in case you have to be evacuated.
A landslide emergency kit should include a first aid kit as well as other survival gear and supplies.
Here’s a landslide gear checklist that will help you get your emergency kit together.
If you are caught up in a landslide, chances are you may have an injury from the rough debris flow or you may get sick from the strain caused by the situation. To be on the safe side, prepare a first aid kit to be included in your landslide emergency kit.
Your landslide first aid kit should include:
You can also opt to purchase a readymade first aid kit. These are usually advised because they contain all the needed emergency medical supplies.
You’ll only need to include any additional prescription meds that you may need for chronic or long term conditions.
You’ve certainly seen this famous first aid kit around. Its plastic casing makes is quite handy for any situation, more so for landslide emergency where you may need to keep everything dry and safe from water and dust.
The kit has 100 pieces of medical supplies including bandages, a cold compress pack, cotton swaps, adhesive, tape, and a guide manual.
The Be Smart kit is regulated by the US FDA standards. You can easily carry it by itself as it has a secure handle. You can also pack it in a bigger landslide gear bag since it is only 7.5ʺ x 2.5ʺ x 6.8ʺ.
Last update on 2022-07-02 / Affiliate Links / Images from Amazon Product Advertising API
Last update on 2022-07-01 / Affiliate Links / Images from Amazon Product Advertising API
Consider that landslides are more likely to happen during wet weather and you will need clothing and shoes to keep you warm and dry. Here’s a proposal for landslide survival clothing:
With your landslide survival kit ready, you are set for any eventuality, but you still need to know what to do during a landslide.
Knowing how to survive during a landslide means following key landslide precautions and using certain survival skills during landslides.
Here’s are 8 landslide precautions you should follow:
Look out for any signs that announce the occurrence of a landslide:
If you see signs that suggest the occurrence of a landslide, evacuate before it is too late. It is better to act on a false alarm than not to act at all and risk your life.
If your home is on a landslide or debris-flow path, evacuate immediately at the first sign of landslide warning.
During natural disasters, looking out for each other can help avoid adverse effects and save lives. Consider these actions when a landslide is imminent or already occurring.
Remember to always be safe first before offering help.
If a landslide catches up with you before you can evacuate, stay indoors, and use your phone to ask for help from local officials.
Use whistles and/or signal flares from your landslide survival kit to draw the attention of evacuation agents.
If you find yourself in the middle of a landslide flow, use a blanket or some heavy cloth to cover your body for protection, and cover your head from debris by curling into a tight ball. This position also prevents you from swallowing water in case there’s a water flow.
Hopefully, the landslide will not burry you completely and if it does, the dirt will be shallow and loose enough to let you dig yourself out.
Do not try to outrun an already occurring landslide. It would be impossible to do so. Landslides travel at speeds of 55-100kmph.
If you are home during a storm or one is happening at night, stay alert/awake. A lot of landslide deaths happen to people sleeping during the night.
Consistently listen to landslide news on your battery-powered radio for warnings of looming landslide or for instructions to evacuate and head to specified rescue centers.
Do not leave your house for work or other commitments during or after a storm until the authorities announce that it is safe to do so; that’s unless you are evacuating.
If you are walking during a possible or an already occurring landslide, try as much as possible to stay away from the landslide path.
Avoid crossing rivers or mudflows even if they seem to be at manageable levels. Also, avoid valleys and low-lying areas and try to walk uphill if you can.
If you are driving in the imminence of a landslide, stay extremely alert for these landslide signs on the road:
Also, watch out for fallen bridges and flooding streams. Avoid embankments along roadsides as they are highly susceptible to landslides.
If you were well prepared for a landslide and have successfully survived one, it is important to continue keeping watch until you are sure you are no longer in danger.
Follow these 8 after-landslide survival tips to continue staying safe:
It is hard to tell by just watching when a landslide has stopped. Besides, loosened earth, rocks, and debris can continue moving for days after the major landslide.
As such, it’s important to rely on official reports to know when you can return home or move from your safety location.
Floods sometimes happen after a landslide owing to broken river or dam banks or the disruption of water bodies that causes them to overflow.
Beware of possible flooding from such causes and take your time before rushing back home or driving along roads where a landslide has just happened.
Avoid broken power and gas lines. The previous may be still charged and can cause electrocution while the latter are highly inflammable and can intoxicate or cause a fire at the slightest introduction of a flame.
Keep away from broken sewers systems as well as these are active sources of disease-causing bacteria.
Notice any injured persons and animals or those trapped near a slide and offer a helping hand if you can do so without risking your own life. Alternatively, alert rescue authorities on persons or animals in need of rescue.
Never enter a slide area to offer help unless you are trained in disaster evacuation skills.
Help authorities account for lives in a landslide-hit location by reporting your safety through SMS or on designated internet sites. This will also serve to notify distant family members that you are safe.
Always avoid calls during natural disasters to keep emergency lines free for more critical issues.
Seek the services of a professional to assess the security of your house before going in after a landslide. A damaged house could easily collapse even by just opening a door.
Be especially attentive to cracks on walls, jammed doors and windows, separated patios, and flattened roofs among other signs of damage.
You may not notice a damaged foundation. So professional assessment on your property is always advised if a landslide has happened around your home.
Prevent future landslides by replanting damaged vegetation around your home. This will also prevent further soil erosion in case of normal rainfalls.
Also, repair retaining and deflection walls and piles, re-divert debris pathways, and redirect surface and underground water drainages. Work with a professional to ensure you do it right.
If you had consulted your insurance agent about incorporating a landslide cover with your flood insurance cover, record the damages incurred on your property and the contents by taking photos and file a landslide damage insurance claim.
These three questions on landslides are often asked and can give you additional info on what you have learned so far.
A landslide advisory is a general statement about the possibility of a landslide happening in a region say because of heavy rainfall and the invitation to stay alert and follow landslide precautions.
A landslide watch indicates the high possibility of a landslide but not happening yet.
A landslide warning communicates already occurring landslide activity and the invitation to take extra safety measures.
Landslide susceptibility maps, also known as landslide potential maps, are maps that show the relative probability of the occurrence of landslides based on intrinsic factors in a certain area.
The most common factors that are considered in creating landslide susceptibility maps are past data on landslides, the strength of the rock and soil, and the steepness of slopes in the area.
Human activities that cause landslides are those that alter the slope geometry and render the soil loose or susceptible to waterlogging. They include:
Landslides may not be discussed often like other natural disasters but they can be deadly and extremely destructive. As such, we should take measures to stay safe before, during, and after landslides.
Before a landslide: prepare to survive a landslide with an emergency medical kit, by subscribing to official landslide alerts, reinforcing your house, and protecting it with retaining walls and vegetation.
During a landslide: survive by heeding landslide warnings, evacuating, staying indoors if you can’t evacuate, and curling into a tight ball to protect your head.
After a landslide: be safe by not moving until advised to do so, avoiding your house before it is declared safe, and repairing landslide prevention structures such as retaining walls and damaged vegetation around your home.