Landslides and Mudslides
- Rapidly moving water and debris that can lead to trauma.
- Broken electrical, water, gas and sewage lines that can result in injury or illness.
- Disrupted roadways and railways that can endanger motorists and disrupt transport and access to health care.
What Areas Are at Risk?
- Areas where wildfires or construction have destroyed vegetation.
- Areas where landslides have occurred before.
- Steep slopes and areas at the bottom of slopes or canyons.
- Slopes that have been altered for construction of buildings and roads.
- Channels along a stream or river.
- Areas where surface runoff is directed.
Before Intense Storms and Rainfall
- Assume that steep slopes and areas burned by wildfires are vulnerable to landslides and mudslides.
- Learn whether landslides or mudslides have occurred previously in your area by contacting local authorities, a county geologist or the county planning department, state geological surveys or departments of natural resources or university departments of geology.
- Contact local authorities about emergency and evacuation plans.
- Develop emergency and evacuation plans for your family and business.
- Develop an emergency communication plan in case family members are separated.
- If you live in an area vulnerable to landslides, consider leaving it.
- Listen to the radio or watch TV for warnings about intense rainfall or for information and instructions from local officials.
- Be aware of any sudden increase or decrease in water level on a stream or creek that might indicate debris flow upstream. A trickle of flowing mud may precede a larger flow.
- Look for tilted trees, telephone poles, fences or walls, and for new holes or bare spots on hillsides.
- Listen for rumbling sounds that might indicate an approaching landslide or mudslide.
- Be alert when driving. Roads may become blocked or closed due to collapsed pavement or debris.
- If you see a landslide or mudslide starting, quickly move away from the path of the slide. Getting out of the path of a mudslide is your best protection. Move to the nearest high ground in a direction away from the path. If rocks and debris are approaching, run for the nearest shelter and take cover (under a desk, table or other piece of sturdy furniture).
- Stay away from the site. Flooding or additional slides may occur after a landslide or mudslide.
- Check for injured or trapped people near the affected area, if it is possible to do so without entering the path of the landslide or mudslide.
- Listen to the radio or TV for emergency information.
- Report broken utility lines to the appropriate authorities.
- Consult a geotechnical expert (a registered professional engineer with soils engineering expertise) for advice on reducing additional landslide problems and risks. Local authorities should be able to tell you how to contact a geotechnical expert.