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
BEFORE 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
Plant ground cover on slopes and build retaining walls.
In mudflow areas, build channels or deflection walls to direct the flow around
Remember: If you build walls to divert debris flow and the flow lands on a neighbor's
property, you may be liable for damages.
Learn to recognize the landslide warning signs
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.
>li>Slowly developing, widening cracks appear on the ground or on paved areas such as
streets or driveways.
Underground utility lines break.
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.
Make evacuation plans
Plan at least two evacuation routes since roads may become blocked or closed.
Develop an emergency communication plan.
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 insurance agency.
DURING If inside a building:
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,
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 lines.
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 flooding.
Seek the advice of geotechnical expert for evaluating landslide hazards or designing
corrective techniques to reduce landslide risk.
Mitigation includes any activities that prevent an emergency, reduce the chance of an
emergency happening, or lessen the damaging effects of unavoidable emergencies. Investing
in preventive mitigation steps now such as planting ground cover (low growing plants) on
slopes, or installing flexible pipe fitting to avoid gas or water leaks, will help reduce the
impact of landslides and mudflows in the future. For more information on mitigation, contact
your local emergency management office.