Landslides can happen anywhere, often due to tectonic instability, storms, fires and also human excavation efforts. Because they can happen swiftly, it is best to look for environmental changes that might herald a potential landslide. Landslides occur when terrain rapidly moves downward along slopes or when water quickly soaks the ground until it becomes a muddy slurry. This slurry can travel swiftly, hitting without notice. The momentum of this travel means landslides can move several miles beyond their origin point, growing in size by collecting debris as it passes through.
The chief causes of landslides include mismanagement of rocky and coastal lands and fire-ravaged areas during a storm. Proper zoning for land-usage, inspection of the area and mindful architecture can do wonders for reducing the chance of a landslide.
Safeguarding Against Landslides
Here are several precautions for landslides:
- Build an emergency kit, including a set of walkie-talkies.
- Research the area for any prior history of landslides.
- Get a ground assessment.
- Plant ground cover against slopes and retention walls.
- Carve channels and deflection walls to redirect the flow of mud away from the area. Be mindful not to arrange things so mud will flow into another person’s property.
- Update the home’s insurance policy.
Recognize Landslide Signs
Any of the following items signal a potential landslide:
- Changes in landscape.
- New cracks in building structures or existing cracks slowly widen in concrete or pavement.
- Walkways, stairways, and other structures drift away from the building.
- Broken subterranean utility lines.
- Bulges or shifts along the bases of slopes.
- Water seeps from the ground where it is not known to.
- Odd sounds might signify moving debris.
What to Do During a Landslide
- Remain vigilant during storms. Many landslide-related deaths happen as people sleep.
- Listen to forecasts and for odd sounds of debris.
- Leave the projected path of destruction immediately.
- Avoid low-lying waterways
Recovering From a Landslide
- Head to an evacuation shelter.
- Avoid the slide area.
- Listen to local news.
- Watch for flooding.
- Check for people caught in the landslide and inform rescue teams.
- Watch and report about damaged infrastructure.
- Replant damaged terrain when possible to minimize erosion.