Landslide & Mudslide Emergency Preparedness

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Warmer weather brings rains and drought – two factors responsible for a landslide or mudslide. For the former to occur, a large amount of debris, rock, or dirt slides down a slope. A mudslide, essentially a type of landslide, happens when ground water causes debris to flow, usually in a channel-type formation.

While some regions may be more prone than others, both natural disasters have potential to occur in every state. It’s because all one of these evens needs is a disturbance in the slope’s natural stability, an earthquake, a heavy rain fall, or rapid water accumulation in the ground, and what results is a sudden surge in dirt or rocks moving in one direction.

Think your area might be at risk? The following types of places are more likely to experience a landslide or mudslide:

  • Areas where wildfires or human modifications have destroyed vegetation.
  • Places where landslides have occurred before
  • Steep slopes, especially if they’re close to the bottom or part of a canyon.
  • Construction along slopes
  • Channels for streams, rivers, or runoff


Both landslides and mudslides are responsible for a small number of deaths per year. However, even if the event doesn’t result in a fatality, it still may have the following ramifications:

  • Trauma
  • Broken electrical, water, gas, and sewage lines
  • Blocked roadways and railways, which can make travel and emergency access far more difficult.


What can you do to prepare? If you’re close to one of the above listed areas, make an emergency preparedness plan with the following factors taken into account.


  1. Know if your area has experienced a landslide or mudslide before by speaking with the local authorities.
  2. Know if your region has an emergency evacuation plan for these events.
  3. Develop an emergency communication plan with your family members and friends.
  4. Know the surrounding plan, including where risks could occur and the pattern of storm drainage.
  5. Keep track of sudden decreases or increases in water levels.
  6. Put together a disaster kit.


Your disaster kit should include the following basic supplies:

  • A three-day supply of water, with one gallon per person, per day.
  • A three-day supply of non-perishable, easy-to-make food
  • Flashlight
  • A battery-powered or hand-crank radio
  • Extra batteries
  • A standard first aid kit
  • A seven-day supply of medications and medical equipment for all family members and pets.
  • A multi-tool
  • Sanitation and personal hygiene products
  • Copies of personal documents
  • Family and emergency contact information
  • A backup cell phone with a charger
  • Extra money



When a mudslide or landslide is predicted, make sure you:
  1. Listen to the television or radio about increases in rainfall and for any instructions from local officials.
  2. Keep track of any sudden changes in water, and note any tilted trees, telephone poles, fences, walls, or holes in the ground.
  3. Listen for rumbling sounds.
  4. Be ready with a backup route, in case a road is blocked or has collapsed pavement.
  5. Avoid any paths where debris is flowing.
  6. Stay awake, should the event occur at night.



Once the event has passed, be sure to:

  1. Stay away from the site, unless authorities tell you to return.
  2. Listen to the TV or radio for further instructions.
  3. Avoid utility lines, and report those you find broken.
  4. Assess your area for any trapped or injured individuals.


In preparing, find full disaster kits through 1st Aid Supplies. Browse our selection to find one large enough for your family or workplace.


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