What to do and not to do if you are stuck in a landslide?

Whether you live on the side of a mountain or find yourself hiking up one, landslides are a real risk. Rainy conditions can create a dangerous situation in which a mountain of mud comes pouring down over you or your vehicle at an instant, and every travel-enthusiast needs to know how to survive. Here are a few ways you can increase your chances of getting out alive when you get stuck in such a natural disaster.

MOVE ASIDE: If you’re stuck on a cliff edge with no shelter insight you might have no other option than to try and escape its path. This option only works if the landslide is slow-moving—if you try and flee from a fast landslide it’ll overtake you. If it’s slow, you might be able to move far enough sideways to get out of the way before it hits—just don’t run in the same direction it’s moving.

BRACE YOURSELF: Most land or mudslides are too large and quick to run away from. Your best bet, if you can’t find reliable shelter, is to curl up in a ball and protect your head. If you have a blanket or a tarp with you, use that to protect your exposed limbs. If the landslide overtakes you, there’s a chance it won’t end up covering you completely, or you might be able to dig your way out.

Remember, trying to hide behind a tree could be fatal if the landslide is strong enough to knock it over on top of you.

After a Landslide

Don’t Go towards the origin: Beware of additional flows. The debris or mudflow may not come all at once. It can happen in random bursts. Do not return to the debris field right away, even if you think it is over. Wait for emergency personnel to give an ‘all clear’.

Watch For Flooding: Flooding or unusual water flow may occur after a slide or later as rainwater builds up.

Check for Victims: Look for injured or trapped people near the slide, but don’t enter the debris or mud field. Wait for first responders or rescue crews and direct them to the victims.

Steer clear of animals: Don’t rely on the animals to know to move to higher ground. They may be fearful and panic. If you are stuck on the edge of a cliff try to get to a safe place first. If you see an animal call the authorities immediately for help.

Report Damage: Look for immediate danger from broken utility lines and damaged roadways. Report to the local emergency, police, or fire personnel.

Landslides usually occur in predictable areas. You should know in advance if you are in a risky area such as steep slopes, close-to-mountain edges, near streams, or drainage ways, or close to natural drop-off areas due to erosion. Have emergency plans in place and be sure that all members of your family know what to do and where to meet if separated. Follow the directions of emergency personnel.

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