Did you know that landslides take place most often where they’ve occurred in the past? They’re also more common in areas that have recently been burned by a wildfire.
• Make an escape plan and build a kit.
• Be aware of warning signs of possible landslides:
> Increased pooling of water or newly wet ground.
> New cracks or unusual bulges in the ground, street pavements or sidewalks.
> Soil moving away from foundations.
> Tilted or bent trees.
> Sagging or taught utility lines.
> Sunken or broken road beds.
> Leaking or broken water pipes.
• Reduce the chances of landslides by:
> Draining water from surface runoff, downspouts and driveways well away from slopes.
> Planting native groundcover on slopes.
> Refraining from adding water to steep slopes.
> Avoiding placing fill soil and yard debris on steep slopes.
• If you suspect imminent danger, evacuate immediately. Inform affected neighbors if you can, and contact your public works, fire or police department.
• Listen for unusual sounds that might indicate moving debris, such as trees cracking or boulders hitting one another.
• If you are near a stream, be alert for any sudden increase or decrease in water flow and notice whether the water changes from clear to muddy. Such changes may mean there is debris flow activity upstream so be prepared to move quickly.
• Be especially alert when driving—watch for collapsed pavement, mud, fallen rocks and other indications of possible debris flow.
• If you are ordered to or decide to evacuate, take your animals with you.
• Stay away from the slide area. There may be danger of additional slides.
• Check for injured and trapped persons near the slide without entering the direct slide area. Direct rescuers to the person’s location.
• Listen to local radio or television stations for the latest emergency information.
• Watch for flooding, which may occur after a landslide or debris flow. Floods sometimes follow landslides and debris flows because they may be started by the same event.
• Look for and report broken utility lines to appropriate authorities. Reporting potential hazards will get damaged utilities turned off as quickly as possible, preventing further hazard and injury.
• Check the building foundation, chimney and surrounding land for damage. Signs of damage may help you assess the safety of the area.
• Replant damaged ground as soon as possible since erosion caused by loss of groundcover can lead to flash flooding.
Additional information about landslides is available on the Oregon Department of Geology and Mineral Industries (oregongeology.org) and the Washington Department of Natural Resources (dnr.wa.gov) websites.