Landslide warning signs and preparedness
Warning signs a landslide may be headed to your area, how to protect your home and what to do when a slide hits.
Experts say these are the warning signs a landslide may be headed to your area. Here are some tips on how to protect your home and what to do when a slide hits.
Landslide warning signs
- Springs, seeps or saturated ground in areas that are not usually wet.
- New cracks or unusual bulges in the ground, street or sidewalks.
- Soil moving away from foundations, or the tilting or cracking of concrete floors and foundations.
- Sunken or down-dropped road beds.
- Rapid increase in creek water levels, possibly accompanied by increased soil content.
- A sudden decrease in creek water levels even though rain is still falling or just recently stopped.
- Unusual sounds, such as trees cracking or boulders knocking together, might indicate moving debris.
Areas prone to landslides
- On existing old landslides.
- On or at the base of slopes.
- In or at the base of minor drainage hollows.
- At the base or top of an old fill slope.
- At the base or top of a steep cut slope.
- Developed hillsides where leach field septic systems are used.
Protecting your home
- Learn about your local geology and the potential for landslides in your area.
- Try not to increase instability. Don’t undercut a steep bank, build near the top or base of steep slopes, fill on steep slopes, drain pools or otherwise increase water flow down steep slopes.
- Learn how to recognize signs of potential failure in your area. Examples include slope cracks, slope bulges, unusual seepage of water on the slope, and small rock or sediment falls.
- Know who to notify if you recognize these signs (e.g. municipal emergency contact numbers and municipal engineers).
If you are indoors when a slide hits
- Find cover in the section of the building that is furthest away from the approaching landslide.
- Take shelter under a strong table or bench.
- Hold on firmly and stay put until all movement has ceased.
If you are outside when a slide hits
- Move quickly away from its likely path, keeping clear of embankments, trees, power lines and poles.
- Stay away from the landslide. The slope may experience additional failures for hours to days afterwards.
Source: Government of Canada, United States Geological Survey