LANDSLIDES - Precautions and behaviour

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Publishing Organisation:
U.S. Department of Homeland Security
  • English
  • Landslide
Disaster Management Phase

After, Before, During


The following are things you can do to protect yourself, your family and your property from the effects of a landslide or debris flow:

  • Build an emergency kit.
  • Make a plan for your household, including your pets, so that you and your family know what to do and where to go in the event of a landslide.
  • Sign up for your community’s warning system.
  • Leave if you have been told to evacuate or you feel it is unsafe to remain in your home.
  • Consult a professional for advice on appropriate preventative measures for your home or business, such as flexible pipe fittings, which can resist breakage better.
  • Protect your property based on recommendations from a qualified geotechnical professional and/or local city/county guidance on protection from debris flow and
  • You can't stop or change the path of a debris flow.
    • However, you may be able to protect your property from floodwaters or mud by use of sandbags, retaining walls or equivalent.
  • In mud and debris flow areas, consider building channels or deflection walls to try to direct the flow around buildings.
  • Be aware, however, that when a flow is big enough, it goes where it pleases.
  • Also, you may be liable for damages if you divert a flow and it flows on a neighbor's property.
  • Talk to your insurance agent if you are at risk from a landslide.


  • Listen to local news stations on a battery-powered radio for warnings.
  • Always follow the instructions from local emergency managers.
    • They provide the latest recommendations based on the threat in your community.
  • Stay alert and awake during a storm that could cause a landslide.
    • Many deaths from landslides occur while people are sleeping.
  • Be aware that by the time you are sure a debris flow is coming, it will be too late to get away safely.
  • Never cross a road with water or mud flowing.
  • Never cross a bridge if you see a flow approaching because it can grow faster and larger too quickly for you to escape.
  • If you do get stuck in the path of a landslide move uphill as quickly as possible.
  • Avoid river valleys and low-lying areas during times of danger.
  • If you are near a stream or channel, be alert for any sudden increase or decrease in water flow or water that changes from clear to muddy. These can be signs that a landslide is coming.


  • Stay away from the slide area.
  • aThere may be danger coming from additional slides.
  • Listen to local radio or television stations for the latest emergency information.
  • Watch for flooding.
    • Floods sometimes follow landslides and debris flows because they may both be started by the same conditions.
  • Check for injured and trapped persons near the slide, without entering the direct slide area.
    • Direct rescuers to their locations.
  • Report broken utility lines and damaged roadways and railways to appropriate authorities.
    • Reporting potential hazards will get the utilities turned off as quickly as possible, preventing further hazard and injury.
  • Allow trained professionals to check the building foundation, chimney, and surrounding land for damage.
  • Replant damaged ground as soon as possible since erosion caused by loss of ground cover can lead to flash flooding and additional landslides in the near future.
  • Seek advice from a geotechnical expert for evaluating landslide hazards or designing corrective techniques to reduce landslide risk.
    • A professional can advise you of the best ways to prevent or reduce landslide risk, without creating further hazard.


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