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"Prepare. Respond. Recover. It's time to get Ready LA" - Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa
One minute youíre on solid ground, and the next the earth is moving aster than you can logically think. Itís a landslideÖ but even if itís not directly underfoot, it can quickly impact the area from where youíre watching. Closely aligned with severe storms, earthquakes, volcanoes and wildfires, landslides can create dramatic hill slope instability that may cause injury or even death. Here are some facts to know before the rumbling starts.


Groundbreaking news
  • Landslides occur in all fifty states of the U.S., though the most common areas are those with mountainous terrain such as California.
  • Costs incurred from landslides in this country run in excess of $4 billion annually
  • Between 25 and 50 people are killed by landslides in the U.S. each year
  • Landslides cause tremendous damage to the natural environment and also impact agricultural and forest productivity
  • One of Southern California’s best-known landslides in recent history occurred on March 4, 1995, in La Conchita, California, along the Ventura County coast.

The human factor
mountain view with ocean
Sure, Mother Nature is the leading suspect when a landslide comes roaring down a sparsely vegetated hillside. General erosion, heavy rains and other factors do, indeed, play major roles. But many human activities can accelerate the process and lead to situations that increase the likelihood of a major earth flow. Here are a few of the contributors:

  • Deforestation (removal of trees and vegetation)
  • Poor irrigation habits
  • Water leakage from utilities
  • Mining activities
  • Improper excavation of a slope
  • Hillside construction

When the dirt starts flying
caution sign
If conditions do, in fact, go downhill, you don’t want to be there when it happens. You’re no match for the force of nature. So use common sense and encourage those around you to do the same if a landslide is imminent. Here are some possible courses of action.

  • Evacuate without delay, if told by authorities to do so.
  • Listen for any unusual sounds, such as cracking tree limbs or rumbling boulders, that could indicate moving debris.
  • If you are near a stream channel, move immediately to higher ground.
  • If caught in a slide, move quickly out of the path of the debris flow and try to locate a stable area.
  • If escape is not possible, curl up into a tight ball and protect your head.

AFter the slide
destroyed road
Cleanup is a dirty job. But before that can occur, it’s important to make sure that you and those around you are all safe. Here are some things you can do:

  • Stay away from the slide area.
  • Check for injured or trapped individuals near the slide area without actually venturing into the slide zone.
  • Check on neighbors who may need special assistance such as the elderly, disabled persons, etc.
  • Listen to radio or television reports for the latest emergency information.
  • If it’s been raining, be aware of possible flooding that may occur after the slide.
  • If your home is near the landslide site, check for broken utility lines or any resulting foundation problems.
  • Replant damaged vegetation as soon as possible because erosion caused by loss of ground cover can lead to flash flooding and further ground instability.

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