Landslides are an environmental danger that could very easily take your life and the lives of those you love if you are not prepared. While you certainly cannot prepare for all of life’s dangers, this is one that you can survive if you know what to look for and how to respond. Living in California, or anywhere with steep landforms and wet weather, means that you need to be prepared for the possibility of a landslide.
Most landslides don’t occur “out of nowhere.” There are plenty of signs that a slide may be imminent. These warning signs include:
- Saturated ground that does not receive regular moisture
- Newly appearing cracks or bulges in the ground
- Soil that has moved away from foundations of homes or other buildings
- Structures like telephone poles and trees that begin leaning to the side
- Sunken road beds
- Rapid increase in creek or river water levels
- Sudden decrease in creek or river water levels after rain has stopped
- Doors and windows that suddenly stick
- Unusual sounds outside: boulders clicking together, trees cracking, a rumbling
Where Landslides are Most Likely to Occur
There are areas that are more likely to experience a landslide than others. These areas include:
- Where a landslide has already occurred
- At the base of slopes or minor drainage hollows
- At the base or top of a cut or fill slope
- Hillsides where leach field septic systems are located
Landslides are least likely to occur on non-jointed bedrock, on flat areas that are set back from the tops or bottoms of slopes, and along the nose of ridges.
How to Prevent a Landslide Near Your Home
Before you build or purchase a home, have the property assessed by a professional. Get a geologic survey, and ask about landslides that have occurred in your area. Once you have purchased a property, look at how the rainwater flows and collects. If you notice that rainwater is collecting, it may be in your best interest to contact a professional to discover the source of the problem.
Know where you should go if a landslide occurs. You should also know how residents are informed of landslides. Develop an emergency plan for your family just as you would develop a plan for a fire or weather hazard.
You can build retaining walls on your property or plant ground cover to hold the dirt together. If you have a path for water runoff that you eventually notice, build deflection walls or channels. Use flexible piping under the ground that is resistant to breakage.
There are a variety of things you can do to make your home and property safer should a landslide occur. Speak with a local building inspector to see what they suggest. In the event that a landslide couldn’t be prevented or seen coming, you may be able to save your life and property.
If you are injured in a landslide or involved in some type of accident because of a landslide in San Luis Obispo, reach out to our personal injury team. We will review the details of your incident and help you determine if someone should be held liable for your financial losses. Call our team of experienced personal injury lawyers today.