Lifesaving Mudslide Safety Tips from FLASH

The mudslide that impacted Snohomish County, WA this weekend has claimed at least 16 lives, destroyed homes, and countless others are still missing. With the potential threat of another mudslide affecting the area and spring showers around the corner, here are some lifesaving safety tips to protect your home and family from mudslides.

  1. Know your mudslide risk. Create a family disaster plan that includes a plan for evacuation and a 72-hour emergency kit.
  2. Heed evacuation warnings by officials. Know in advance who will give the official evacuation orders.
  3. The elderly, people with disabilities, those dependent on medical equipment or anyone else who would need help to evacuate should register with local officials in advance.
  4. Those with pets should identify pet-friendly options ahead of time.
  5. Mudflows are not covered by a standard home insurance; however they are covered by flood insurance. A mudflow is the movement of water and mud that flows across normally dry land.   A mudslide or landslide, which can result from a collapsed hillside, happens when earth and rock travel downhill. Only mudflows, not mudslides or landslides, are covered by flood insurance. Click here for more information from the National Flood Insurance Program.
  6. Be aware of any sudden increase or decrease in water flow and notice whether the water changes from clear to muddy. These changes may mean there is debris flow activity upstream so be prepared to move quickly.
  7. Stay alert when conditions are ripe for mudslides especially when driving. Watch the road for collapsed pavement, mud, and other indications of a possible debris flow.
  8. Listen for sounds that indicate moving debris, such as trees cracking.
  9. After the mudslide, stay away from the affected areas and watch for flooding that can happen after a mudslide event.

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