Table of Contents
What is a Landslide?
A landslide is the downward movement of earth surfaces including soil, rocks, and debris. These most often occur on the sides of steep hills or mountains and can often follow heavy rainfall or snowmelt. Additionally, landslides can occur secondary to other natural disasters like a volcanic eruption or earthquakes. According to the United States Geological Survey, landslides are responsible for $1 billion dollars of damage annually in the US alone, and result in several deaths a year.
Before a Landslide Occurs
If you are living in an area with a higher risk of landslide activity, it is important that regular inspections of your home and property are done to identify early signs of a landslide threat. Additionally adhering to building and groundskeeping recommendations will help keep your personal home and loved ones safe. Retaining walls and ground cover plants can be a helpful way of minimizing erosion.
Know the Warning Signs
Be aware of changes to your land and home that can be suggestive of a future landslide. Examples of noticeable changes may include new cracks in your sidewalk, tilting of decks, or new foundation cracks. Additionally, if previously dry ground is now showing water retention or dampness, this could indicate a risk of a landslide.
Additional warning signs include:
- Visibly leaning trees, powerlines and fences
- Audible noises suggesting falling debris or damage to trees
- Collapsed roadways
- Soil moving away from foundations
Having copies of your pet’s medical history is incredibly important. These documents can be helpful if your pet needs emergency care following a natural disaster like a landslide. In a folder, you should consider keeping a copy of your pet’s vaccine history, current medication list and recent lab work. Additionally, if your pet is microchipped, include their microchip number in the folder along with a detailed photograph of your pet. Having this information readily available could help provide proof of ownership if a substantial landslide separated you and your beloved pet.
Have an Evacuation Plan
It isn’t as important to have a direct route of exit planned, as this could change. More so, it is important to know where you would try to go, and where you would stay. Reach out to family and friends to establish who would be willing to shelter you and your beloved pet if you are unable to return home. If you are unable to leave your home, know the safest place to be within your home, which is typically on the highest level or underneath a strong piece of furniture.
Collect Pet Necessities
In the event of a natural disaster, it is important to have appropriate pet care items on hand. Things to ensure that you have include a leash (avoid retractable leashes), identification tags with appropriate contact information, collar, harness, food and water. If you have a feline companion, having an appropriate carrier and litter box is a necessity. Pet owners should consider having a Pet Emergency Kit within their home that has these items already collected and ready to go in case of an emergency.
During a Landslide
During a storm that entails heavy rainfall or after a natural disaster like an earthquake, stay awake and alert. Listen for sounds that may indicate moving debris. If you can safely evacuate reach a safer location, you should do so. Avoid low lying areas like valleys. If you are unable to leave your home, the second floor is safer than being on ground level.
Keep Your Pet in Close Proximity
If possible, have your pet in an easy to maneuver pet carrier. If this is not possible, ensure that your pet is connected to a secure leash lessening the chances of separation.
After a Landslide
Be Aware of Residual Threats
As you and your pet evacuate or approach an area of a recent landslide, it is important to watch for residual hazards. This can include downed power lines, flooding, and debris. If possible, avoid going to the site of a recent landslide. Report any powerline damage or gas leaks to authorities.
Seek Veterinary Care
Inspect your pet for signs of injury. Look at the bottoms of their feet as this is a common location for injury. Lacerations are common injuries that may occur secondary to a natural disaster that has caused an influx of debris. If injuries are noted, seek veterinary care as soon as possible as your petmay need antibiotics, bandaging or possibly even surgery depending on their ailments.
Try to Minimize Stress
When a disaster occurs, stress is often felt not just by humans, but also by their beloved animal counterparts. As you are trying to rebuild and establish normalcy again, try to address signs of stress in your pet. Stress in pets can look like:
- Change in behavior
- Hiding or over attachment
- Decreased appetite
- Gastrointestinal signs
Although you may not immediately be able to improve stress in your pet, providing them with physical reassurance can be helpful. Additionally, trying to provide your pet with familiar smells and taste can be helpful. If stress and anxiety become excessive, your pet may benefit from prescription medication available through your veterinarian.
When disaster strikes, things seem out of your control. Knowing what to do in the face of a natural disaster like a landslide will help you and your pet cope better with unfamiliar scenarios. It is imperative you have pet necessities readily available for your pet and seek veterinary care if they have endured injury. Although we cannot prevent natural phenomena like landslides, being prepared will help you and your beloved companions to safely navigate through unknown situations.