How to Prepare for Rockslides in San Pedro

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by Daniel McClain on Jan 31, 2018

When you live near or on hills, slopes, or mountains, a major risk can be rockslides due to flooding or earthquakes. Rockslides, or landslides, are when rock, mud, dirt, and earth start to flow down a slope. Yearly, these events cause $3.5 billion in damage and kill between 25-50 people. If you live in a place like San Pedro, there is a risk for rockslides, and it is important to be prepared for them.

What to do Before a Rockslide

Before a rockslide, it is important to prepare yourself, and your home. One of the most important things you can do is learn about the geology and possibility of rockslides in your area. If you do live near or on a slope, look for signs of potential risk. These risks can include new cracks in the surface, bulges, unusual seepage of water on the slope, or smaller rockslides or landslides. If you do see any of these signs of risk, contact the Emergency Management Department 213-484-4800.

To help prevent rockslides, don’t drain your pool or otherwise increase water flow down steep slopes. If water is introduced into an already unstable slope, it will increase the likelihood of a rockslide happening.

While preparing for a potential rockslide, it is important to also look into protecting your home through insurance. Most general insurance options do not provide coverage for rockslides. Even with home insurance that covers fire, flood, and earthquake damage, it might not provide coverage for rockslides. While you are preparing, make sure you reach out to our team at Insurance Center Associates to see if we can help you qualify for rockslide coverage.

During a Rockslide

Rockslides typically happen during severe storms or earthquakes. During those times, stay alert and awake, and listen to local news for warnings and announcements. It is also important to pay attention to your surroundings. Listen for unusual sounds that might indicate that something higher up a slope is moving. This can include trees cracking or boulders knocking together.

If you are outside during events that can cause a rockslide, treat the event like a flood. Avoid river valleys and low lying areas, and quickly try to find higher ground. If you are near a stream channel, be very cautious. Pay attention to the water flow. If it changes from clear to muddy, immediately evacuate the area. If you are driving during those events that can cause a rockslide, be aware of the road conditions and watch for collapsed pavement, mud, or fallen rocks.

If you see a rockslide, do not approach it. Try to get to higher ground as fast as possible. Rockslides might look like a flash flood; however, they are full of mud, gravel, trees, rocks, and boulders. If you are trapped and are unable to avoid the rockslide, curl into a tight ball and try to protect your head as much as possible.

After a Rockslide

Once a rockslide is finished, continue to avoid the area of the slide. Although the initial slide is over, the ground is still unstable, and a secondary slide could happen. Continue to listen to local news and announcements for any additional emergency information. With the slide complete, reach out to those around you. It is important to check on those who may require special assistance including the elderly, families with younger children, and people with disabilities.

It is also important to check building foundations, chimneys, and surrounding land for damage. If there are any signs of damage, seek advice from experts. Do not put yourself in danger by entering a structure that appears damaged or unsafe. If you feel your home is unsafe, text SHELTER + your zip code to 43362 (4FEMA) to find the nearest shelter in your area. For example: SHELTER 90731.

Rockslides and landslides are a destructive force that can be triggered by earthquakes and floods. Although they can be destructive, they can also be prepared for. In that preparation, make sure to reach out to your insurance agent to make sure your home is covered by rockslide or landslide insurance. Just like with flood or fire insurance, rockslide or landslide insurance can cover the damages to your property in a catastrophic event like a rockslide. 

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