CHIEF’S CORNER: MUD FLOW/EROSION SAFETY TIPS—STORMS COMING!

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By Sam DiGiovanna

January 2, 2017 (San Diego) -- The National Weather Service (NWS) is forecasting the possibility of significant storm beginning next Saturday. The NWS is reporting that an Atmospheric River (a narrow corridor of concentrated moisture in the atmosphere) may reach southern California Saturday.

This may produce more rain than we have seen in decades. Start thinking ahead to prepare.

Recent fires? Be aware that areas hit by wildfires have an increased risk of landslides and mudflows once the rainy season starts.

Be prepared to evacuate Listen to local authorities and leave if you are told to evacuate.

Where would we go? Decide in advance where you would go in case you can’t return home for weeks or months.

Inspect - Look around home and property for landslide warning signs:

  • Cracks or bumps appear on hill slopes, ground or roads
  • Water or saturated ground in areas not normally wet
  • Evidence of slow, downhill movement of rock and soil
  • Tilted trees, poles, decks, patios, fences or walls
  • Doors and windows stick or cracks appear on walls, etc.

During a mudflow or landslide: Listen for trees cracking, rocks banging together or water flowing rapidly (especially if near a stream or river) - debris flow may be close by.

Move it! Whether you are in a vehicle, outside, or in your home – GET TO SAFER GROUND!

Be small - If there is no way to escape, curl into a tight ball and protect your head the best you can.

AFTER A LANDSLIDE OR MUDFLOW:

Listen
- Local radio and TV reports will keep you posted on latest updates or check with your local police or fire departments.


Things to watch for:

  • Flooding - usually occur after landslides or debris flow
  • Damaged areas - roadways and bridges may be buried, washed-out or weakened -- and water, gas & sewer lines may be broken
  • Downed power lines - report them to power company

Inspect - Look for damage around home and property and watch for new landslide warning signs:

  •  Check foundation, chimney, garage and other structures
  • Report any broken utility lines or damaged roads to local authorities
  • Watch for tilted trees, poles, decks, patios, fences or walls
  • Notice doors or windows stick, cracks appear, etc.

For additional safety information contact your local fire department or visit: https://www.lacounty.gov/files/RAIN%20FLOOD%20SAFETY_phbs_2012.pdf

Fire Chief Sam DiGiovanna

*Note: The information in this article was compiled from various sources. These suggestions are not a complete list of every preventative or loss control measure. The information is not intended to replace additional safety manuals or the advice of another qualified professional(s). We make no guarantee of results from use of this information. We assume no liability in connection with the information nor the suggestions made.