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Rich Fleetwood on Survival & Preparedness - Founded/Established 1997

THREATS: Mudslide Survival …24 dead, 176 missing in Washington state

Source: doomandbloom.net

  • By: Joe Alton, M.D., aka Dr. Bones
  • Posted on: March 25, 2014

 

Video update from USAToday.com EDT March 25, 2014

With the grim news of at least 24 dead in the mudslide that occurred in the state of Washington, I realized that I had never written about mudslide survival.  This surprised me, as I, myself, could easily be a victim of one.  We’re part-time residents of beautiful Gatlinburg, Tennessee, with a home on a mountain overlooking the town and the Great Smoky Mountains National Park.  As such, we live on a slope. How much of a slope? Let’s just say you wouldn’t want to fall off our deck (and not just because of our resident black bear).

The mudslide in Washington was huge, about a mile wide with an extensive debris field. In some places, the debris is 30 feet thick.  Our thanks, by the way, to the emergency personnel who tirelessly dug survivors from the wreckage.

A mudslide, sometimes called a “debris flow”, is a landslide with a high water content. Mudslides act like a river that, if the mud is thick, has the consistency of wet concrete. Mud, rocks, trees, and other large objects are carried along and can cause homes to collapse and a huge amount of traumatic injury to residents.   In the U.S., 25-50 deaths occur on average as a result of landslides.

Periods of heavy rainfall or snow melt saturate the ground and cause instability in sloping areas. Areas prone to earthquakes, hurricanes, wildfires, and other natural disasters are especially susceptible. Humans contribute to this susceptibility with poor planning: Roads cut into hills and mountains and scenic mountain retreats (like ours!) make mudslides more likely. River or brookside retreats at the base of a hill or mountain (in the “holler”, as we say in Tennessee) are also vulnerable.

PREVENTATIVE MEASURES

mudslide1

HOMES ARE VULNERABLE EVEN IF THEY’RE NOT ON SLOPES

Before building that dream home: 

  • Beware of steep slopes, natural or man-made runoff conduits, or eroded areas.
  • Have the county Geological Survey specialist assess your property for possible mudslide risk.
  • Consider flexible pipe fittings (installed by pros) less prone to gas or water leaks.
  • Consider building a retaining wall in likely mudslide channels.
  • Avoid areas that have experienced mudslides in the past.
  • Plan out an evacuation route.
  • Have a battery-powered NOAA weather radio.
  • Have a medical kit with items to deal with both traumatic injury and water sterilization.

WARNING SIGNS

Mudslide prone areas will begin to show signs that trouble is on the way:

  • Cracks develop in walls, flooring, paving, driveways, or foundations.
  • Outside structures (for example, stairs) begin to separate from buildings
  • Doors and windows start becoming jammed.
  • Utility lines start breaking.
  • Fences, trees, and utility poles start tilting.
  • Water starts accumulating in strange places
  • Roads and embankments along slopes start breaking off at the edges.
  • The Terrain starts to “bulge” or starts slanting at the base of the slope.

DURING THE EVENT

mudslide2

  • Turn on the NOAA radio and listen to warnings as they are reported.
  • Warn your neighbors!
  • If a mudslide is imminent, get the heck out of there if at all possible with the understanding that roads may be washed out.  Stay away from mudslide areas; further mudslides may still occur.
  • If you stay home, get to the second story if you have one.
  • Watch for and avoid downed power lines.
  • As the slide passes through, get under a table and curl into a ball, protecting your head.
  • If you’re trapped in the mud, survival rates go up if you can form an air pocket around you.  You can survive with water for 3-4 days if you had to.

<

p>Mudslides are just another reason why it’s important to be prepared, in every way, for the slings and arrows that the uncertain future may hold for you and your family.

Joe Alton, M.D., aka Dr. Bones

Read the rest of this article and find other worthy stories by visiting doomandbloom.net

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Updated: March 28, 2014 — 7:58 pm

The Author

Rich Fleetwood

Rich is the founder of SurvivalRing, now in it's 20th year, author of multimedia CDs and DVDs, loves the outdoors, his family, his geeky skill-set, and lives in rural Missouri, just a few miles from the Big Muddy. Always ready to help others, he shares what he learns on multiple blogs, social sites, and more. With a background in preparedness and survival skills, training with county, state, and national organizations, and skills in all areas of media and on air experience in live radio and television, Rich is always thinking about the "big picture", when it comes to helping individuals and families prepare for life's little surprises. Since 1997, he has provided guidance, authentic government survival history, and commentary on why we all need to get ready for that fateful day in the future, when we have to get our hands dirty and step in to save the day. He is an award winning videographer (2005 Telly Award), has received state and national scholarly recognition (2006 New Century Scholar and All USA Academic Team), and is a natural with computers, technology, gadgets, small furry mammals, and anything on wheels. Rich likes making friends, solving problems, and creating solutions to everyday issues. He doesn't mind mixing things up, when there is a teaching moment ready to happen. As a constitutional conservative, he's staying quite busy these days. The SurvivalRing Radio Show at www.survivalringradio.com will be coming back SOON!

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