What to Do when a Volcano Erupts
In recent years volcanoes have been quite active and we know of famous cases of eruptions and ash clouds that have paralyzed air traffic and affected thousands of people. Thanks to current monitoring technologies it is difficult for a volcanic eruption to catch us off guard but if you live near a volcano or plan a vacation somewhere near a crater it is important that you to know what to do when a volcano erupts.
Is there a volcano eruption warning in a Volcano area you're close to? Before the awakening of a volcano it is important to stay informed, be aware of what authorities say to know whether evacuation will take place.
Make sure you have a battery powered radio in case electricity is cut off.
Always follow the instructions of the authorities and if they announce an evacuation do not resist this order. It is important to plan where you and your family can go in evacuation cases, take contact telephone numbers of where we are heading and prepare an emergency plan. When being evacuated carry drinking water, food, a radio, flash light and batteries; being prepared is important.
Before leaving your home turn of all supply mains to prevent leaks that could damage your property in the event of an eruption occurring.
Should volcanic ash cover the area where you live it is important to seal the doors and windows of your home with bags to prevent ash falling in. You should only leave the house if strictly necessary. Try to protect your eyes with glasses and your mouth with a wet handkerchief mask.
If you must drive due to an emergency or evacuation do so slowly to avoid stirring up ash that could affect your vehicle's engine. Prepare a plan and know the escape routes. If you live near a well-researched and well-supervised volcano you can probably get hold of a risk map. These maps show the likely paths of lava flows and lahars (debris flows) and give estimates for the minimum flow time needed to reach a particular place.
Make sure you stay away from bridges when driving away from a volcano eruption. Rivers and valleys can be filled with mudflows and flash floods.
If the volcano erupts stay away from the lava, even one that seems dry or solid, never walk on it and avoid being near rivers and canals as they are good conductors of magma. Avoid inhalation of poisonous gases. Volcanoes emit a series of deadly gases. If you are close to one when it erupts these gases can kill in less than a minute. Breathes through a respirator, mask or a piece of damp cloth.
Always follow the instructions of the authorities, they are the experts and their advice could make the difference between life and death.
If you are amid a volcano eruption, it's vitally important to contact the local Red Cross and find the nearest shelter. Do not stay home, as this could be worse.
Learn how to prepare for a tornado or hurricane too.
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- If a volcano becomes active the most important thing is to stay informed about its status.
- If authorities ask you to evacuate follow their recommendations
- Develop an emergency plan with your family to be prepared for any eventualities