What to Do When... There's a Landslide


Landslides occur in all 50 states and cause $1-2 billion in damage annually. The February 2013 landslide in Arizona caused an estimated $40 million in repairs and rendered a portion of a major highway useless.

The most common trigger of a landslide is water. When heavy rains occur, the particles in the earth are loosened and may start to flow, producing a landslide. Other common causes include earthquakes, wildfires and volcanoes.

Below we've compiled lists of landslide warning signs and what to do during and after a landslide.

Landslide Warning Signs


Landslides can happen quickly, often with little notice. The best way to prepare is to look for the following warning signs:
  • New cracks in parking lots or sidewalks
  • Tilting or cracking of concrete floors/foundations
  • Leaning telephone poles or trees
  • Saturated ground in areas that are not normally wet
  • Unusual bulges in the ground

During a Landslide


If your business encounters a landslide, follow these safety tips:
  • Contact local police and fire departments to notify them of a landslide.
  • Listen to local radio/news for updates on debris flow.
  • If evacuation is a safe possibility, evacuate all employees; if not, alert employees to curl up and protect their heads.
  • Listen for any sounds that may indicate moving debris, such as trees cracking or boulders knocking against each other.
  • Be extremely cautious if driving. Watch the road for cracked pavement and be aware of falling rocks.

After a Landslide

  • Anticipate flooding, which may occur after a landslide or debris flow.
  • Alert your local utility service of any broken utility/power lines near your building.
  • Stay away from the landslide area. Move employees to an alternate work environment to continue business operations.


For more safety tips about the hazards surrounding landslides, check out our post "What to Do When... There's a Flash Flood."