Preparing for Volcanoes


Volcanoes generate a wide variety of phenomena that can alter the earth’s surface and atmosphere endangering people and property.

Volcanic dangers include not only an eruption of a mountain and associated lava flows, but also ashfall and debris flows. If you are near a mountain range, be familiar with the following.


Before a volcanic eruption:

  • Plan ahead. Have emergency supplies, food and water stored.
  • Plan an evacuation route away from rivers or streams that may carry mud or debris flow.
  • Keep a battery operated radio available at all times.
  • If there is an eruption predicted, monitor the radio, TV or NOAA Weather Radio for evacuation information.
  • Follow the advice given by the authorities.


After a volcanic eruption:

  • Evacuate if advised to do so.
  • Be prepared to stay indoors and avoid downwind areas if ashfall is predicted.
  • Do not approach the eruption area.
  • Be aware of stream and river channels when evacuating.
  • Move toward higher ground if mudflows are approaching.

Be prepared for ashfall generated from volcanoes:

  • Have dust masks available.
  • Close doors, windows and dampers. Place damp towels at door thresholds and other draft sources.
  • Put stoppers in tops of your drainpipes.
  • Protect dust-sensitive electronics.
  • Keep roofs free of ash in excess of 4 inches.
  • Remove outdoor clothing before entering a building.
  • Wash vegetables from the garden before eating.
  • If ash is in the water, let it settle before drinking.
  • Use a battery-operated radio to receive information.
  • Keep children and pets indoors.
  • Minimize travel — ash may be harmful to your vehicle.
  • Frequently change oil and air filters in your automobile.

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