Landslides occur when rock, dirt, and other debris move or fall down a slope. A landslide also may be called a “debris flow” or a “mudslide,” which flows through channels saturated with water. Landslides may be caused by storms, earthquakes, fires, volcanic eruptions, freezing and thawing cycles, erosion, or man-made construction. They can be small, large, slow, or rapid as well as extremely destructive.



How to Prepare

  • Stay informed. If you live anywhere near a steep slope, mountain edge, drainage ways, or natural erosion valley, be aware of the potential for landslides.

  • Verify and update official contact information in the Marine Corps Enterprise Mass Notification System (eMNS), and register all cell phones, home phone, email addresses, etc. in eMNS. 

  • Make a written family evacuation plan.

  • Make a written family communication plan in case family members are separated.

  • Have flexible drainage pipes installed to minimize the risk of leaks.

  • Consult your insurance agent and make sure you are covered. Debris flow may be covered by flood insurance policies from the National Flood Insurance Program (NFIP)

  • Build retaining walls to divert flow. Make sure the flow is not diverted into someone else’s property.

  • Plant ground cover on slopes to diminish the momentum of flow.

  • Build an emergency kit



Know the Warning Signs

  • Changes in your landscape such as patterns of storm water drainage on slopes, land movement, small slides, flows, or progressively leaning trees.

  • Doors or windows stick or jam for the first time.

  • New cracks appear in plaster, tile, brick, or foundations.

  • Outside walls, walks, or stairs begin pulling away from the building.

  • Slowly developing, widening cracks appear on the ground or on paved areas such as streets or driveways.

  • Underground utility lines break.

  • Bulging ground appears at the base of a slope.

  • Water breaks through the ground surface in new locations.

  • Fences, retaining walls, utility poles, or trees tilt or move.

  • A faint rumbling sound that increas­es in volume is noticeable as the landslide nears.

  • The ground slopes downward in one direction and may begin shifting in that direction under your feet.

  • Unusual sounds, such as trees cracking or boulders knocking together, might indicate moving debris.

  • Collapsed pavement, mud, fallen rocks, and other indications of possible debris flow can be seen when driving.



What to do if there is a Landslide

  • If you suspect a landslide is imminent:

  • Stay tuned to the radio and TV or call the local emergency departments to determine the risk and get further instructions.

  • Evacuate (if it is safe to do so) to ensure that you are out of the path of the landslide.

  • During a landslide, if you have not already evacuated, try to get as far away from the path of the landslide as possible.

  • If you are unable to move out of the path of the landslide, curl into a tight ball and cover your head to provide the best protection for your body.

  • Once you are in a safe place, muster with your command if you are military or civilian personnel or a member of the selective reserves.



What to do after a Landslide

  • Stay away from the slide area, as there may be danger of additional slides.

  • Stay tuned to radio, TV, and eMNS alerts for further information and instructions.

  • Be aware of the possibility of and report to authorities any flooding, broken utility lines, and damaged roads or railways.

  • Check for injured or trapped people near the slide, but do not enter the slide to help.

  • Direct rescue personnel to those trapped in the slide area.

  • When you are told it is safe to return to the slide area, check buildings for structural damage before entering.

  • Replant damaged ground as soon as possible.


Set your own course through any hazard: stay informed, make a plan, build a kit. Live Ready Marine Corps.