What To Do: Volcanic Preparedness Tips

Photo credit: Associated Press

Over the last few weeks, Hawaii has dealt with repeated eruptions and fissures from Kilauea, one of the most active volcanoes on Earth. Residents and visitors have been exposed to clouds of ash, lava, solid rocks and now “laze,” a toxic combination of steam, gas and small shards of glass. As Hawaii continues to reel from Kilauea, we’re reminded of the importance of disaster preparedness. If you live, work or regularly vacation near a volcanic site, check out our safety tips to take before, during and after an eruption occurs:

  • Plan ahead: Talk through your volcano response plan with family members or, if you’re a business owner, employees and create an emergency kit with a battery-operated weather radio, flashlight, fire extinguisher, goggles and approved dust masks to protect against dangerous ashfall or gases.
  • Stay informed: After an eruption, listen to your NOAA weather radio or local television stations for updated emergency information and evacuation instructions. If you are asked to evacuate, let friends, family members or employers once you have reached a safe location.
  • Obey instructions: Always follow authorities instructions for evacuations to avoid lava, flying debris and other hazards. Only return to the impacted residence or business when officials say it is safe. If asked to remain indoors, close all windows, doors, chimneys, vents and air conditioning systems to prevent volcanic ash from entering buildings.
  • Avoid contact: If spending time outdoors, stay clear of low-lying areas and locations downwind from the volcano and its associated debris or ash. If caught outside in ashfall, seek shelter immediately and put on your goggles and approved dust mask.
  • Be cautious: Never drive in heavy ashfall conditions. This can cause your vehicle to slide; damage its bearings, brakes or transmissions; or increase your exposure to potentially harmful materials. If people around you are injured, always check the scene first to ensure its safe for you to approach and provide first-aid until emergency responders arrive.

Need help preparing your employees or workplace for a potential volcanic event? Contact CTEH at 501-801-8500 or webquestion@cteh.com.