In the river valleys and floodplains of New Brunswick, the risk of flooding is high because of ice jams, spring thaw and harsh weather. For some more information on what to do in the case of flooding, feel free to check out our posts covering the topic a few weeks ago: Emergency Preparedness in Saskatchewan or Emergency Preparedness in Alberta.
Landslides are a related risk, and because they may be less common, they are not talked about very often. Being prepared can still make a powerful difference, and so we’re here to share a few landslide facts with you:
What causes a landslide?
There are a few factors. A landslide occurs when a slope is unstable to an extent where the strength of gravity (or other forces acting down-slope) exceeds the strength of the materials composing the slope. There are different types of movement, such as flows, topples, spreads, slides and flows, which can be made up of bedrock, debris or earth. Some of the causes for these movements are:
- changes in water level
- stream erosion
- changes in groundwater
- volcanic activity
- disturbance by human activity
- often a combination of some of the above!
How can you prepare for a landslide?
Landslides can pose a significant threat to humans, infrastructure and natural resources, so as well as being prepared, it is ideal to seek avoidance altogether, if at all possible.
- Communities can identify (with expert help) unstable slopes and restrict development or construction in these areas.
- Drainage can be improved, in hazard zones.
- The angle of the slope can be reduced.
- The top of the slope can be unloaded through excavation.
- A protective wall can be built to fortify the bottom of the slope.
- Catchment dams and containment basins can be created, where avoidance is impossible.
- Chutes and channels can be created, to redirect debris or mud flow.
- Nets and walls can be built, to protect roadways.
For those of us seeking to protect our homes, it’s best to know a little about the area we’re living in, and find out about the probability of a landslide happening in our neighbourhood. It’s always best to avoid actions that could increase instability–such as undercutting steep banks, or building on the edge of them, at the top. If you live near a slope, it’s wise to monitor it regularly, keeping an eye out for cracks, bulges, unusual seepage, or even small sediment falls.
If you do notice anything out of the ordinary like this it’s best to notify your municipal authorities, and get expert opinion and advice. Sometimes, the only thing left to do is evacuate, and in this case it’s ideal to be able to grab your emergency kit quickly, on your way out the door.
Ideally, your household will also have talked through an emergency plan, and have each other’s contact information as well.
For more information on landslides, have a read through Canada’s Natural Resources website.
Article contributed by Sophie Wooding – Avid gardener and cyclist in Victoria, BC and Content Writer for Frontier.io