Erratic and unpredictable weather, has seen the rise of mudslide disasters around the world. Thousands of people have died and property worth millions of dollars has been damaged. With a little foresight, you can take precautions to mitigate the effects of mudslides on your business and staff.
Mudslide Prone Areas
Some places are more prone to mudslides than others. Hard bedrock and stable land, away from hill slopes are generally considered to be safe from mudslides. Before locating your business, investigate whether there has been any mudslide activity in the general area. This information can be had from the State’s geological survey office.
If the place you intend locating your business is in a mudslide prone area, then seeking professional help is a prudent step. Professionals who are experts in site stability can be helpful in your decision making process. Most state survey offices can help you in locating professionals who have expertise in the field of mudslides. The mudslide may not be prevented, but you can take steps to reduce its impact to a minimum.
Mudslide Warning Signs
Mudslides do not occur out of the blue. The areas that are prone to mudslides give obvious or at least subtle warnings that it is a dangerous area. Signs to watch out for are:
- Buckling of roads, sidewalks, unusual land movement etc.
- Water inundated areas and springs.
- Soil being displaced from building foundations.
- Trees, fences, telephone poles etc. which are leaning.
- Jammed doors and windows due to deformities in the frame because of shifting earth.
Some possible methods to reduce the impact of mudslides
- Diverting the mud flow
- Getting professional advice when building in mudslide zones
- Landscaping – plant roots help hold soil in place
If the property is properly landscaped, the damage due to mudslides can be kept to a minimum. Near buildings, no plants should be allowed to grow taller than 18 inches. Large trees and plants near the building could break loose during a mudslide and cause severe damage. Ensure that plants are well looked after and healthy. Barren ground should be planted with appropriate plants. Plant roots help bind the soil and keep it stable.
By using concrete trap bags, lumber and sandbags, flowing mud can be diverted away from your building. Ensure that the diversion you create does not endanger other buildings. Never block a mud flow as it may create a far more dangerous situation which could cause much more damage. In a severe storm, if the threat from mudslides is imminent, then board all windows and doors to prevent debris entering the building.
In mudslide prone areas, it is best to consult Geo-technical engineers and civil engineering companies to design buildings which can withstand mudslides. Though this is a costly option, it will pay off over time.
Some of the steps that can be taken are:
- Installing flexible gas and water pipes if local codes permit
- Keep the furnace, electric panels and water heaters at an elevated location
- Increase insurance cover for the building and property
In spite of all these precautions, a mudslide can cause a disaster to your business. A good business manager will have a disaster recovery plan in place. See stayinbusiness.com. This will help the business to restart operations in the shortest possible time, even if the building is damaged and/or key personnel are incapacitated.