Volcanic eruptions are one of the powerful disasters nature can bring. Volcanic eruptions are catastrophic enough that it can wipe out several towns in a few hours. They can also cause temporary changes in the Earth’s climate.
Volcanologists are the scientists who study volcanoes. They predict the possibility of a volcanic eruption as well as the severity. However, Volcanologists can not always exactly forecast when and where the next volcanic eruption will occur. That is why, it is important to know the basics in on how to prepare for an emergency volcanic eruption.
1. First, you need to be at least familiar with the terms associated with volcanic eruptions. These will be very helpful in understanding news about volcanic eruptions.
Volcanic ash refers to small dust particles or large pieces of rocks which are erupted to the air and carried down together with volcanic gases. These volcanic ashes can corrode metals, decompose fabrics, clog machineries, block water intakes and drains, and of course kill vegetation.
Pyroclastic flows are those streams of molten volcanic rocks. These flow at hurricane velocity. Because of their high temperature and speed, they can destroy everything in their path.
2. Coordinate with your local emergency team to check for any areas in your region which are prone to pyroclastic flows and volcanic ash.
3. If the volcano is starting to show some signs of eruption, do not go anywhere near it. As mentioned above, Volcanologists could not precisely predict the time a volcano may erupt. You can get immediately killed by a sudden eruption.
4. Follow your local government’s advise when they say you need to evacuate. You should avoid lower areas, especially to those places downwind. Although high infrastructures, such as tall buildings can offer protection from volcanic ash, these are not enough shelter for rock debris and lava flows.
5. As much as possible, do cross a bridge because of the danger caused by mudflows. If you need to cross bridges, look upstream first and ensure that no mudflow is approaching. Take note that mudflows move faster than you can ever run.
6. If the volcano has started emitting volcanic ash, do not go outside until the ash has settled. Also, avoid opening any windows and doors in the house.
7. Once the air is clear, immediately remove any volcanic ash which may have settled on your rain gutters and roofs. Volcanic ash can be disastrous if they have thickly accumulated on your rooftops. In addition, these can cause severe respiratory diseases, especially to infants and old people with lung problems.
8. If you need to drive, avoid areas which have already been heavily covered with dust. Maintain a speed slower than 30 mph.
9. Of course, you need to prepare enough food and water to last for several days. You would also need spare batteries and dust masks. You can use extra clothing to cover your head and thin cloths to breathe with.
When news of volcanic eruption is out, be sure that you are always prepared wherever you maybe. Arm yourselves with enough knowledge to reduce the great impact that a volcanic eruption have. Always listen to the radio for updates and advice on how you can safely overcome this disaster.
Volcanic eruption preparations do not stop after the volcano has erupted. Once the disaster is over, there are a lot of cleanup operations needed. Recovering from a volcanic eruption takes a long time. Cooperation within your community is needed.