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EPW 2009 - Preparing for Landslides

Laurissa Anyas-Weiss, content producer

May 4, 2009 — Landslides, when they occur, are always destructive and can be deadly. In BC, landslides are a significant hazard.

Research shows that heavy rain storms are a significant cause of landslides. Four years ago after a severe rain storm triggered a deadly landslide in North Vancouver, the region installed an early detection system. The system monitors the duration and intensity of rain storms. If a storm similar to the one that caused the landslide is detected, homes are evacuated.

According to experts there are two ways to prepare for a landslide: protect your property and prevention.

If rain and snow are triggers then ensure there is good drainage so the water will run off easily.

The location of the property in relation to the slope is important. The further away the better; however, that is not always possible. Property owners can build protective structures such as nets or berms to catch debris before it hits their homes. Another option is to dig special channels to divert the slide away from property.

One of the most important things homeowners can do is look for signs the ground is shifting. The ground will usually move around before it gives way suddenly. Cracks in the sidewalk, driveway or even in the walls of the house can be signs that the ground is shifting and a landslide could happen.

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