Do you know how to survive a volcanic eruption?
If you’re looking for information on how to prepare for one, you’re in the right place. In this Volcano Survival Guide, we cover how to prepare and survive the most devastating natural disasters that occur on planet Earth.
One of the common questions on volcanoes is “How do you stay safe during a volcanic eruption?”
Here’s the answer:
Don’t be there or anywhere near it.
I know, not the best answer or what you want to hear. But it’s true. You’re in for a world of chaos if you’re in the radius of an eruption.
If you’ve ever seen Dante’s Peak, you might know what I mean. But since you’re here, you probably want a better answer on how to prepare and survive a volcanic explosion.
Volcano Preparedness 101
First, go through this SlideShare, it contains some basic information and guidelines about volcanoes.
The Science of Volcanoes
To best prepare for survival, like anything else. We want to educate ourselves at least on the basics of how things work and why they happen. We’ll then use this knowledge to prepare.
A volcanic eruption is up to 500 times more powerful than an atomic bomb.
Pressure from molten rock builds inside the earth, it can erupt through an opening in the earth surface.
Gasses lava debris explode into the atmosphere. Tens of thousands of tons per minute.
Lava is what molten rock is called when it reaches the earth’s surface.
The odds of a volcano erupting are slim. Although there are signs of an upcoming eruption. Even though “upcoming” could still mean that an eruption is hundreds of years away.
The impact of a volcanic eruption has the potential to completely change the shape of the earth around it.
Interesting Facts About Volcanoes
Up to 500 times more powerful than atomic bomb detonations.
There are 169 potentially active volcanoes
Wet ash can weigh up to 22 lbs per square foot when wet.
Visit this page by DoSomething for 11 more facts about volcanoes.
Types of Volcanoes
There are three general types of volcanoes.
- Cinder Cones
There are four types of volcanic eruptions:
- Strombolian eruptions
- Vulcanian eruptions
- Plinian eruptions
- Pelean eruptions
What Is The Most Dangerous Type of Volcano?
There are different kinds of volcanoes and they are not all created equal. Cinder Cone Volcanoes are considered to be the most dangerous and destructive. They have a cone shape and they tend to cause more mayhem and damage because they explode when they erupt.
Top 5 Deadliest Eruptions in History
This video below goes over the 5 deadliest volcanic eruptions in history.
Even volcanoes have debris. There are different kinds of debris they produce when they erupt, we’ll cover them below.
When a volcano erupts, there are different types of materials and objects that consume the atmosphere around the volcano that make the entire environment a very dangerous place.
- Tiny particles rock and glass
- Volcanic bombs
A bomb made from a volcano sounds just like it is, terrifying.
Reach up to 100 miles an hour
50-70 Volcanoes erupt every year.
Curl up into a ball and protect your head. Similar to being attacked by a bear.
Keep below the ridge so the hills can offer some protection.
Never cross an active lava flow.
How To Prepare
Now that you have to information on Volcanoes and how they work. Now we can develop our preparedness plan for survival in case the mountain decides to blow.
One of the ways on how to prepare yourself for a volcanic eruption is by educating yourself on what happens before, during, and after an eruption so you’re prepared for every phase of the disaster.
Craft Your Emergency Plan
Like with any other disaster and survival situation, we want to craft a plan ahead of time to best prepare for it.
For more information on developing a volcano emergency plan, visit here.
Volcano Survival Kit
As with any potential disaster, we want to pack a survival kit specifically for the potential disaster so we have everything we need and aren’t rushing to find supplies when it’s too late.
If you live in a Volcano zone, you’ll want to prepare a survival kit.
The CDC recommends to always have these supplies.
- Flashlight and extra batteries
- First aid kit and manual
- Emergency food and water
- Manual (nonelectric) can opener
- Essential medicines
- Sturdy shoes
- Respiratory (breathing) protection
- Eye protection (goggles)
- Battery-powered radio
Know you’re towns evacuation plan for Volcano emergencies.
Every town that is in a Volcano zone has an emergency evacuation plan for such cases. Get you’re towns plan, print it out and keep it in a place where it’s easily accessible.
How To Survive
If you find yourself having to live through an eruption. Then there’s not much you can do to get away from it if you’re already in it. Chances are you’ll be trapped inside the affected area of the eruption due to traffic, etc.
So what do you do? Here’s what to do for the best chances of survival.
Listen For The Roar
Landslides usually produce a massive sound that is unmistakable.
Breathing strategies during survival situations and disasters are underrated. More on that later. A note on breathing if you’re in the atmosphere of a nearby eruption. Don’t breathe the ash.
Ash inhalation Symptoms include:
- Shortness of breath
Shelter is one of the rules in the survival rule of threes, if you’re in the blast zone of an eruption, shelter becomes your top priority.
The best way to describe the importance of shelter is when you’re within the radius of an eruption comes from none other than Chicken Little.
The sky is falling!
Indeed the sky will seem as if it was falling. You can’t be outside without shelter. Shelter being a strong sturdy robust area of protection over your head. Even if you do have protection hovering over your head, you’re still vulnerable.
Let’s not forget what happened in the movie Dante’s Peak.
Taking Shelter In Your Car
If you have a choice between being outside and in your car choose your car. Just know that it won’t be the best scenario to be safe in from the volcanic ash.
If you do find yourself taking shelter in a car, make sure you:
Seal out ash and gases close and tape windows, doors vent shafts
- Turn off heating and air conditioners
- Keep the windows closed shut.
- Do not use the AC. It will bring in the fumes and ash from the outside.
- Don’t drive on ash-covered roads. The ash will clog up your car’s mechanics.
- If you must drive to avoid danger, try to do so while the ash is not falling.
You made it out. Now what? According to Nemo.gov, they recommend you:
“Go to a designated public shelter if you have been told to evacuate or you feel it is unsafe to remain in your home. Find your local shelter here (linked to local shelter section)
Local authorities may not immediately be able to provide information on what is happening and what you should do. However, you should watch TV, listen to the radio or check the Internet often for official news and instructions as they become available.”
Preparing for even a small possibility of a volcanic eruption is more than worth our time.
Have you ever had to prepare for a volcanic eruption?
Worst Case Scenario: What If Yellowstone Erupts?
Every time there is talk about volcanoes, Yellowstone is mentioned.
Yellowstone is a supervolcano in the US.
Watch this video to see what would happen if Yellowstone erupted tomorrow.