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Do you know what to do if Mount Rainier erupts?

[Photo: Ross Troxa]

STEILACOOM, Wash. —  If you live in Western Washington, you have to be aware of the danger of landslides, earthquakes, tsunamis, and volcanoes. Yes, volcanoes!

Officials in Pierce County say volcanoes, like Mount St. Helens are a bigger concern than you might think. That’s why they held an emergency volcano preparedness seminar, last week at the Steilacoom Historical Museum.

Read the Cascades Volcano Observatory’s weekly volcano updates

The idea was to teach people about the impending signs of a volcano and what to do in an emergency.

Organizers say we need to get ready, just in case, Mount Rainier decides to blow.

“We love living in the presence of Mount Rainier. It’s just important for us to recall that there are multiple sides of that volcano,” Carolyn Driedger, a Cascades Volcano Observatory spokeswoman explained. “The same processes that built that volcano threaten us in the future as well.”

Prepare for Volcanic Activity

During an eruption, you might be asked to:

  1. Evacuate due to lahars or thick ash fall
  2. Shelter in place due to ash fall
  3. Keep informed and help others in need

Be Ready

  • Learn—Learn about volcano hazard zones and evacuation routes. Know how to access this information during a crisis.
  • Inquire—Ask local and state emergency offices and schools about their plans. Be ready to follow official guidance.
  • Prepare—Gather basic emergency provisions (visit Resources). Establish a plan to reunite with family if you are separated. Don’t forget your pets!

Make a Safety Plan and a Survival Kit.

Family Emergency Preparedness Plan (Click image to view full size.)

To live safely and more comfortably with volcanic ash fall, prepare a Family Emergency Preparedness Plan, and add these items to the described emergency preparedness kit:

  • Recommended paint or respiratory mask; goggles for working outside.
  • For people with existing respiratory difficulties, extra medication and oxygen required to live in dusty conditions.
  • Spare contact lenses, cleaning solution, eye glasses.
  • Plastic and tape to seal ash out of your house during extreme ash fall.

Visit the Get Involved webpages, CVO Education webpages, and Ash Website for ideas about how to prepare your family and your community.