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Landslides: What to Do and How to Prepare

City Light shares a few tips that can help prepare you for such an event and provide information on what to do in case of a power blackout.

Safety is our number one priority here at City Light, and our partnership with Take Winter By Storm demonstrates our commitment to both safety awareness and emergency preparedness. With the recent landslide in West Seattle, we wanted to share a few tips that can help prepare you for such an event and provide information on what to do in case of a power blackout.


A landslide in West Seattle on Feb. 15, 2017

How does a Landslide occur?

The USGS defines a landslide as “the movement of a mass of rock, debris, or earth down a slope.” A landslide can be triggered by earthquakes, volcanic activity, snowmelt, changes in water level, or in this case, heavy rainfall. The topography (and weather) of Washington State increases our susceptibility to these types of natural disasters so it’s important to be aware of its causes and to be prepared.

How to Prepare for a Landslide

If you know that your home or place of business lies in a potential landslide path, prepare, prepare, prepare!

  • Power up: As seen in West Seattle, your power can go out in the event of a landslide. It’s important to have alternative forms of power on-hand. Whether it’s battery-operated, solar-powered, or crank up, a radio is a good emergency device to have. It will keep you connected to critical news and information until your power is restored. Flashlights and emergency light sticks are other useful tools that will keep your area lit.
  • Have a plan: Devise a plan with those around you so you know what to do in case of an emergency. This will also ensure you have a headcount for those of whom you’re responsible.
  • Emergency backpack: Never underestimate the *power* of an emergency supply. Stash yours with warm blankets, sweatshirts, water, and nutrient-filled snacks, to keep you warm and nourished until your power returns. This checklist by Take Winter by Storm provides more in-depth detail about what your emergency backpack should contain (including a first aid kit).
  • Get weather ready: Winter is arguably Mother Nature’s harshest season. Be prepared with this detailed pamphlet from Take Winter by Storm, outlining necessary steps to get your home weather ready.

What to do During a Landslide

If caught in a landslide, there are multiple safety measures you can enact:

  • Call 911: This should be the first thing you do. Authorities can best assess the situation, take the right steps to ensure safety, provide orders of evacuations, and aid to injured parties.
  • In case of a blackout: Report any power outages to our hotline at 206-684-3000. Want to know the status of an outage and the area affected? Check out our power outage map or follow us on Twitter (@SEACityLight) or Facebook for updates. Don’t go near any fallen power lines or wires, and don’t try to fix your electricity. Know that Seattle City Light crews are working hard and fast to get your power restored.
  • Be alert: This applies for all activity, but is especially important when driving. Roads are often affected by landslides so watch for collapsed pavement, mud, fallen rocks and other signs of fallen debris. Should you come across a fallen power line, keep a safe distance and report it to 206-684-3000.
  • Sound matters: Pay close attention for any unusual noise (e.g. trees cracking, rocks tumbling) that can indicate moving debris.


For more safety tips and information, visit For updates on power outages and more, follow Seattle City Light on Twitter at @SEACityLight, on Facebook at or visit our website at