Link to USGS home page.
USGS HOME
Contact USGS

  • Assess
  • Prepare
  • Forecast
  • |
  • Activity
  • Products
  • Observatories
  • About

During volcanic unrest, follow recommendations from officials.

Pay close attention to emergency plans, follow instructions for closures and evacuations—it might save your life. Officials will update hazard zones and disseminate new information as the eruption develops. Keep informed about eruption progress with USGS volcano notifications. Do your part to remain safe, and help others in need.

If you are ON a volcano during an eruption:

  1. Move AWAY from hazard zones as fast as possible.
  2. You may be exposed to falling ash and volcanic rocks, lava flows, lahars, volcanic gases, and fast-moving torrents of hot rock and gas (pyroclastic flows).
  3. Your route to safety might be cut off. If you are on a snow and ice covered volcano, STAY OFF VALLEY FLOORS AND OUT OF LOW-LYING AREAS – lahars may occur.
  4. Pay attention to closure signs; they can save your life.

If you are NEAR or DOWNWIND of a volcano during an eruption:

You may be at risk from LAVA FLOWS.
  1. Follow evacuation advice from officials.
  2. Stay off fresh lava flows – burning vegetation releases methane gas, which can accumulate in covered areas and be released as an explosion.

You may be at risk from LAHARS (volcanic mudflows).
  1. Stay out of valleys and low lying areas that lead away from the mountain.
  2. Listen carefully to official reports via emergency broadcasts.
  3. If officials warn of an approaching lahar, seek high ground off the valley floor as quickly as possible, such as moving up a hillside. Then, seek shelter.
  4. Evacuate if necessary.

You may be at risk from VOLCANIC ASHFALL.
  1. Seek shelter and minimize your exposure to ash.
  2. DO NOT DRIVE, unless absolutely necessary; ash can damage the engine, filters, and exterior of your vehicle, and driving on ash-slickened roads with reduced visibility can be hazardous. Reduce driving speed.
  3. Keep outside air from getting inside. Close and seal (e.g. with duct tape) non-essential doors, windows, vents and other gaps. Place damp towels at the bottom of external doors. Minimize use of HVAC or heating and cooling systems that draw in outside air.
  4. Listen for up to date reports – ash fall might be a significant hazard or only a nuisance, depending upon eruption size, style, and duration.