What Safety Precautions Should Be Taken During Volcanoes?

Common safety precautions for volcanic eruptions include staying away from the eruption, preparing to evacuate as instructed by local officials, knowing an appropriate evacuation route and maintaining sufficient gas in the car. Additionally, people who live near an active and potentially explosive volcano should maintain an emergency kit containing a breathing mask, goggles, a flashlight and a battery-operated radio in the event of power failure.

Appropriate evacuation routes should avoid low-lying areas that are susceptible to the flow of lava and mud. Evacuees should wear long sleeves and pants to protect their skin from ash and debris. As ash may damage engines, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention advises avoiding the use of cars, if possible, during ashfall. If a car is necessary, drivers should proceed slowly and keep the windows closed and air conditioning off to avoid introducing ash into the car.

People remaining in their residence during the volcano should seal all windows and doors, and they should avoid using air conditioning and ventilation systems that may bring ash in from outside. Conceal or cover cars and other mechanical devices that are susceptible to ash damage. Periodically check the amount of ash on the roof, and clear it if it risks becoming dangerously heavy. First aid kits should contain ointments for treating burns, as well as eye and nose irritation.