A volcano is a mountain or hill with an opening or vent at the top that can spew gas, liquids or solid materials from the earth’s inner core. Dominica is home to nine active volcanoes and residents living near these volcanoes need to be aware of the dangers that they face if an eruption were to occur and how to prepare for an eruption.
Preparing for an Eruption
It’s important to be ready for a volcanic eruption so you’re not caught unprepared. Some of the most important things you can do are:
- Know the hazards the key hazards during an eruption can be ash, gases, projectiles, mud or lava flows. Find out more about the health impacts and how to prepare yourself for these hazards at https://www.ivhhn.org/information
- Make plans – start by finding out if you live in an eruption-prone area by using this volcano hazard zone map. If you do, make sure you have a well-prepared personal evacuation and participate in the local community processes for planning, preparedness, hazard mapping, evacuation planning and search and rescue.
Be aware – If a potential eruption is identified, listen to local radio stations and obey official instructions and advisories.
During an Eruption
If a volcanic eruption is about to occur or is ongoing, you need to know the hazards you face and how to minimize those dangers. Some of the most important things you can do are:
- Listen closely and act – during an eruption, local authorities will be issuing advisories and official instructions identifying danger zones and issuing evacuation orders. Listen and obey these instructions and evacuate early rather than waiting until it’s too late.
- Assess your situation and take precautions – use a well-fitted, certified face mask such as an N95 and pay attention to the conditions as rubble and ash will be carried by wind and gravity. If outside, protect yourself from falling ash that can irritate skin and injure breathing passages, eyes and open wounds.
- Get to a safe place – take temporary shelter from volcanic ash where you are if you have enough supplies and cover ventilation openings and seal doors and windows. If it’s unsafe to take temporary shelter, go to safer ground immediately and get well away from the effects and events of the volcano. Head to the nearest collection centre and await further instructions. Cooperate with local authorities and key personnel and DO NOT attempt to enter the danger zone. Avoid driving in heavy ash fall whenever possible and avoid areas downwind, and river valleys downstream, of the volcano.
After an Eruption
- Pay close attention – listen to local radio stations and obey advisories and official instructions given by local authorities.
- Stay safe – Do not enter into declared danger zones identified by local authorities and stay clear from collateral activity and await further instructions.
- Help out – assist your neighbours and search and rescue personnel by sharing information and eye witness accounts where possible.