Mountains have long been revered for their majestic beauty and awe-inspiring landscapes. But beyond their beauty, these natural landforms can also serve as valuable resources in times of disaster. Over the years, humans have discovered ingenious ways to use mountains for protection, taking advantage of their unique geographical features. In Utah, we have tons of mountains that could be of use, but I want to talk about how humans can use mountains during a disaster.
Are there any risks or dangers associated with using a mountain for emergencies?
Yes, there are risks and dangers associated with using a mountain for emergencies. These can include avalanches, falling rocks, steep slopes, severe weather conditions, and limited access to food and water. It’s essential to assess the risks and take precautions to stay safe.
Many people in North America don’t live close to a mountain range and really don’t appreciate how mountain areas can influence local economies, provide necessary water supplies from winter’s snowpack, and provide a place of refuge during extreme weather events or other natural disasters. I’m not a doomsday prepper who plans to run to the local mountains in times of emergency. I am aware of preppers who have evacuation sites in mountain locations where they can go if they need to bug out from the safety of their homes. They view these sites as disaster risk reduction options.
Many view climate change as a result of global warming to be the culprit for our weather extremes like heavy rainfall and related flash floods. Yes, mountainous areas can have floods, but they have the advantage of using gravity to pull the water downhill. Many of the flood-prone areas in the country are found in the lowlands. You can use the high elevations found in the mountains to get above the rushing water and enjoy less vulnerability.
Shield Against Flooding
One of the most pressing challenges faced by many regions is flooding. Mountains play a crucial role in diverting and directing the flow of water during heavy rains or storms. Their steep slopes often act as natural barriers, preventing floodwaters from cascading into nearby valleys and low-lying areas. Prepping for When Flooding Strikes
One of the best things about mountains is that they often absorb a significant amount of rainfall. This helps to reduce the overall volume of water that would cause severe flooding downstream. I think this is something important to think about and it’s one way humans can benefit from mountains during a disaster. Is Flood Insurance Worth It?
Protection Against Landslides
Landslides can have serious consequences, destroying homes, and infrastructure, and claiming lives. However, mountains can offer a degree of protection against these natural hazards. The rugged terrain, rock formations, and heavy foliage cover in the mountains provide stability and resistance to soil erosion, making them less prone to landslides. What Happens When Roadways Shut Down?
Certain types of vegetation found on mountains, such as trees with deep root systems, help to reinforce the soil and prevent erosion, reducing the chance of landslides. I feel as though there is enough going wrong in the world without the threat of slides and debris flows into anyone’s backyard.
Barrier Against Wildfires
In recent years, wildfires have become an increasingly frequent occurrence, threatening both humans and ecosystems. Mountains can act as a physical barrier, helping keep the spread of wildfires from one area to another. 11 Ways You Can Prepare for a Wildfire
Their rocky surfaces and elevated positions make it difficult for flames to cross over, which offers another level of protecting communities located on the other side of the mountain. Some types of vegetation found in mountainous regions, such as fire-resistant plants and trees, can help slow down wildfires. Fire Extinguishers: More Important than a Gun?
It is true that many of the natural wildfires we hear about occur in the mountains. That’s why governmental agencies like the BLM and local authorities conduct controlled burns to help minimize fires caused by lightning and humans who don’t follow safe outdoor camping fire guidelines. These steps provide what some consider support for the natural processes we see Mother Nature perform.
People who plan to get to high ground in the high mountains need to be aware of the chance of mudslides in areas where there have been recent wildfires since the trees that normally helped hold the soil in place are now gone.
Shield Against Earthquakes
While no natural feature can fully protect against the destructive force of earthquakes, mountains can provide a measure of shielding against their impact. Mountain regions act as natural shock absorbers, which helps to shield against earthquakes. Earthquakes?
Mountains often have deep-rooted bedrock, which is more resistant to shaking compared to softer soils found in other areas. Communities situated on the slopes and hillsides of mountains might experience lower levels of ground shaking during an earthquake. How To Be Ready For The Next Earthquake
Harvesting Water Resources
Mountains serve as vital water catchment areas, collecting and storing rainfall through rivers, springs, and water found in glacial lakes. This abundance of freshwater natural resources is essential for human survival, agriculture, and various industries. Strategies for Conserving Water in an Emergency
Using technology such as dams and reservoirs, humans can use the water supply from mountains to meet the needs of surrounding communities besides many mountain communities. This can be especially true, during times of drought or water scarcity. This is just another way that humans can use mountains during a disaster. Water Storage: How Much Do You Really Need?
How can I signal for help from a mountain?
There are several ways to signal for help when stranded or injured in the mountains. You can use reflective materials, such as mirrors or shiny objects, to create flashes of light. You can use brightly colored items or flags to attract attention. SOS signals made with rocks or sticks can also be effective.
It’s always a good idea to visit the mountains with others, but going alone, to tell family and friends where you’re going and when you plan to return. That way they can alert any rescue teams if you happen not to return in a reasonable time. You never want to go into the mountains if early warning alerts have been issued for your area regarding an expected weather event.
Is it safe to start a fire on a mountain during an emergency?
Starting a fire on a mountain should only be done as a last resort and with extreme caution. Ensure that the area is clear of flammable materials and follow proper fire safety protocols. It is important to be aware of any fire restrictions or regulations in the area.
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If you live close to a mountain range, it’s not too wild to think that you could use it in an emergency. While it’s important to be prepared with water, food, and other emergency items. Have you ever had to use mountains during a disaster? May God Bless this World, Linda