May is Volcano Preparedness Month

The anniversary of the 1980 Mt. St. Helens eruption is May 18

The anniversary of the 1980 Mt. St. Helens eruption is May 18, and Oregon is recognizing May as Volcano Preparedness Month. Oregon Office of Emergency Management Geologic Hazards Coordinator Althea Rizzo encourages area residents to learn more about Oregon’s volcanoes and potential hazards associated with those volcanoes.

Mt. St. Helens erupted 39 years ago on May 18, causing an avalanche of rock, dirt and debris, and killing 57 people - the deadliest volcano eruption in U.S. history. Photo courtesy of Oregon Office of Emergency Management
Mt. St. Helens erupted 39 years ago on May 18, causing an avalanche of rock, dirt and debris, and killing 57 people – the deadliest volcano eruption in U.S. history. Photo courtesy of Oregon Office of Emergency Management

“We can’t forget the fact that the entire Cascade Range is built from volcanoes. We like to hike on them in the summer time — we like to ski on them in the winter time, but we have to remember that beauty comes with a risk, and that risk is volcanic eruption,” says Rizzo.

Rizzo adds that having an emergency plan if you need to evacuate, and an emergency kit, is a good idea along with knowing what the health hazards are after a volcanic eruptions.

“The nice thing about volcanoes is they tend to give you plenty of warning. You will get a lot of signals that the volcano is waking up,” Rizzo said. “They can wake up, they can go back to sleep, or they can ramp up and go boom.”

For more information on volcanoes visit: https://volcanoes.usgs.gov/index.html

Information provided by Oregon Office of Emergency Management.

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