During a volcanic eruption

During a volcanic eruption:

  • Listen to the radio for civil defence advice and follow instructions
  • If outside at the time of eruption, seek shelter in a car or a building. If caught in volcanic ashfalls, wear a dust mask or use a handkerchief or cloth over your nose and mouth
  • Stay indoors as volcanic ash is a health hazard, especially if you have respiratory difficulties such as asthma or bronchitis
  • When indoors, close all windows and doors to limit the entry of volcanic ash. Place damp towels at thresholds
  • Seal off any air intakes and if you have air conditioning, shut it down
  • Protect your electronics from volcanic ash damage. (Volcanic ash is abrasive and mildly corrosive, and it can damage your computer and electronic systems)
  • Do not tie up phone lines with non-emergency calls
  • If you have to go outside, use protective gear such as masks and goggles and keep as much of your skin covered as possible. Wear eyeglasses, not contact lenses as these can cause corneal abrasions
  • Disconnect drainpipes/downspouts from gutters to stop drains clogging. If you use a rainwater collection system for your water supply, disconnect the tank
  • Stay out of designated restricted zones.

The International Volcanic Health Hazard Network (IVHHN), the US Cities and Volcanoes Commission, New Zealand's GNS Science and the US Geological Survey have prepared guidelines for those who experience volcanic ashfall. The guidelines include procedures to follow if warning of a volcanic ashfall is given, recommendations about what to do during ashfall, and what methods are most effective for cleaning up volcanic ash after the event.