You may live thousands of miles away from the nearest volcano site, but if there is a major eruption, and you are downwind of it, you may still be affected. And if there are major earth changes, like many prophecies are predicting, then there may be many volcanic eruptions around the world, and the whole planet may have volcanic ash at high altitudes blocking out the sun for several days.
The effects of a distant major volcanic eruption, if you are downwind of it, will be mainly toxic gasses and the falling of volcanic ash. To survive these will be similar in a way to nuclear fall-out or biological and chemical weapons.
If You Live, or Are Visiting, Near a Volcano:
Areas near a volcano will normally have a well known community warning system for the area. Make sure you are familiar with it. It is highly unlikely that a volcano will erupt violently without any warning. So you will usually have time to receive the warning and evacuate the area as soon as possible. Make sure, now, that you have a pre-arranged safe place to evacuate to, that you have an evacuation plan and that you have an evacuation survival kit ready to take with you. (See the Evacuation Survival Kit section in the next chapter. Add to that kit, things like goggles and a breathing mask.)
Do not try to endure an eruption by staying in your home. Lava flows can trap you so that there is no escape. Ash and other debris can cover or strike you. Lahars (a wave of volcanic mudflow), landslides, flash flooding, hot muddy water, and chunks of debris can destroy your home. Volcanoes can also cause other disasters like earthquakes, so prepare for these as well.
During a Volcanic Eruption
If you are outdoors during an eruption, get indoors as soon as possible and close all doors and windows. Stay away from windows, which may get shattered by flying debris. If you do not have a fall-out shelter available, you will have to "shelter-in-place" as described in the next section.
If you cannot get indoors, stay away from low lying areas where volcanic gases might get trapped, or lava flows or mudslides might go. Roll down your sleeves, try to take cover from falling debris and ash, and breathe through a cloth or clothing to try to filter out dust and toxic gases.
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