[caption id="attachment_21756" align="alignright" width="300"] Mount St. Helens[/caption] On May 18, 1980, Mount St. Helens erupted, spewing ash more than 12 miles into the atmosphere before spreading across the continental United States and eventually circled the earth in just 15 days. Now, that same volcano is recharging with magma, according to the Pacific Northwest Seismic Network. Since 2008, swarms of earthquakes have shaken the area around Mount St. Helens. Most recently, these earthquake swarms have been registered underneath the earth’s surface, unfelt to those living on top of them. While these earthquake swarms are fairly frequent, that doesn’t mean an eruption is imminent, according to an ABC News article. However, that doesn’t mean folks shouldn’t be prepared for an eruption, either. The 1980 eruption, as noted above, did some serious damage to the surrounding area, and was the most destructive eruption in U.S. history, according to USGS. Crops were destroyed, more than 185 miles of roads were damaged, and while minor, the water quality of streams, lakes, and rivers were adversely affected. If you live in the area of Mount St. Helens, preparing would certainly be a good idea. For those located farther out, it’s still a good idea to be ready. But how do you prepare for a mountain explosion? To be honest, it’s no different than preparing for any other disaster (with maybe a few exceptions). First of all, get together a 72-hour kit. Whether you make your own or buy a pre-assembled kit is up to you. Either way, having a 72-hour kit will keep you ahead of the game. Make sure you keep your kit(s) near the door, just in case a speedy exit is required. Also, personalize it with items you’ll need, such as diapers, prescriptions, and even breathing masks, just in case the ash is as thick as fog (pro tip: you won’t want to breathe that stuff in). Make a plan. Where will you go if the mountain blows its top? Will you stay in, away from the falling ash, or bug out to a far location more protected from it? Whatever your best option is, make sure you come up with the decision before the event happens. Likewise, keeping your vehicle’s gas tank at least half full will ensure you a speedy exit should the need arise. Of course, there are other things you could be doing to prepare for disaster—volcano or not. Make a plan, get your kit together, and be ready for anything. If the volcano doesn’t erupt, then at least you’ll be ready for the next disaster that comes your way.