Volcanic States

Within the United States, the only active volcanoes are located in Alaska, Hawaii, and the Pacific Northwest. There are volcanoes in other states, but they are not active and pose no significant threat.


About Volcanoes

A volcano is a breach in the earth’s surface or crust. Most volcanoes are dormant and are no cause for concern; however active volcanoes pose a threat when an eruption occurs. Volcanoes erupt when pressure deep inside the earth builds up and is suddenly released. Debris which includes hot lava (or magma), dangerous gases, and huge rocks can be hurled into the air sometimes traveling for hundreds of miles.

The most dangerous type of volcano is referred to as a Super Volcano. A Super Volcano usually takes the form of a huge caldera. A caldera is where the land surrounding a volcano collapses following a previous eruption. This is different from traditional volcanoes, where an eruption forms a cone shaped mountain. An eruption of a Super Volcano can result in catastrophic damage to an entire continent. They can eject enough ash into the atmosphere to lower the Earth’s temperature for many years. Yellowstone National Park is the site of a super volcano called the Yellowstone Caldera. While this volcano has the potential to devastate a good portion of the United States one day, it has not erupted in 640,000 years and in most scientists estimates it is not showing signs of a large eruption any time soon.

There is no accurate method for predicting when a volcano may erupt. However, scientists consider a volcano to be active if it is currently erupting, or showing signs of a potential eruption. Signs could be in the form of elevated gas emissions or a change of shape in the surrounding landscape (like what was witnessed at the Mount St Helen’s Eruption in Washington).

There are currently 50 active volcanoes in the United States.

Volcanoes usually show signs of an impending eruption, which provides time for people located in the immediate vicinity to take precautions.

Preparing for a Volcanic Eruption

Being prepared for a volcano or any other type of disaster requires preparation beforehand. There are three important steps you should complete in preparation for a volcano. To make this even easier, Essential Packs provides you with a FREE online Emergency Preparedness Planning Guide that takes your step-by-step through the process:

Having the proper emergency preparedness kit, having a plan, and knowing what to do before a volcano strikes, will greatly improve you and your family’s chances of being safe. Complete the 3-Step Emergency Preparedness Planning Guide today!

Get A Volcano Survival Kit

Getting an Emergency Preparedness Kit for your home, office (or school), and car(s) is an essential first step in being prepared for a volcano. Emergency Preparedness Kits from Essential Packs, provide you and your family with the emergency supplies your family needs to last for 3 days (72 hours). Deluxe Kits from Essential Packs are compliant with FEMA's guidelines and include important items like: emergency food and drinking water, flashlights, radios, first-aid supplies, sanitation supplies, emergency blankets, waterproof ponchos, and much more.


Get A Volcanic Eruption Preparedness Kit

Before it's too late...

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Get a volcanic eruption emergency kit


For additional help on selecting the right kit, visit Step 1 - Get A Kit of our Emergency Preparedness Planning Guide.

Make a Plan

In order to know what to do when a volcano occurs, you need to create a Family Emergency Plan. Sit down with your family members and decide how you will get in contact with each other, where you will go, and what you will do in the event of a disaster or emergency.

To make this easy, Essential Packs provides you with a Family Emergency Planning Document that you can download for FREE. Simply open this PDF document and fill-in the blanks, then, print a copy for each family member, and store one copy in your Emergency Preparedness Kit.

You should update your Family Emergency Plan every six months, as phone number, work locations, and other important information could change.

For more help on creating a Family Emergency Plan, visit Step 2 - Make A Plan of our Emergency Preparedness Planning Guide.

Be Informed

The final step to getting prepared is to be informed about what to do before, during, and after a volcano. FEMA's In-Depth Citizen's Guide to Disaster Preparedness helps you do this by providing you with comprehensive emergency preparedness information a variety of disasters.

Visit Step 3 - Be Informed of our Emergency Preparedness Planning Guide to download FEMA's comprehensive, 200 page book called, "Are You Ready? An In-Depth Guide to Citizen Preparedness".