Precautions people took when Mount st Helen erupted?

Prior to the eruption of Mt. St. Helens, there were earthquakes, steam, swelling of the mountain, and etc indicating activity on the mountain and an eminent eruption.

Unfortunately, these went on for months before the big eruption, so some people were actually wondering if anything was actually going to happen. It was also unknown how big the eruption would be, or what form it would be in.

There were mandatory evacuations of the area immediately surrounding the mountain, although there was at least 1 person near Spirit Lake that refused to leave. And, as mentioned as weeks and months dragged on without any major eruption, many people wanted to return home.

Following the eruption, there was widespread destruction, further than people had anticipated, as well as the breaking of an earthen dam and flooding.

In areas near the volcano, there were problems with volcanic ash damaging vehicles, and people were encouraged to carry extra air cleaners for their cars.