Floods can cause massive damage and leave sufferers isolated from help or any outside contact. Here are some safety tips that can help you deal better with floods:
1. Stay informed
If you live in an area where a flood alert has been sounded, then pay attention to the news flowing in. Radio, TV and the Internet can keep you updated about the conditions and the options that you have.
2. Pack a bag
I know you think everything you have is valuable, but be absolutely clear-headed when packing an emergency bag. Keep handy things like any medicines you need to take, set of sensible clothe, some food, torch, lighter, mobile phone, personal documents, etc.
3. Shift valuables to higher ground
If you can, move your good furniture, electronics and other essential items to a higher floor in your building. That way, even in the lower floor gets water-damaged, your valuables will have been saved.
4. Secure heavy and hazardous items
Heavy display cases, tables, cupboards, bookshelves, etc. that can’t be moved should be tied up – either to each other or to something secure. Make sure any hazardous items (guns, swords, knives, etc.) are locked up safely. Put sand bags in toilet bowls to avoid sewage back-flow.
5. Be discerning
Unfortunately, there are some people who love to spread rumors and never miss an opportunity to fear-monger. With smartphones making the job of spreading information (even if it is false) easy, it is up to you to pay attention to important details and not fall victim to rumors.
6. Turn off electrical appliances
Turn of the main switches or valves if a flood is imminent. Disconnect all electrical appliances. If you are evacuating, then make sure that nothing in your house is plugged in and that all your switches are in the off position.
7. Act quickly
If you have been advised by the authorities to evacuate your house, do so immediately. If there is the possibility of flash floods (a flash flood is a rapid flooding of geomorphic low-lying areas: washes, rivers, dry lakes and basins), get yourself to higher ground straightaway.
8. Take your pets with you
Floods are as dangerous for them as they are for you. Some people assume that animals will know what to do if left in a dangerous situation, but that is not really true for household pets. Don’t chain them and leave them behind.
9. Avoid walking in fast-flowing water
Whenever possible, avoid walking in moving water. Swift-moving water can cause you to lose your balance. If you have to walk in water, tread where you see water standing still. Use a sturdy stick to make sure that the ground in front of you is firm.
10. If your car gets stuck, leave it
Floodwaters rise fast and when you’re evacuating by car, your car may get stuck. In such a case, just leave your car; don’t waste time trying to get it unstuck. Try and safely get yourself to higher ground. Don’t drive into water-logged roads if you don’t know the depth of the water.
11. Keep calm if you weren’t able to evacuate
Stay on higher ground; keep listening to the radio; don’t eat any food that has been in the floodwaters; drink water only after boiling it; don’t let children play in floodwaters; don’t step out when it’s dark; and assess any damage to your building and decide if you’ll be safe inside it or if you should move elsewhere.
12. Don’t step into floodwaters
Avoid floodwaters as the water may be contaminated by oil, gasoline, harmful chemicals or raw sewage. Water may also be electrically charged from underground or downed power lines that you may not be able to see.
13. Be careful when waters recede
Even after floodwaters have receded, you must be careful as they could have weakened roads and buildings. Get everything at home checked and walk outside with the help of a firm stick to guide your way. Wear solid shoes outside. Don’t touch power lines.
14. Disinfect everything before use
Since floodwaters can end up carrying chemicals and sewage into areas, make sure that everything is thoroughly cleaned and disinfected before you use it.
15. Watch out for wild animals
Floods can displace wild animals from their habitats. If you see one, call the local authorities. Do not try and tackle it yourself. Be especially careful about snakes which are easily carried by floodwater and can take shelter in any tiny space they find.