Natural Disasters – Floods
Floods are a natural disaster that can occur almost anywhere. It is more likely in places where there is high rainfall during the rainy season, riparian areas, lakes and other bodies of water. Floods can be local in nature. The larger the area under floods, longer it takes for emergency services to render assistance. Flash floods develop without warning and could strike in a matter of minutes with disastrous consequences. This makes it imperative that you do not get caught unawares. Basic preparations beforehand, can be the difference between life or death.
Flood Warning – Being forewarned is being forearmed:
- Determine if your home is located in an area prone to flooding. If it is, you should always be prepared.
- During times of rain or other abnormal periods, listen to the radio and TV for flood warnings.
- Flood/Flash flood warning – be prepared to evacuate or move to higher ground immediately. Evacuation by foot is the best option. In case evacuation by a vehicle is possible, ensure the car has enough fuel. Be prepared for a high volume of slow moving traffic.
- Keep a list of all emergency phone numbers.
- Prepare an emergency survival kit (in fact I recommend every family do this). Store it in a place well above the floor, but within reach. The location of the survival kit should be known to all family members. Use a water tight container for the kit and keep contents to essentials.
- Prepare an evacuation plan for the entire family as a unit.
- In case family members are separated during evacuation, develop a communication plan. Having ID on you is a good idea.
What should be done when Evacuation orders are given? :
- Turn off gas, water and electricity and disconnect all appliances.
- Take only essential light weight items such as the survival kit, water proof clothing, flashlight, cash, ID and important essential documents.
- Avoid walking in moving water. Also, do NOT attempt to drive in flood water, you run a high risk of being swept away. Four inches of flowing flood water are enough to sweep cars.
- Follow the pre-determined evacuation procedure.
What should you do if you are asked NOT to evacuate but to stay at home? :
- Stay tuned to your radio or TV for further instructions.
- Be prepared for instant evacuation and have the emergency kit ready. While waiting it is a good idea to go over the emergency plan with the family. If you have toddlers or small children make them wear flotation devices you use at a pool.
- In case your house is damaged, move to a shelter or neighbors house. If surrounded by flood water, stay put if possible and wait for assistance.
- Be wary of flood waters and tread carefully. The water may be deeper, or the flow may be faster than expected.
- Be careful not to come into contact with any power lines.
- Do not drink flood water; it could contain sewage or be contaminated. If you do not have to bottled water, rain water may be your best bet.
By being prepared for a flood, you can mitigate its effects to a large extent. The safety of you and your family should be your priority. Take the time now to prepare. Make it a family project and involve your children. Give them a special treat if they know the basics. Do not wait till floods threaten to do this.