What to do in case of flooding
- If it strongly rains for many hours or if it rains constantly for several days, be careful at the possibility of flooding. Floods happen as the earth becomes saturated with water.
- Use a portable radio on batteries (or a TV) for emergency broadcasts. The local posts give the most accurate information regarding your situation.
- If you stop the car, park it far from water streams, especially under threatening weather. The water can go extremely fast and carry you away.
- When you are in or near water, lookout for far-away events, such as broken dams or storms which can cause rapid flooding in the area.
- Continuously listen to a battery powered radio or TV for updated emergency news. The local posts are broadcasting the most accurate info regarding your location.
- Everybody from the warning area must be prepared to act quickly. Floods happen really fast - be ready to react.
- Watch for flood signs if you live in an area predisposed to flooding and be prepared to evacuate at any moment.
- Follow the advices and instructions of the local authorities, they are the ones best informed about the affected zones. They will be the ones to give the best advice as to what areas must be avoided.
- Fill the bathtubs, sinks and plastic bottles with clean water. The water service can be disrupted or the water can get contaminated.
- Bring your goods from outside the house inside it. The water can take away all your unsecured stuff or it can damage it.
- Move your precious stuff to the upper parts of your house - the upper floors or the attic has better chance not to be damaged by severe flooding.
- If instructed so by the local authorities, shut down all appliances and utilities: main electric switch, main gas pipe etc. This is to prevent further damage to the house.
- Prepare supplies. If you need to act quick, already prepared supplies can be a time savior.
- Fill up the gas tank of the car in case an eviction notice. If the electric energy is disrupted, the gas pumps will not work for several days.
- Be prepared to evacuate. The local authorities may ask you to evacuate if they believe your home is in jeopardy.
What to do during a flood warning?When a flood WARNING is issued, do the following:
If your house is in a zone predisposed to disaster:
- If you are outside, aim for higher ground and stay there. Get away from dangerous waters.
- If you pass a fast water flow above your ankles stop and go in an other direction. Don't try to walk, swim or drive through fast waters. Most deaths are caused when people try to drive through water or play in deep waters. A rapid water of even 10cm can knock you away.
Safety during floods
- Avoid already flooded areas and areas which can suddenly flood. Don't try to pass by water torrents. The deepness of the water is not always obvious. One meter of water can take away most of the automobiles.
- Road blocks are put by authorities to signal danger zones - it is very risky to pass by them.
- If your car is surrounded by water or if the motor jams, if you can, leave the vehicle and go to higher ground. Many fatalities occur attempting to move a jammed vehicle. The lateral force of half a meter water flowing with 10km per hour is about 250kg. Basically a 1 meter water would take any vehicle away. Many people get carried away after they abandon the vehicles which are later found with no substantial damage. Be prudent when you exit the vehicle, search for an opportunity to get to higher ground.
What to do if you are driving during a flood?
- Seek medical help at the closest hospital. Contained water is a great risk of infection. Severe wounds need medical treatment.
- Help neighbors which need special help, children, elders or people with handicaps.
- Avoid danger zones, your presence may interfere with rescue operations and you may get in danger yourself.
- Continue to listen to the radio and local stations. Danger does not always pass when the waters start to retreat.
- Stay outside the buildings surrounded by water. Sometimes the structure is damaged by water and the building may collapse.
- Do not enter any building unless the authorities say it is safe to do so. There can be hidden perils [structure damage, gas leaks, electrocution risk etc.].
- Report broken pipes to the authorities. Verify in advance where you need to report the problems.
- Avoid smoking inside buildings.
What do you do after a flood?
- Wear resistant shoes. Most common wound after disasters is a foot cut.
- Use a flashlight when examining buildings. Lightening with batteries is the safest and easiest way to prevent fire.
- Check the walls, floor, stairways and windows and make sure there isn't a risk of collapse.
- Verify the foundation for cracks or damage. This can make a building inhabitable.
- Be careful at fire perils. There can be broken gas pipes and leaks, flooded electric circuits or equipment. Flammable materials or explosives can be brought from uphill. Fire is the most frequent danger that follows floods.
- Verify for gas leaks. If you feel gas smell or hear a hiss, open the window and get out of the building. Close the main gas switch and call the gas company from a neighbor's house. If you close the main gas for any reason, it must be opened by a professional.
- Watch for damage at the electric system. Electric equipment must be checked and dried before usage.
- Verify that the water circuit is intact in your house. If you have suspicions, call an expert. Clean water can be obtained from melting ice cubes or dumping the boiler tank.
- Be careful for animals. Water drives all kind of animals to look for shelter inside your home, from rodents to snakes - use a stick to search throughout the rubble.
- Make pictures of the damage to the building and to the objects inside. They will be handy for insurance purposes.
What to do when entering A BUILDING in case of flooding?Be very careful when entering buildings. They can be dangers where you least expect. Watch your every step.
- Throw away all the food that entered in contact with water. Most can food can be salvaged unless it has damage marks [struck or punched]. Contaminated food can cause very severe infections.
- If you are not sure if the water is clean, boil it or even bleach it and distil it. Flooded fountains mut be pomped and the water must be tested. Check with local public sanitation unit. Drinking contaminated water can cause severe diseases.
- If your basement is flooded pump out about a third a day. If you pump it all at once - the earth over-saturated with water from outside can exert too much pressure on the walls and damage them.
- Repair the septic tanks and sewers, the fountain pits and the infiltration systems. Damaged sewage systems are dangerous.