Like any other natural disasters, floods can be unpredictable and destructive. Even in regions that have never seen a drop of rain, the possibility of floods is not that far away.
Floods create vast destruction as well as casualties and injuries. They also cause the cessation of essential services like water and electricity, damage major infrastructure and property, and destroy livelihoods.
Here are some safety tips to prepare yourself for the rising water, as well as tips to follow when the flood has begun to sweep or has swept your area:
Before the Flood Strikes
If you think there’s an imminent chance of flooding, it’s time to take action. You might want to prevent the flood from coming into your property altogether by sticking with the following precautions:
- Avoid erecting structures in the floodplain, especially near the rivers
- Build barriers to prevent the flood from entering your home or property. You can consider using levees, beams, and floodwalls for this purpose
- If your home has a basement, protect it by sealing its walls with waterproofing compounds to prevent water from seeping inside. Water damage in the basement is one of the major unpleasant aftereffects of flooding
- Keep abreast on the weather news and information, especially if you live in a flood-prone area. Check to see where your area falls on the flood-risk zone chart, but keep an eye out for unexpected risks in all cases. Listen to the radio, watch television, or update yourself on the weather reports online.
- A little information about floods themselves would really help. Know the difference between a flood warning and a flood watch. A flood warning means the flood is happening or will occur very soon, while a flood watch means there is a possibility of floods coming to your area.
When the Flood is Imminent
When you know that flooding is imminent and can happen at any time, you need to get your preparations together. Keep in mind the following guidelines, and follow them as much as possible:
- Be prepared and stay alert. Have your bag or survival kit ready with essential items in case you have to evacuate. Such items that should definitely be inside your bag include medications, important documents, non-perishable foodstuffs, clothing, shelter, and tools. Check online for some handy tents, water purification tablets, flashlights, and anything else that could help you survive when the going gets tough.
- If you are advised to leave your home, follow the orders and do so right away. Have a safe area in mind beforehand, such as a friend’s house that’s on a higher level than yours.
- Make sure your whole family knows what to do in case of a flood warning. Even children should know enough to follow orders if the situation seems dangerous
- If a flash flood is possible, move to a higher structure or higher ground immediately. You can also move your furniture to the upper floor of your house. Start with the lighter items and valuables, then see if there’s enough time for the rest.
- Disconnect electrical appliances, and turn off your home’s main switches or valves. The water could possibly cause a shortage or even a short circuit, leading to a danger of electrocution.
When the Flood Strikes
There are also certain guidelines to follow when the flood finally strikes, coming into your house or workplace. If this happens, keep in mind the following:
- If possible, do not wad through moving water. Even if the water has risen just six inches (15 centimeters) high, it’s enough to make you stumble or fall. You might not hurt yourself in the fall, but this could lead to electrocution or exposure to dangerous chemicals in the water.
- If you simply have to walk through water once the flooding starts, make sure the water is not flowing. You never know how strong the current can get, knocking you over and making it hard to regain your balance. To test the firmness of the ground you have to walk on, use a stick.
- At all costs, do not drive in flooded areas. If your car is beginning to get flooded, get out of the car and immediately move to a higher, safer place if possible.
- Do not touch electrical equipment if you are standing in water or if your feet are wet.
After the Flood
Even after the flood withdraws, stops, or dries up, there’s a lot of work to be done and several instructions to keep in mind. Your area might still not be out of danger, so consider these injunctions:
- Stay updated on the news reports to know if the water supply in your area is safe to drink. Do not drink or bathe in floodwater, for they are most likely contaminated. Even skin contact can lead to stomach infections, skin diseases, and several other health issues.
- Drinking contaminated water could possibly be fatal, so make sure to treat your water and make sure it’s safe to drink until the water supply is declared clear.
- Make sure you still avoid any kind of moving water until your area is declared safe by the authorities.
- Be aware of the areas where floodwater has subsided, especially when you are about to drive. Roads may have been weakened due to the floodwater and may collapse under the weight of vehicles.
- Avoid walking on and around downed power lines, for they may still likely be live ones. Report to the electrical company if you see any fallen power lines, and warn everyone else about them as well.
- Avoid letting children and the elderly walk unsupervised outside. The surroundings might still be dangerous with slippery areas, live wires, and even dangerous marine life that might have come with the flood.
- Don’t consider staying in any buildings if they are still surrounded by floodwater.
- Return home only if authorities give the all-clear.
- As soon as possible, address and fix septic tanks, cesspools, pits, and any damaged sewage system that can be hazardous to health.
- Mud left by the floodwater can contain traces of sewage, gasoline or chemicals, so it’s a must to clean and disinfect everything that has gotten wet. Make sure all the bedding and upholstery is clean and dry before you start using it on an everyday basis.
Barriers for Floodwater
If your area is in danger of flooding, a barrier will help to keep the overflow out of your home. Sandbags are the traditional option here, but few people can keep sandbags on hand all the time. This is why the Sandbag Alternative by Watershed Innovations is such a great invention.
This hydrabarrier measures about six feet in length and about four inches in height. These are basically tubes used for water diversion that are reusable, lightweight, and environmentally-friendly. You might have to get more than one in order to protect the boundaries of your property. It’s available at the link here:
Once you have this barrier, you can fill it up with your garden hose. The construction here is of vinyl material that has industrial strength, so you don’t have to worry about it puncturing or leaking anytime soon. When the danger has passed, you may simply empty out the tubes, dry them, and fold them away for another time.
Living in fear of floods is not a very pleasant situation, but it’s possible to set your mind at ease with the right preparations. Floods are the most common kind of natural disaster and often the most destructive as well. A river or dam overflowing, heavy rains, or any other reason could flood whole cities within days, so staying prepared is necessary for certain areas.
Stocking up on survival equipment and going through drills are always good ideas. These precautions and the steps described above could possibly save lives and reduce the risk of injury, dehydration, etc. Make sure to restock your supplies and review the safety procedures on a regular basis. This way, you’ll be prepared for floods as well as several other unpleasant occurrences.