Natural disasters are not called acts of God for no reason. They strike hard when they do, no one can stop them. Remember hurricane Katrina and tens of others of its nature. Lives were lost, property destroyed, families tone apart, and the economy nearly went into depression. Nothing good really comes from natural disasters.
Floods are natural disasters that can happen anywhere in the world. With the kind of impact climate change has everywhere, one can never be too safe. With floods, human lives and properties are prone to destruction. Severe damages to the environment shatter a country or town into tiny indispensable pieces.
What causes floods?
Floods can happen due to heavy rainfall. However, it’s not always that floods are caused by heavy rainfall. It could be caused by other phenomena like; inundation caused by a storm surge, a tsunami coinciding with higher than normal river levels.
Topography and tidal influences can also contribute to flooding. Dam failure could be triggered by an earthquake which results to flooding of the downstream area. Floods can strike even in dry weather conditions.
How to prepare for floods
Floods will both kill and sicken people, cause billion dollar property and infrastructure damage, impede transport or any services for weeks. How does anyone get ready for all that and become self-aware that it could happen to them?
Understand the nature of floods
Everyone should first aim to understand what exactly it is that they would be dealing with in case of floods. Waves come in all sizes, shapes, and timetables. Meteorologists can predict sometimes, and other times they floods come unannounced.
Some floods are referred to as slow-onset floods because they slowly build multi-day rainfall and persists for weeks or months. There are also rapid-onset floods which rise and fall more quickly. Some places are prone to flooding because of pancake-flat basins. Floods also stem from the failure of artificial infrastructure like breached dams, bust pipes and breached levees.
Understand flood risks
It is important for people to know just how dangerous high water tends to be. Floodwaters are powerful enough to knock you off your feet and send cars sprawling in the air. In places where there is electricity, there is a high risk of electrocution. If it is possible to avoid flood waters, by all means, people should do so.
Prepare the house for floods
If people are aware that they live in places prone to floods, they should take measures to protect their homes. They should waterproof the basement first then install a back-up battery-powered sump pump. They should also elevate electrical systems and appliances at least 12 inches above flood level projected by the forecast. They should secure fuel tanks too.
Put together a flood file
People should take copies of their insurance and inventory of major possessions, such as serial numbers and receipts for appliances and keep them in a personal flood file in a waterproof container.
Develop a flood action plan
If they are aware of future floods, it would be wise if they evacuate ahead of that time. Identifying evacuation routes and make sure that everyone in their house has emergency numbers programmed in their phones as well as identifying the region for emergency point of contact.
Pay attention to the meteorologists
Meteorologists give flood warnings in conditions where floods are expected. People should always keep tabs on the alerts provided by meteorologists who monitor current and predicted river levels. In case evacuation orders are given, they should adhere to them and seek safe, high ground.
Practice drills with the family or co-workers
People who are aware that they live in an area prone to water damage should know where the shut-off utility switches are, and time themselves on how fast they would get to a safe location from the house or place of work.
Tips before the floods
- People should avoid building new homes in floodplains, in case they do, they should elevate or reinforce it
- They should construct barriers like beams and floodwalls to stop water from entering their homes and offices
- People should research and find out if they are living in areas prone to flooding
- They should always ensure gutters and drains are always clean
- They should have proper flood insurance for their homes and businesses
- They should read and prepare themselves in case of a flood
- They should have necessary items beforehand. These are;
- Emergency Kits
- 72-hour bug out bag and related items for their cars
- Relevant documents
How To Survive A Flood
- Don’t get caught
The only way the victims of previous floods could have survived is if they were not caught in the floods. If people know their risks or their weather conditions, they should find ways to flee to high ground before the floods come. They should make backup plans to protect them from any risks that can be incurred.
- Don’t get into the water.
They should go to higher grounds right away instead of waiting for things to get worse. If they have back up plans, they should just leave with their loved ones instead of staying to pack up their stuff. In areas where evacuation orders are given, they should immediately.
For those who drive in the floods should abandon their cars and turn around to find safer routes. They should stay put and find somewhere safe to stay until it is safe to drive. Whether on foot, or driving, always stay away from the water when it’s flooding.
- What should people do if they end up in the water anyway?
When people get caught in the flood, they panic first. They should instead believe they can survive it. Those who are on foot should grab a stick to go through the water. The sticks are meant help them poke ahead of the debris, rocks, and holes.
In floods, snakes and other critters are also displaced, and they go through the distress as well so people should watch out for them. The sticks should help them with that as well. They should look for still water. They are more likely to survive in still water than moving water.
They should find a nook and stay, even if it small, they can hunker down and wait it out. People who get caught in the water despite their best options should go over obstacles, not under to avoid going under the water.
Those who manage to get out of the floodwater and end up in trees or on rocks should stay there and wait for rescue. People should try to stay calm and do what the rescue team tells them. By keeping it together at a time like that enables the rescuers to get them out safe.
When water is still, the ideal principle would be to get out of the car and go to higher ground immediately. It is important to get out of the water no matter what. Those who get submerged should try to get out through the window, climb up to the top and look for a safe place to go.
Those who try and can’t get out should just wait for the car to fill with water, then open the door and swim up to the surface. Once they are out, their survival instinct should be not to get caught by flooding in any way.
Survival Tips During A Flood
- People should turn off their main utilities and valves if the emergency officials say so
- They should waste no time finding refuge or evacuating in case there is a warning.
- By all means, necessary people should avoid coming into contact with flood water
- They should not attempt to operate or touch electrical equipment in standing water
- They should not walk or drive in moving water
Recovery From Floods
In the past, those who were involved in the flood had to begin life again in the most miserable way possible. Recovering from a flood could be a long and drawn-out process. Having everything ripped off from them destabilizes them. People are never quite the same after such an experience.
People who suspect their building has sustained critical flood damage should look for inspectors and structural engineers to help them recover or rebuild parts of their property that had been damaged by the floodwaters.
It is vital for people to first establish if it is safe to enter their places. Those who get into their properties try to determine which of the valuables and personal belongings could be salvageable. Some people assume that because water damaged some of the photos, books or documents, they should throw them away.
Proper document recovery techniques and document restoration companies help people stem the loss of their most valuable belongings. The air dry distribution system helps desiccant air from the water-damaged personal effects.
Choosing a company with the technology to distribute air evenly in the vacuum chamber is vital. Vacuum-freeze is one of the best ways for property restoration. It helps people recover their books and photo albums.
Make sure the company completely dries the items. Mold damage can occur weeks after a flood if the items are not dry. People had no certain ways to prevent their homes, offices or personal belonging; there are still no sure ways.
Taking steps to make sure loved ones are safe from harm ensures that people get insurance early. With insurance, damaged items can return to as close to their original condition. For business, after the flood they should;
- Notify employees and stakeholders of their next step
- Be aware of the safety of the community’s water supply
- Know where floodwaters have receded
- Implement their disaster recovery plan and monitor local authorities
- Contact their employees and discuss next steps
- Clean and disinfect everything that got wet from the water damage.
Water damage restoration becomes the priority after floods.
Survival Tips After A Flood
- People should only return home or their businesses when the authorities state it’s safe to do so
- They should continue to monitor the radio and other media sources and listen to the updates
- They should only use flashlights when entering their places if the power is still out.
- If there are any structures still surrounded by flood water they should stay away
- Report any downed power lines to the electrical companies
- They should clean and disinfect articles that came in contact with the flood water thoroughly
- Any food that came in contact with the flood waters, they should not consume it
- They should only drink boiled or filtered water to avoid flood related infections
- Apply for emergency aid as quickly as possible
Those who find safety should administer first aid to those who need it. While they are helping other victims, they should keep listening to the emergency broadcast for more information. Some people end up severely injured, if there is not much you can do for them, keep them alive until the emergency medics come to their aid.
In the event of floods, fires happen due to spillage of oil. If the house is on fire people should escape their priority. They should not focus on collecting important things during such a time. In case there is smoke in the air, they should get as low as possible so that they can keep breathing and find their way out. They should never get back into a burning building.
It is vital that people remember that just because the water has receded doesn’t mean the water is gone. They should not walk in moving or deep water just because the storm has passed. Even little rain can turn a once flooded area into another sudden flash flood.
They should look out for ruptured gas lines, glasses, damaged buildings and downed power lines. People should not return to a flooded area unless the authorities tell them it’s safe to do so. Keep researching, know the facts, watch out for alerts and make sure to stay safe. People should always trust their instincts and take action hopefully before a flood hits their area.