Flood Safety Tips and Home Preps
When you’re living in the congested streets of the bustling Metro, flood damage during the rainy season is inevitable. You might not be able to control the weather—much less how quickly the terrifying flood waters can rise in a matter of minutes—but you can prepare yourself and your family for emergencies with these handy flood safety tips.
- Before the flood
- Home preparation is key. Be aware of your surroundings and know how often your neighbourhood is likely to get flooded. If there is a flood safety warning in your community, make sure that you and the members of your household are well-informed about proper protocol.
- Have an evacuation plan. Delegate tasks for your family members and give each one a responsibility when the emergency happens. Designate a proper evacuation area for your family, both inside your home and outside. Know which areas of your neighborhood are considered higher ground, and be prepared to transfer your car’s parking space there if the need arises.
- Prepare an emergency pack. Fill up a bag or two of important items such as significant documents, medications, clean water, flashlights with spare batteries, matches, first-aid kits, spare clothes, and, if you have them, portable transistorized radios.
- If a flash flood is imminent, be ready to easily move outdoor furniture and essential items to a higher floor. Familiarize yourself with your circuit breaker. Switch off your utilities at the main switches and disconnect electrical appliances, and keep a good stock of food and water as electric power might get interrupted during a flood. Securely anchor weak items and dwellings if you cannot move them to a different floor.
- Monitor the weather conditions. Once you are advised to evacuate your home, be sure you are ready at a moment’s notice.
- During the flood
- Make sure that you let your loved ones know your location. Call or send a message to your family, friends, or neighbors if you are stranded somewhere, and keep each other updated. Emergencies like this are when you need to keep communication lines open and when you need your phone the most (if you do lose your phone, here’s what you should do).
- Stay informed about the latest updates on weather warnings and flood safety news. You can monitor MMDA’s official Twitter account for updates on the road as well.
- Unplug all the necessary appliances and electrical outlets to reduce damage to your electronics and keep your house safe. DO NOT touch the electrical equipment if you are standing in water or are wet!
- Keep a list of the disaster relief and emergency numbers and hotlines HERE.
- Avoid walking through running flood water. Even moving water as low as 6 inches can sweep you off your feet, not to mention there are a variety of dirty bacteria and harmful diseases lurking about in the murky water. If you do absolutely need to wade through the water, tread carefully and use a stick to test the firmness of the ground before you step on it. Wear boots if you can. Do not drive into flooded areas, either!
- Stay calm. You are of no use to yourself or to anyone if you are panicking. Your presence of mind may be what saves you and the people around you during emergency situations such as this.
- After the flood
- Steer clear of the still-flooded areas. The floodwaters may be contaminated or electrically charged from downed power lines, and the roads underneath may be weakened or may collapse despite the waters having receded.
- Stay tuned to your local news for more information about the weather. Always keep abreast of the updates about your community, and whether or not it is safe to return home if you are away.
- Be wary of damaged power lines in your area, and make sure to report them to the necessary authorities and to your power company.
- Make sure that the utilities are restored in your area. Consult and ask around for immunization requirements just in case, and do not go out “sightseeing” in other disaster areas.
- Clean up after the flood. It’s hard work and extremely messy, and can take you a long time until everything’s back and in order again, but disinfecting affected items and areas in your house is absolutely necessary. Mud left from the flood can contain bacteria, sewage, and chemicals that you want nowhere near your household. If you must, discard contaminated toys to keep your children from coming in contact with contaminated items (pillows and stuffed toys included).
Flash floods can be scary and overwhelming, but with these flood safety tips, you can at least face the danger well-prepared. On a lighter note, if you find yourself outside trying to wait out the floods, you can visit these places HERE to pass the time until nobody is in any imminent danger. Stay safe, everyone!