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What to do in a Flood Emergency

By: Thomas Muller - Updated: 4 Oct 2010 | comments*Discuss
Emergency Flood Disaster Recovery

To prevent a flood emergency turning into a natural disaster, it is important to know how to act when the different flood warnings are issued.

What Should I Do If a Flood Warning Sounds?

The three different levels of flood warning correspond to three distinct levels of threat - a ‘severe flood warning’ indicates the biggest danger followed by the ‘flood warning’ and lastly the ‘flood watch’. Each warning also warrants a corresponding level of public response - although there are two actions common to all three, these are to keep calm and safe.

‘Flood Watch’ Warning Response

When the ‘flood watch’ warning appears the public should be aware that flooding is expected but at a low risk, with only low land and roads affected.

Nevertheless, although presenting a minor community risk, a ‘flood watch’ is not a minor concern because it may be a harbinger of worse to come. Until the danger has completely rescinded, residents should stay on alert, monitoring the local news and weather forecasts and local water levels. They should also be prepared to act on their emergency flood plan.

‘Flood Warning’ Response

When the ‘flood warning’ sounds it is time for your emergency flood plan to be put into immediate action because the flooding of the local area is expected. Your family should be gathered together and then remain together until the emergency has passed.

All pets, valuables, vehicles, food and important documents should be moved to safety, and your home secured as best you can with the aid of sandbags and flood boards. If it is still safe to do so then your electricity, gas and water supplies will need to be switched off.

If you have made all the necessary precautionary measures then don’t forget to offer assistance to any local friends or neighbours who might not be as able or as well equipped. If you have elderly neighbours then always keep them alerted to the flood warnings.

During this period you should be prepared to evacuate your home at any point.

‘Severe Flood Warning’ Response

When a severe flood warning hits, home evacuation moves from being a possibility to a necessity - such high risk flooding presents an extreme danger to both your family and your property. To prevent disaster, your emergency flood plan should be put into immediate action.

If there is still time and it is still safe to do so then the gas, electricity and water supplies should be switched off, and all home flood protection – such as sand bags and flood boards – put in place.

All householders should collect together everything required for evacuation and move to a high place with its own means of escape. Once there they should listen to the local news and weather reports and await instruction from the emergency services.

Be Safe – Stay Out of the Flood Water

It is strongly advised to resist all temptation to walk, swim or even drive through flood water, even in an attempt to reach safer ground. If you are stranded then it is much wiser to wait for rescue personnel.

Flood water is deceptively dangerous, even when it’s relatively shallow – six inches can knock a person over whilst 2 feet can float a car. It often moves much faster and with a much stronger current than it might appear. Its murky colour will also hide many dangers such as open manholes, pollution and any debris that it has picked up along the way.

‘All Clear’

When the ‘all clear’ is sounded then this only means that the flood water levels are dropping, and not that the flooded area is now safe. Any remaining flood water will still be a hazard, and should be treated with caution.

Those that have been evacuated from their property should only return if they have been told by the emergency services that it is safe to do so. If your home and belonging have been damaged then you should contact your insurance company and ask their advice before beginning the clear up and recovery process.

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How do one carry out a proper flood assessment and also prepare an action plan
PApie - 6-Sep-11 @ 12:55 PM
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