Natural Disasters - What happens when we have a major flood?
The following are extracts, collated into important ‘bullet’ points for ease
of reference, taken from our article on Flooding Preparedness at:
One of the main problems
during flooding is the effects and reaction to electricity - water and electrics are a dangerous and lethal combination. Ensure
you and your family are aware of this and know how and where to safely cut the power to your property in an emergency.
In addition, if you have to evacuate your
home, you may also have to switch off the mains gas supply, again ensure you know where the supply switch is located. Remember,
if you switch off the gas supply, it is recommended that it is switched back on by a registered gas fitter/engineer in case
of gas leaks
Learn and practice your evacuation routes,
remember, when the disaster hits, many people will be attempting to exit an area at the same time. There could delays on the
highway and fuel stations could run dry and so on.
When a flood watch is issued:
- Instruct your family on the location
of the emergency kit, and ensure they know your evacuation procedures, which should have already been arranged
- Move any valuables and furniture
to a higher floor
- Prepare your vehicle in
case of evacuation, fuel supply etc
- Alert neighbours, especially
the elderly or informed
- Have a few flood boards or sandbags prepared to block doorways and airbricks
When a flood warning is issued;
- Listen to the local radio/TV and
weather stations for updates
- Be prepared to evacuate immediately,
if not already done so
- Avoid locations near streams or
rivers – aim for higher ground
- If you get vehicle gets
stuck in rising waters, abandon the vehicle immediately and head for higher ground.
- Continue to monitor local Radio
stations in the event of further severe weather
disaster areas – Give the emergency services time to clear hazardous areas and to avoid crumbling roads, landslides
- Assist any neighbour, especially
the elderly or those with children
- Seek medical care/advice if required.
- Report broken power lines or gas
leaks immediately to the appropriate authorities.
- Wear strong boots or Wellingtons
to avoid damage to the feet.
- Keep an eye out for any dangerous
and venomous animals, such as snakes and rats that may have been washed into your home.
- Avoid walking or driving through
floodwater. There may be underlying dangers, such as open manhole/inspection covers and other hazards.
- Never try to swim through fast flowing
water, you may be swept away by fast moving water or struck by an object in the water
- Be wary of bridges or riverbanks,
they may collapse.
- Avoid contact with floodwater,
it is possible it will be contaminated
After a flood:
Be cautious, and bear in mind the following points;
Rebuild and protect from future similar
- The foundations of your house may
have been weakened
- Electrical system may have shorted,
check your power before switching on and ensure no standing water is in your vicinity. If in doubt, call in a professional.
The same applies to the gas system, and in this case a gas professional should definitely be called.
- Contact your home insurance company
- Take photographs of damage to your
- Throw out any waste materials that
have entered the house, wear gloves and protecting clothing to avoid risk of injury or infection.
- Make safe any damage (to prevent
further damage) to the house until you can call in a professional.
- Make a recovery plan
- Dry out your home as soon as possible
to prevent mildew
- Restore domestic utilities call
in a professional to be safe.
- Clean up as best you can by disinfecting
and scrubbing down floors, walls and cupboards.
- Service any damaged cesspools as
soon as possible to avoid health hazards
- Check to see what financial assistance
you may qualify for, such as disaster funds etc