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Flooding Preparedness

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The rain fell upon the earth for forty days and forty nights

 

Genesis,  7: 12

Water 1

New from FEMA - What to do if your home floods

Current flood watches/warnings in UK

While from the UK Environment Agency - Prepare for flooding

UK Met office Severe weather alerts

Well, we certainly hope not! however, with the current severe weather events we are experiencing, floods and flash floods may be experienced at any time, as usual, proper preparation in good time will help you survive these disasters.

 

This article will be dealt with in sections, from the very basic pre-preparation advice and tips, right through to immediately prior to flood warnings, during and post effects.

 

You will find a number of useful links at the end of the article

In common with dealing with any disaster preparation, one of the most important items to have prepared is your basic disaster kit, emergency and essential supplies for at least 5 days. This list is available at our site here; http://www.ambilacuk.com/safesurvivalmagazine/shortsurvival.html

However, for ease of reference I include the basic kit contents below:

 

Personal toiletries soap, toothpaste, sanitary napkins, toilet paper etc

Blanket (Foil space blanket is ideal) or sleeping bag if you have room

Waterproof cover or groundsheet

Lightweight stove and fuel at least enough for the short term

Flashlight and batteries

Waterproof clothing

Pocket knife

Small spade folding one is ideal

Small hand axe

Spare underclothes socks etc

Sewing kit

Nylon rope at least 15 metres or 50 feet

Spare cash including some small change (phone calls)

Portable radio the wind up and solar charged are excellent

Personal documents wills, birth certificate, ID card, passport etc and ensure you keep them inside a plastic bag or similar.

Paper and pencils (pencils are able to write on damp paper)

Whistle with neck cord

Mess tins for cooking and eating.

Water container

Water purifying tablets

Dried fruit

A few tins of food, such as;

Potatoes

Beans

Fruit

Tuna

Rice

Peas /corn

Soups (or the packet variety)

Matches/lighter

Candles

 

First aid Kit

 

Dressings and bandages

Plasters (waterproof)

Burn gel

Antiseptic cream or spray

Insect repellent

Scissors

Safety pins

Personal medication (to include general items such as paracetemal or asprin)

 

In addition, it may be advisable to make up a smaller vehicle emergency kit with the essential supplies required for road trips.

This would be highly recommended if you were driving daily throughout the winter months.

 

Vehicle Emergency Kit:

 

 

First aid kit (including any medication you or your family are being prescribed)

Torch (plus spare battery and/or torch charged via the vehicle battery)

Blanket, or at least a space survival blanket

Newspapers (for insulation)

Folding shovel (useful in snow and ice to dig your vehicle out)

Spare jacket, socks and gloves

Boots

Head gear

Chocolate or energy bars

Container of water

Ice scraper

Jumper cables

Basic set of tools

Old sleeping bag (especially useful if you drive regularly during winter)

Duct tape

Sunglasses (to avoid snow blindness)

Matches or fire-starter

Emergency flare

Tow rope

 

Last, but by no means least, a fully charged mobile/cell phone

 

The above may appear quite a list, but it all depends on how far and how regularly you travel, and in any case, properly stowed, may take up less room that many normally store in their trunk/boot of their vehicle.

 

Remember any one of those items may save a life

Flooding- Introduction:

 

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.

 

Leave instruction in your home for the location of your gas and electric supply board in case the local authorities may have to check for any leaks in your area.

 

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.

Please refer to the note on evacuation procedures at the end of this article.

 

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

 

  • Move pets to safety

 

  • 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.

 

Safety advice:

 

  • Continue to monitor local Radio stations in the event of further severe weather
  • Avoid disaster areas – Give the emergency services time to clear hazardous areas and to avoid crumbling roads, landslides and mudfalls
  • 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:

 

Advice on cleaning up upon returning to your home.

 

Be cautious, and bear in mind the following points;

 

  • 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 for advice
  • Take photographs of damage to your home
  • 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
  • Rebuild and protect from future similar disasters

 

New York State Health - useful general article

Repairing Your Flooded Home  available here;

http://www.health.ny.gov/environmental/indoors/air/flood_checklist.htm 

Useful Links:

FEMA - Flooding

AllState - Catastrophe centre - Flooding

UK environment Agency Are you at risk of flooding

UK environment agency simple methods to protect your home

UK environment agency What to do in a flood

UK Emergency flood plan

After a flood

Preparing your home for floods British Red Cross

American Red Cross Preparedness fact sheets for all eventualities

Home Guide to Flooding by Movoto real estate with useful links -

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