Floods are a common and natural hazard. The safety tips will help you prepare before, during and after the flood and ensure that you suffer minimal damage.
What to Know about Flood?
A flood is a natural phenomenon caused by major storms resulting in rising waters levels in lakes, rivers, ponds and other waterways. When the water level raises, dried areas come under water.
A flood can last for many days. Water usually flows from higher to lower places quickly and this results in the higher areas getting dried quickly after the rain ebbs.
- Too Much Rain – If there are incessant rains for many days, it can cause flooding in low altitude areas.
- Flood Tides and Tsunamis – Tsunamis and flood tides can affect the coastline and causing flooding in nearby areas. The large waves that are triggered by tsunami can flood areas even when there is no rain.
- Overload Water from River – Rains can lead to increase of water in rivers and the overload of water can cause floods.
- Breaking Dam – If dams exceed their capacity to store water, they can get damaged to break and this can result in floods.
- Melting Glaciers from Mountain Tops – Excessive snow melts from glaciers are known to cause flooding in towns near the mountains.
- Weak Drainage Systems – A weak drainage system will not be able to clear water from rains in an effective manner and this can lead to flooding in the streets.
- Flash Floods – Flash floods are extremely dangerous and are usually caused by very heavy rains. They can occur anywhere and low altitude areas are considered most risky to this type of flooding. Heavy rains can cause flash floods within 5 – 6 hours. They can also be caused due to dam failure, snow melts and ice jams. If the water rises too quickly, you are at considerable risk. If a flash flood warning is issued in your area, it is best to head to higher ground.
- Rapid-Onset Floods – The rapid onset floods last only for a short time. Even though they last only for a couple of days they can cause considerable damage to property if preventive measures are not taken.
- Slow-Onset Floods – These types of floods usually last for a longer period. They usually last for one or more weeks and in some extreme cases can last for months. As they can last for a very long period, you need to take adequate steps to stay safe.
- Effects on Human – The effect of floods on human can vary depending on the duration, location and speed of the flood. They can cause considerable damage to home and property. The structure of buildings can get damaged and this can be expensive to fix.
- Effects on Animals – Floods can pose a threat to animals. Water can confine your pets to certain areas and they may find it difficult to escape. If the animals are not able to relocate they can be at risk of starvation and maybe even death.
- Effects on Nature – The surging water of the floods can have a negative impact on the environment. Large scale flooding can distort the natural balance of the ecosystem and it can take many years to come back to normalcy.
Worst Floods in History
The floods that have caused maximum damage to life and property include:
- Yangtze River Flood (1935)
- Banqiao Dam Failure (1975)
- Huang He (Yellow) River Flood (1938)
- Huang He (Yellow) River, China (1887)
- China Flood (1931)
Surviving Guide for A Long-Time Flood
Prepare for Flood
- It is advisable to listen to the weather forecast so that you are aware of the category of storm that is most likely to hit your city. This can enable you to set up an evacuation plan. If possible move all expensive furniture and carpets to an upper floor.
- Prepare a list of emergency supplies like medicines, canned food, first aid kit, water, flashlight, radio and clothing. You need to remember that flood waters take time to recede and you need to have adequate food and water to last for at least a week.
- Reinforce your house so that water doesn’t enter and cause considerable damage. Fix your roof or the storm drain if it is broken. Secure all your valuables like important documents, jewelry, cash and credit cards.
- Turn off gas and heating supplies and electrical devices as surging waters can easily damage them and cause accidents. Disconnect all electrical appliances. This can help prevent fires and explosions.
- If possible, it is best to avoid driving when flood occurs. If you do have to drive, you need to ensure that you avoid the flooded areas. If the water rises around your car when driving, you need to abandon it and move to higher ground.
- If your house is located at a lower place, you need to get to the high points. Stay away from powerlines and other hazardous materials to prevent unnecessary accidents.
- Avoid walking or swimming in the flood waters. The surging waters are usually too powerful even for an experienced swimmer and you could easily get swept away. If you are caught in a bad situation call emergency for help.
- After the flood waters have receded, you need to check for safety before you make the decision to move from your current place. If you had moved to a higher place, you need to return home only when the authorities declare that it is safe.
- Listen to news and weather broadcast so that you are aware of situation. The news report will also enable you to know if the community water supply is safe to drink. You will become aware of areas where the roads are weakened and power lines are down.
- Look for damage to your house and vehicle. If the flood waters had entered your home, you need to clean it in a thorough manner. The water that entered your home may contain sewage or other harmful chemicals. You need to clean and disinfect everything that got wet to ensure the health and safety of your family.
Floods are becoming a common occurrence and it is best to be prepared for this natural disaster. Even though you will not be able to avoid them completely, you will be able to safeguard your family and property if you take adequate measures before, during and after the flood. When you know how to handle a natural disaster, you will be able to recover as quickly as possible from any kind of damage.