How to Survive a Flood

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Our deepest sympathies go out to the flood victims of that terrible tragedy in Colorado. Flooding disasters from extreme weather events such as Hurricane Katrina, Superstorm Sandy and this latest in Colorado, are piling up and these are only national instances.

There has been a host of international flooding in recent years in China, Pakistan and Australia, to name a few. The United Nations University predicts that by 2050 two billion people worldwide will be vulnerable to flooding. This is double the number today and in just two generations. Those in flood prone sites are generally the world’s poorest, but they won’t be the only ones to suffer from flooding in years to come. The majority of the world’s population lives near coastal waterways and the sea levels are expected to rise. More extreme weather events have been predicted, most of us may experience a devastating flood sometime in the near future. How can you survive a flood?

First, move all of your valuables upstairs. Make sure they are on a high floor the water isn’t expected to reach, then get out. If it’s a flash flood warning do so as quickly as possible. Don’t wait for instructions, just leave. The floodwaters can carry dangerous debris, toxins and other nasty things with them. Don’t stay in your home and expect to be rescued. You may not make it and you would be putting the rescuers lives at risk. If you are caught unawares, get to higher ground immediately.

Make sure to follow the news closely in the event of a flood. FEMA will have evacuation routes on their website, on TV and on the radio. Know your route and form an action plan for you and your family ahead of time. Whatever you do, avoid floodwaters if you can. Do not walk through moving water. Only six inches of water is needed to take down the average person. Walk through still water if you have no other choice, but use a stick or something to check the way in front of you to make sure it’s alright. Do not drive through moving water. It only takes half a foot of water to stall out a car. You could also lose control in six inches of H₂O and a foot of water can even make many cars float.

There are other concerns as far as the water itself. It may carry deadly chemicals, sewage or even electricity from power lines that have come down. Don’t return to your home until you’ve been told by the authorities that it is safe to do so. Do not take roads that have been blocked off. This has been done for your safety. Find another way home should you get the okay by the emergency management authorities. Stay out of any areas or homes that have been blocked off or are surrounded by floodwaters.

Take care of yourself and your family, rest and eat if you can, talk to others and find some humor and camaraderie. If you need any help, contact the Red Cross for emotional or physical assistance. Contact your insurance agent to touch base or even put in a claim. When it is time to return, survey the damage carefully. Do not go into areas that still have floodwaters as they may be toxic. Clean everything that got wet thoroughly. How can you survive a flood? By doing your due diligence, listening to the authorities, avoiding anything that might be dangerous, evacuating at the proper time and keeping in touch with the latest news. With this advice you could be one of the lucky survivors.

By: Philip Perry

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