Flooding is one of the most widely occurring natural disasters. Short periods of intense rainfall may produce flash floods, prolonged heavy rain can cause rivers to break their banks, and tidal surges give rise to widespread coastal flooding. The severity of a flood can be unpredictable, so it is advisable to err on the side of caution and prepare for the worst.
What to do if your home is in danger:
1. Fit protective barriers. Board up windows and doors and cover air bricks and low-level ventilators. Use proprietary products designed for this purpose, marine plywood, or chipboard and PVC sheeting. Put plugs in sinks and baths and weight down.
2. Cut off utilities. Turn off gas, electricity, and water supplies before floodwater enters your home.
3. Move upstairs. If you live in a two-level house, move as many possessions upstairs as you can. Begin with important documents, personal treasures, and expensive electronics. Then consider furniture, carpets, and curtains.
4. Raise items on blocks. Items that cannot be carried upstairs should be raised off the ground. Move or protect the contents of your garage or shed.
What to do if you are in danger:
1. If you have to drive through flood water, keep your speed down, stay in a low gear and keep the engine revs high to avoid stalling. If you can feel water coming in beneath your feet, stop and get out at once. You will be safer on foot than in an uncontrollable vehicle floated by the floodwater.
2. If you are swept away, try to lie on your back with your feet out in front of you. Watch out for obstacles or debris in the water that might injure you. Look around for something you can grab or climb onto and pull yourself to a place where the force of the water is not as strong.
3. If you are stranded, whether at home, in your car, or on isolated high ground, if you are in immediate danger from rising floodwater, phone the emergency services.