These days wherever you go, you will find news of some natural disaster taking lives or making things miserable for everyone. While there is not yet a way to prevent these (oh, wait, there is), there is a way to minimise the tragedy. This article is here to lend you some help with this.
Irrespective of your geography, it is vital to be prepared for the worst. Always have some knowledge of the weather condition of your state. You can do this through radio, television, internet and newspaper. Be on a lookout for any warning. Do not shrug it off a warning as it might prove fatal later. Even a small ignorance can cost big lives.
1. The difference between a flood watch and flood warning should be clear to you. A flood watch means that flooding is going to occur in the near future. On the other hand, flood warning means, it is already occurring. If it is the latter, you should be prepared to evacuate.
2. Have an emergency survival kit handy with you at all times. This emergency survival kit can include:
- Non-perishable food items like canned goods; rich is energy, protein and other nutrients. Opt for dry fruits, granola bars, nuts, etc. Avoid food items which are likely to make you thirsty.
- Have some can openers and eating utensils handy with you.
- Keep medicines with you. If a member of the family has some special needs, accommodate that, too. While also keep with yourself some medicines for headache, cough, flu, antiseptic, etc. and a mask to prevent infection.
- Make sure to check the expiry dates.
- Have three gallons of with your on hand. Make sure it is from a trusted source, deprived of any infectious material. If probable, get commercial mineral water. Open only one-gallon water at first. This will prevent others from getting contaminated easily.
- In your first aid kit, add bandages, adhesive tapes, dressings, sterilizing liquid, gauze, scissors, eyewash, eyecup, burn ointment, anti-itch or anti-rash cream, Vaseline or any other petroleum jelly, antifungal powder, sunscreen, sunburn spray, insect or mosquito repellent cream, Epsom salt, activated charcoal and syrup which would induce vomiting in case of poisoning, Sodium bicarbonate mixed with water for heat exhaustion and stings, aspirin, tweezers, cotton buds, bandages for sprains, thermometer, sanitary napkins/tampons/cups, etc. for menstrual cycle, diapers for babies, tissue, paper towels and toilet paper.
- Have flashlights with extra batteries with you. For extra safety, keep matches and lighters handy as well.
- If you can, get some signal flares, too. Or learn how to send signals with other things.
- Get a rope, fire extinguisher, pocket knife and duct tape inside the emergency survival kit.
- Keep extra cash with you at all times. Keep it in a waterproof packet to prevent it from getting wet.
- While you are it, keep other important documents like voter id, birth certificate, Aadhaar card, insurance documents, income tax documents, etc. in waterproof and insect-proof packets as well.
3. In case of flash flooding, move to higher grounds. When it comes to flash floods, do not wait for warnings or broadcast, just go! They can develop in quick seconds, giving no warning most of the time. Watch out for storms that move slowly in the same area or water starting to collect in ponds, then know that there is a huge chance of flash flooding. Do not take your vehicle anywhere near a water source. Flash floods are likeliest to occur near a water source like streams, ditch, etc.
4. Get your furniture to the highest area.
5. Cut off the main power supply and check for loose wires. Stay away from electrical supplies, especially if the area or you are wet. It can lead to fatal electric shock.
6. Keep a stick with you to check for firm ground. Walk only in regions where the water is not moving. If you can, avoid walking in water altogether.
7. In case you do get caught the inflowing stream, turn around and walk in another direction. This way, the chance of your drowning gets reduced.
8. The wisest decision you can make during a drive through a flooded road is not to drive at all. Just turn the other way, avoiding the water clogged road.
9. Stay away from buildings which are old, with shaky core and are filled with water. These can end up falling at any moment. You must have seen or read news about buildings crumbling down during a heavy downpour.
10. Do not touch any object which got in contact with water. These could be infected with sewage and chemicals.
11. The damaged sewage system is hazardous to health. Get tanks, pits, leaching cesspools and pools checked for damage.
12. After floods, the road could have damaged the foundation. The ground might, literally, slip out of your feet.
13. Do a trial run with the whole family. This way, the family is more likely to know what to do in case of flooding occurs, and there will not be much chaos. Assign every member and place a role. Answer questions like where will you go during floods, where will the items be stored, how will you distribute the items, etc. Do these trial runs on a yearly basis.
14. Recheck your supplies. Some might have got expired before you realised. It is better to restock them.
15. Have a map of your locality ready. Mark it with places most likely or least likely to get flooded. This way, you will have an idea of where to go and where not to go during floods. Also, mark out evacuation points.
16. Keep children and animals away from water. The depth can increase at any moment. While it might only be ankle for you, it could still head for them.
17. Get swimming lessons. If anything, it will increase your chance of survival. Learn how to swim backwards and against the current. While swimming through flooded waters, keep your head above to avoid debris. Keep waving your hand up, screaming so the rescuers would notice you.
18. In case you get stuck in a car, do not close the doors and turn on the air conditioner. Open the doors, breaking them if you have to. In case water floods through the windows, you can manage to open the door and escape.