Behavior

There are many helpful means each one of us can undertake personally to reduce his and her own flood risk significantly. Best with sufficient time for planning the precautions, individually set up and carried out in and around your property - e.g. with the orientation and support here at floodlabel. If you have not, and the flood is already on the way, do not panic - there are still useful steps you can take, see below as first aid the most effective short-term measurements for your flood prevention:

In case of a flood event approaching it is very essential to keep a cool head and to follow the below instructions. Do take action as soon as you can, latest before it gets too advanced with levels rising. During a disaster occurring there is not much to do anymore, besides to keep out of the danger zones. Be aware that in many cases floods are of rapid nature, bringing with them a range of potential hazards and fatal risks.

Start preparing today before a flood happens.

Think about what you can move now:
Don’t wait for a flood. Move items of personal value such as photo albums, family films and treasured mementos to a safe place.

Start preparing today before a flood happens. Use this checklist as your flood plan. Think about what you would want to move to safety during a flood:

 

  • pets
     
  • cars
     
  • furniture
     
  • electrical equipment
     
  • garden pot plants and furniture
     
  • what else?
     

Think about who you could ask for help and who you could offer to help –
particularly vulnerable neighbours or relatives – in the event of a flood.

 

Right behavior upcoming floods:

keep on tracking the actual local weather reports and flood warnings. Inform your housemates and neighbors, also those who are not present at the moment. Try to estimate the extent and impact of the coming flood event. Depending on those and your living conditions make up your mind wether to stay or to leave to a higher ground. (the Floodlabel tools can help you to evaluate this decision).

If you can: print these SOS precaution instructions - latest when water enters your property you will have to turn off all electricity urgently!

  • Check and restock your provisions. In the course of floods basic public infrastructure such as supply of energy and drinking water plus the waste and sewage treatment systems might collapse. Therefor take care to have sufficient supplies of water, food, but also candles and batteries at home.
  • As far as possible: Evacuate your children and needy people outside of the areas at flood risk. Do not forget your pets.
  • Among your family or team: Do coordinate the distribution of tasks. When the flood comes - who is responsible for what duty? Such as: Who disconnects the main power switch, or the shut-off valves? This crucially has to be done before any water enters your property, as electrical current travels through the tiniest water sections:
  • Electrocution is a major killer in floods.  
    Another important item would be: Who takes care to safe the personal documents?


     
  • In case the time is given, and still no water has penetrated the house (see below stated dangers to life): Clear out those flood endangered areas. Try to remove personal belongings such as documents and photos just like precious objects - certainly also computers and other technical devices - to higher locations, at least higher in the shelves or store them in the attic. Very important also that you take care that all kinds of chemicals that have dangerous potential will get out of the reach from inundation; examples for these kind are lacquers, paints, pesticides.
  • Park your car at the highest spot that is in your range.
     

Think about who you could ask for help and
who you
could offer to help
particularly vulnerable neighbours or relatives – in the event of a flood. 

Right behavior during the flood:

  • In case of emergency the safety of human life has absolute priority. Material assets are always secondary. As a matter of fact drowning is the leading cause of death during floods. But floods also entail other hazards, some of them also life hreatening.
  • Check on other people in your household to make sure they are safe.
     
  • Also in particular and very seriously: By all means do not enter any flooded room and area, such as basements, cellars, garages, or outbuildings. There is immediate danger to life:

    1. By drowning from a water pressure trap: All too often due to the high water pressure doors cannot be opened anymore. Also people from outside won’t be able to help, especially if those doors are made of metal.

    2. By electrical shocks: Electricity can move through water or wet flooring and cause severe electrical shocks. In the event that flood water has risen above outlets, baseboard heaters or your furnace, covers, power cords, or is near the electrical panel, contact your local electric utility immediately and arrange for them to disconnect power to your home. DO NOT enter the basement until the power has been disconnected by the local electric utility.
    Watch out for downed powerlines in flood-affected areas. If you see one, stay back 11 meters (35 feet) or the length of a school bus and call your local electric utility to report it.
    Also do absolutely not use an elevator - as this can turn into a life threatening trap: In case of power failure - which in the course of flood events is more than common - elevators generally are programed to go down to the floor - waiting at the bottom then the flooded parking garage… Worst case scenario: once the elevator car is submerged, the elevator looses power itself and incarcerates any passenger in it’s deadly trap to drown.
  • Turn off gas, electricity and water supplies if safe to do so.
    DO NOT touch sources of electricity  when standing in flood water. If you have an electric pump running you will need to leave your electricity supply on.
  • Put plugs in sinks and baths to stop water entering your home. Weigh them down with a sandbag or plastic bag filled with garden soil. This is only a short-term solution. You may need to consider a longer-term solution such as non-return valves, as groundwater can be high for months.

 

  • Stay away from rivers or flooded areas. "Flood tourism" endangers your safety and hinders the local emergency and rescue forces. Observe barriers and instructions of the operational services. Do not enter flooded roads and shore areas! There might be outwashes and dips!
  • Underestimating the danger of floods can be fatal! The reason that so many people drown during flooding is because few of them realize the incredible power of water. Drowning is the number one cause of flood deaths. Most of these drownings occur during flash floods. When walking, do not attempt to cross flowing streams. Be aware: a mere one and a half hands width of fast-moving flood water already knocks over an adult. And it takes only two feet of rushing water to carry away a vehicle. This includes pickups and SUVs. Be aware: More people drown in their cars than anywhere else.
    If you come to an area that is covered with water, you will not know the depth of the water or the condition of the ground under the water. Whether driving or walking, at any given time you approach a flooded road, even if it is on a terrain that you know well - such as your way home: In the condition of inundation it can be a deadly trap, so under any circumstances: keep away, head back!
  • In case you really do not have another option than going through an area with standing waters: use a pole or stick to make sure that the ground is solid under the surface.
  • Flooding can wash away the entire road surface and a significant amount of ground beneath. Floodwaters can also inundate vehicles, or wash them away. Some 30cm (six inches) of floodwater is enough for a small passenger vehicle to float, means loss of control or possible stalling as water is sucked into the exhaust or washes into the air intake. Just six inches of water will reach the bottom of most passenger cars; this depth can cause loss of control or possible stalling as water is sucked into the exhaust or washes into the air intake.
    Read more
  • Sinking cars are more common than you might imagine. It's reasonable to assume that the thought of being inside a car when it sinks must be one of the most frightening experiences imaginable for most people. Sadly, it's estimated, that around 350 people die every year in sinking vehicles. But as with all emergencies you can take quick controlled action to survive.
    Escape from a sinking car:
    Read more

 

Right behavior after the flood:

  • After the acute flood situation there still are many in silt and mud soaked areas. And they hide multiple threats: Be aware that electric sources can be flooded - as water conducts electricity this is a major risk during and after the disaster!
    Also water and whole territories can be contaminated with hazardous substances, such as sharp debris, pesticides, fuel, and untreated sewage. Depending on the conditions mold blooms can quickly evolve and overwhelm water-soaked structures.
    Residents of flooded regions are often confronted with breakdowns in infrastructure: Left without power and clean drinking water, there is a high potential for outbreaks of deadly waterborne diseases such as typhoid, hepatitis A, and cholera.
    Hence the instructions in the above SOS section do apply here as well:
  • Do not go or drive through flooded areas. Don't drive around road barriers; the road or bridge may be washed out.
  • Wear sturdy shoes. The most common injury following a disaster is cut feet.
  • Stay away from power lines and electrical wires. Report downed power lines to your utility company or local emergency task force. In case of soaked appliances: leave your electricity off until they have dried completely out. Be aware: Some appliances, such as television sets, can shock you even after they have been unplugged. Don't use appliances or motors that have gotten wet unless they have been taken apart, cleaned and dried.
  • Be alert for gas leaks. Use a flashlight to inspect for damage. Don't smoke or use candles, lanterns or open flames unless you are sure that the gas has been turned off and the area has been aired out.
  • After a flood, have the damaged building and its substance tested by recognized experts. Take pictures for yours and your insurances documentation.
    Take care for a proper disposal of the contaminated furnitures. Do not eat fruit and vegetables from flooded areas.

 

  • In case any hazardous substances have been spilt in or around your property, such as paint, varnish or heating oil: Contact the responsible entities of your area (e.g. fire brigade), as soon as possible. Because those substances do contaminate your terrain and the ground water. They have to be disposed of by qualified persons.
  • Look before you step. After a flood, the ground and floors are covered with debris including broken bottles and nails. Floors and stairs that have been covered with mud can be very slippery.
  • Carbon monoxide exhaust kills. Use a generator or other gasoline-powered machine outdoors. The same goes for camping stoves. Fumes from charcoal are especially deadly; if you must cook with charcoal, use it only outdoors.
  • Watch for animals, especially snakes. Small animals that have been flooded out of their homes may seek shelter in yours. Use a pole or stick to poke and turn items over and scare away small animals.
  • Flood water can contain sewage and chemicals. Always wear waterproof clothing, gloves, wellington boots and a face mask.
  • Clean and disinfect your property using ordinary household products.
     
  • Use a normal garden hose to wash down surfaces.
     
  • If you are drying your property naturally, keep windows and doors open as much as possible. If using dehumidifiers, close all windows and doors.

 

Floodlabel’s customized survey - start your properties flood protection now:

Now and here: test the level of your knowledge
The floodlabel survey

Our team of experts has developed a questionnaire on the status quo of your building, which is specifically addressed to the concerns of flood prevention. For an effective self-enquiry you have the possibility to answer detailed questions. As a result, you will receive free of charge an automated short evaluation of your object directly afterwards. However, this is not yet the floodlabel.
To achieve the floodlabel it still needs an expert checking all your indications to be plausible and correct.

 

 

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