Even though we may know what needs to be done when a flood event is imminent, sometimes flooding can introduce some obstacles which makes this difficult. We hope that a compiled checklist of what you should have, as well as a short list of key steps, will make it a little easier for you in prioritizing the actions most relevant to your situation!
Items you SHOULD HAVE
- Emergency Waterproof Grab Bag-We strongly encourage keeping a watertight bag (if you cannot find a water-tight bag, keep individual items in their own smaller waterproof plastic baggies) stocked with the following: a couple days worth of clean clothing, a battery powered or wind-up torchlight and radio, non-perishable food items such as canned meals, drinking water, charged power bank to power electronics such as cell phones, a list of essential emergency contact numbers, critical medication, copies or originals of important documents such as identification papers, bank and insurance information, and a first aid kit.
The TTEC in collaboration with the ODPM has published a Disaster Preparedness Checklist that expands on the above and which gives comprehensive guidance (in a downloadable checklist format) on preparing well in advance for any disaster situation.
- Temporary Resistance and Resilience Measures-
These can be installed in a relatively short notice and are most effective when combined with awareness on flood weather events, knowledge of emergency response actions and more permanent resistance measures.
- Flood Emergency Plan (Flood Emergency Action Plan Template)-
This will cover the below steps in more detail and should include things like: Contact information for all family members and neighbors, emergency contact information, emergency evacuation routes, location and contact number for nearest emergency shelters, pictures or list of valuables that must be secured, disaster preparation checklist, and location of grab and go bag. Ensure that all family members are knowledgeable of this plan and that everyone has a copy (electronic and/or physical).
WHAT TO DO IF A FLOOD EVENT IS IMMINENT
- Monitor flood alert system to be informed of the specific actions required, especially if you need to evacuate your home.
- Install Temporary Resistance and Resilience measures provided you are given enough advance warning to do so safely. Do this regardless of whether you have to evacuate or not; however, keep in mind that in some instances, flood water must be allowed to enter your home as it can cause structural damage to the outside foundation due to the pressure exerted.
- If you do have to evacuate, ensure that other members of your family and your neighbors are informed of the evacuation (especially the infirmed, children and elderly). You should already be aware of your evacuation routes and nearest emergency shelters listed on your Flood Emergency Action Plan
- If you have enough time, you can find shelter at a friend or family home which is not under flood warning. Try to move as a group and support one-another. Before leaving your property, ensure that your home is securely locked and that your gas and electric supplies are turned OFF
- If you are not required to evacuate, ensure that other members of your family and your neighbors are aware of the flood warning. Take grab bag, pets, furniture and valuables to an elevated location in your home and secure the lower levels. Move your vehicle to a higher location if possible. Ensure that your gas and electric supplies are turned OFF. Keep monitoring flood alert system to know when it is safe to leave your home and further actions required.
GENERAL DOs and DO NOTs
- Continuously monitor the flood alert system for updates
- Help others with preparation and response
- Conduct emergency drills especially for the elderly, infirmed and children
- Ensure that you have provisions in place to protect your pets and take them with you if you can.
- Wash body parts which come into contact with floodwater with bottled or boiled water, especially if handling food.
- Wear protective clothing, gloves and boots
- Conduct a post flood home inspection especially for structural damages, electrical/gas supply, foodstuff and sewage system
- Keep immunizations current as vector borne diseases can increase in prevalence
- Take lots of pictures pre, during and post flood event
- Walk through floodwater as there can be hidden hazards
- Drive through floodwater as there can be hidden hazards
- Ignore flood warnings
- Handle electrical items and wires in floodwater
- Handle or approach stray animals
- Ignore Mold/Mildew growth post flood event
- Use previously flooded roads or bridges unless they have been deemed safe by
- Use an open flame (lighters, candles, matches etc.) near to floodwater (may contain flammable contaminants)
Flood emergency preparedness activities at various levels APFM/WMO Flood Emergency Planning Tool (WMO)
1 Individual, family and household level
– Know the risks: drowning, waterborne diseases, electrocution, poisonous animals
– Prepare for the specific needs of each family member (for example, install protective railings
around house to protect children from falling into the water and to provide support for the elderly)
– Scout for safe areas and know how to get there
– Know what to do and who is responsible for what when a warning is received
– Know whom to contact in case of emergency
– Know where the family members are most of the time, how to contact them and where they
should evacuate to in case of emergency
– Keep life-jackets, buoys or tyres ready for use
– Keep first aid kit ready for use
– Store clean water and food in a safe place
– Disconnect gas and electrical supply
– Listen to daily flood forecasts
– Move valuable items to higher ground
– Get ready for evacuation
– Protect livestock
2 Community or village level
– Identify and maintain safe havens, safe areas and temporary shelters
– Put up signs on routes or alternate routes leading to safe shelters
– Inform the public of the location of safe areas and the shortest routes leading to them
– Have all important contacts ready: district or provincial and national emergency lines; and have
a focal point in the village
– Make arrangements for the set-up of teams in charge of health issues, damage and needs
– Set up community volunteer teams for a 24-hour flood watch
– Improve or keep communication channels open to disseminate warnings
– Distribute information throughout the community
3 Municipality, district, province and national levels
– Determine roles and responsibilities of each agency during response, relief and recovery phases
– Prepare maps (flood risk/inundation/vulnerability maps, resource maps) to provide essential
information and data on current situation and to plan for assistance in those areas
– Make sure that critical roads are built up to a certain height – to enable access to safe areas for
flood-affected communities and to ensure continuous transportation critical for flood relief
– Identify new safe areas and maintain existing shelters, making sure they have sanitary and other
basic necessities that meet the needs of everyone, including the most vulnerable
– Implement public awareness activities to create a pro-active and prepared society, which can
cope effectively with hazards and their aftermath
– Educate the public on what to do and what not to do to prevent harmful activities in the floodplain
– Educate the public on environmental management, water resource use and land-use planning
– Stockpile relief goods in safe areas
– Prepare resource inventories – how much is available locally and how much is needed from the outside
– Plan resource mobilization
– Set up emergency teams (for example, health, search and rescue teams)
– Plan to assist in emergency response at the local level
– Conduct drills for emergency teams and population living in flood-prone areas (including schools)
– Make sure that communication channels to the community are functioning well
– Issue orders for various agencies and organizations to get prepared
– Inspect flood mitigation infrastructure (for example, dykes, levees and floodwalls)
– Disseminate public safety information through the establishment of early warning systems
– Specify the source and actions to be taken immediately after receiving warnings.