Monday, May 27, 2013

Dangerous To Wade In Flood Water

The damage that floods wreak can always be counted on for causing major economic losses due to personal and commercial property damage, infrastructure damage, ruined crops, and of course, the toll of human lives lost. With so much at stake, and understanding that the standard homeowners policy excludes coverage for flooding, it's easy to see why many homeowners are diligent about purchasing flood insurance in Florida. They should also keep these tips in mind to help them stay safe in the aftermath of a flood.

Heed weather warnings. How many times has a news crew shown people who refused to evacuate when officials warned them to, preferring to stay behind and ostensibly protect their things (although how one can protect a house from a flood is a hard one to fathom)—only to see those same people later stuck up on the roof, yelling for help? It's best to be prepared to move quickly when a flood warning is posted, because those who wait too long may find it impossible to get out.

Stick to the high ground. It's dangerous to wade in flood water, which can be moving faster than expected and result in being swept away and drowned; many people caught in this situation report being surprised at just how powerful the moving water actually was. What's more, the water can be carrying debris and objects that can cause serious injury, not to mention harmful bacteria, chemicals, and other microorganisms that can cause infections and disease.

Be careful of power lines. People are severely injured every year when they come in contact with live wires while standing in water. Keep in mind that it's possible for some wires in the home to be dead, while others are live—and dangerous! Assume a wire is live rather than dead, and treat it accordingly.

Wear protective clothing. After the water subsides, as many or more people are injured during cleanup than in the actual torrent. Falling debris, sharp-edged materials sticking up out of the water, chemicals, frightened or injured animals—injury can happen from myriad sources. It's a good idea to wear long sleeves and pants, heavy gloves, and a respiratory mask when performing cleanup.

Eat and drink carefully. Refrain from drinking tap water until the city advises it is safe to do so, because the municipal water system may have become tainted by the downpour of water. Keep a supply of bottled water on hand, or boil water for drinking. When going through the pantry, throw away food in cans and bottles that came into contact with flood water; even if they are sealed, contamination by trace elements is still possible.

Use flashlights over candles. Use caution when lighting a candle because floodwater could contain flammable liquids such as oil and gas. If these liquids come into contact with the candle flame, they could catch fire and even cause an explosion. Instead, keep plenty of fresh batteries on hand to power several heavy-duty flashlights, and keep candles around strictly as a backup that won't be used unless it's clearly safe to do so.

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