What to do in a flash flood

10 October 2017 - 13:19 By Timeslive
Storm damages in Isipingo, South of Durban on 10 October 2017.
Storm damages in Isipingo, South of Durban on 10 October 2017.
Image: THULI DLAMINI

A flash flood is a rapid flooding of a low-lying area. A massive storm caused this type of dangerous flooding – claiming at least one life – in and around Durban on Tuesday.

ER24 has published a checklist of precautions that should be taken in a flash flood.

Firstly‚ people living in areas that are prone to flooding should plan ahead to protect family and property.

Precautions to take at home:

  • Keep emergency numbers and important information handy. Also keep emergency supplies‚ such as water‚ canned food‚ a can opener‚ battery-operated radio‚ flashlight and protective clothing ready.
  • Keep a first aid kit.
  • Turn off all your household electrical devices.
  • Lock all doors and windows.
  • Leave the area before it gets too late. Get to higher ground.

Should you be outdoors or in your vehicle‚ do the following:

  • • Climb to higher ground and stay there.
  • Avoid walking through floodwaters – even 15 centimetres deep can sweep you off your feet.
  • If floodwaters rise around your car but the water is not moving‚ abandon the car and move to higher ground.
  • Never drive through a flooded road or low-water bridge as the road may be washed away.
  • If you get swept away in the flood waters‚ try to grab onto anything you can to pull yourself to safety.
  • Getting swept away while inside your vehicle can be extremely dangerous. If you are stuck inside your vehicle‚ roll down the windows and open the doors to allow water into your vehicle. Doing this will equal the pressure on both sides of the door‚ allowing you to escape your vehicle.

“Keep an eye out for weather warnings‚ radio announcements and news articles. Only trust warnings from verified sources and do not distribute warnings circulating on WhatsApp and other social media channels that cannot be verified. These warnings cause unnecessary panic and may cause further harm‚” said a statement issued by ER24 spokesman Werner Vermaak.

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