Floods often come unexpectedly and the consequences can be very serious. But those potentially affected can prepare – here are a few useful tips on prevention and what to do in an emergency.
Thunderstorms, thunderstorms, heavy rain – floods like the current one are always a danger in this country, both for the lives of people and their property. The floods often arrive differently than expected, the consequences can be dire and occupy those affected for years.
However, up to a certain point you can prepare for an emergency. The Federal Office for Civil Protection and Disaster Assistance offers useful and easily understandable tips that can be worked through point by point. Many of them sound logical – but you probably wouldn’t approach the matter as systematically yourself. Here is a shortened version.
The preparation – as well prepared as possible for the flood
First of all, it should be clarified how, for example, a flood or permanent heavy rain can affect. Is the respective residential complex at risk of flooding? In which scenario can the house or apartment flood?
Potentially affected people should think about whether, for example, family members in need of help have to be evacuated and where to – or pets. What to do if the phone and cellular network no longer work? It can be useful to discuss with the neighbors how to communicate in an emergency and who is given which task.
Whether a flood is imminent can be researched via the warning app Nina and at the flood control centers of the federal states. The web addresses are linked under this text.
If a flood is imminent, those affected should have sandbags or waterproof plywood sheets. Chemicals should be stored so that the tide cannot reach them. This also applies to computers or valuable items. There should also be a supply of food and drinking water in the house – just in case. A crank radio or a battery-operated radio can be useful in an emergency. Flashlights, a camping stove and a camping toilet are also important. In the event of an evacuation, those affected should prepare emergency baggage – and don’t forget important documents.
The flood is here – what needs to be done now
It is important here to act cautiously, to think of possible dangers, to bring children to safety and to seal off rooms that can fill up as much as possible. It is important not to put yourself in danger.
Basement rooms that can fill up should be cleared. But be careful: staying in the basement during a flood can be life-threatening. This also applies to electricity – if necessary, it’s better to turn everything off. There is a high risk of electric shock if water enters your home.
Cars should be moved out of the danger zone in good time. The same applies here: be careful in underground garages. They can fill up and become deadly traps. If you drive your car through flooded streets, you risk major damage to the vehicle. And finally: In disaster situations, those affected should absolutely follow the instructions of the emergency services.
The floods are receding – now it’s time to clean up and document
The extent of the destruction can often only be assessed gradually when the floods recede. The same applies here: Those who proceed carefully and systematically can limit the damage.
If it is necessary to pump water out of the house, timing is crucial. This should only be started when the groundwater has sunk sufficiently. Pumping too early risks damaging the house.
It is useful for the insurance company to take photos and precisely document the damage.
Once the water and mud are out of the house, the rooms should be dried as soon as possible. This is possible with special heating devices that can be rented. Drying quickly is important to prevent damage and mold.
To be on the safe side, however, the heating oil tanks, the electrical system and possibly the statics of the building should also be checked properly.
And finally: Food that was in the water or fruit and vegetables from flooded areas are no longer edible. The authorities must be informed about gardens that have been contaminated with pollutants. These are, for example, the District Office or the Office for Agriculture.